Saturday, August 30, 2014

Spandau Ballet, 2014-08-30 - Mail Online, 'To Cut A Long Story Short, we nearly lost our minds...'

'To Cut A Long Story Short, we nearly lost our minds...': After 20 years of fighting, why Spandau Ballet finally buried the hatchet

Spandau Ballet had it all – monster hits, screaming girls, ludicrous hair and kilts. Then they spent 20 years fighting over cash. It wasn’t until one of them nearly died, the Old Romantics tell Event, that they made peace

GOLD: Spandau Ballet in New York, 1981 (from left) Tony Hadley, Steve Norman, Martin Kemp, John Keeble and Gary Kemp
GOLD: Spandau Ballet in New York, 1981 (from left) Tony Hadley, Steve Norman, Martin Kemp, John Keeble and Gary Kemp
Five young men stand, holding up the New York traffic, their legs apart, their buccaneer boots purposefully poised, the world at their feet.

‘Soul Boys Of The Western World’, proclaims the film poster proudly.

Spandau Ballet – the band of New Romantic brothers that broke a million hearts, sold 25 million albums, topped the charts in 21 countries, had five million radio plays, were Bob Geldof’s ‘must get’ band at Live Aid, the designer pop group who disintegrated bitterly then reunited triumphantly – are back. And this time they’ve made a movie.

The bitter-sweet biopic tells the Spandau Ballet story from childhood poverty to chilled-out prosperity via a rancorous dispute and 20 years of hostilities – a rollercoaster ride of flamboyant success, conspicuous consumption, recrimination and reconciliation.

Spandau fans will swoon at the previously unseen material. Even non-Spandauphiles will find the classroom-to-courtoom drama gripping.

It comes to life in 1979 – the winter of discontent and discotheque – where you can all but smell the sweat and cigarette smoke in the clubs that Spandau and their Blitz Kids friends frequented.

At the movie’s emotional climax, many years later, you feel the tension between the estranged friends as they reconvene, a decade after their 1999 High Court royalty dispute.

Spandau’s singer Tony Hadley, drummer John Keeble and saxophonist/percussionist Steve Norman unsuccessfully sued guitarist and chief songwriter Gary Kemp. His brother Martin, the band’s bassist and one-time EastEnders actor, took no part in the proceedings.

Now, in 2014, with Spandau back in business, Culture Club returning to the recording studio and Duran Duran recording with Chic's Nile Rodgers, we could be witnessing the Eighties powder puff wars all over again
Now, in 2014, with Spandau back in business, Culture Club returning to the recording studio and Duran Duran recording with Chic's Nile Rodgers, we could be witnessing the Eighties powder puff wars all over again

Prior to the hearing, the three complainants had performed as a live group under the name ‘Hadley, Norman & Keeble’ until they were prevented from using an ‘ex-Spandau Ballet’ suffix by the Kemps, who felt it wasn’t in keeping with their legacy.

Such simmering anxieties were painful for the key players to relive as they viewed the finished film for the first time together earlier this year. Most affected was Martin Kemp, torn between family and band loyalties.

‘Watching the film was one of the most emotional experiences of my life,’ says Kemp, the band’s youngest member.

‘There was a part of me that was really disappointed with myself. Not understanding how much it was hurting the other guys. I was too wrapped up in what I was doing.’

‘Watching it together was difficult,’ says Gary. ‘There were parts where you wanted the chair to swallow you up.

'I was to blame for the band’s destruction at one point but was also at the forefront of trying to make it work again. But all of us progress hopefully.’

‘There are also loved ones in the film who are no longer with us; that was probably hardest,’ says Tony Hadley sadly.

The Kemps lost their parents within days of each other in 2009. It’s a film about friendship, its frailties and the power of redemptive love.

The soundtrack is sensational. Angular conga-driven white funk, all snaking synth lines, driving guitar and crisply metronomic drumming pulses through the story like a heartbeat.

Martin Kemp and Tony Hadley performing on HMS Belfast, 1980
Martin Kemp and Tony Hadley performing on HMS Belfast, 1980
Soul Boys documents a thrilling time in the history of youth culture.

The New Romantics are often lampooned – hairdos only came in extra-large, make-up was applied by spray-gun and trousers sometimes needed shoulder pads – but for a few years at the fag-end of the Seventies, they were the fabulous future.

Now, in 2014, with Spandau back in business, Culture Club returning to the recording studio and Duran Duran recording with Chic’s Nile Rodgers, we could be witnessing the Eighties powder puff wars all over again.

At the central London office in which he has chosen to meet on this August afternoon, Gary Kemp studies a photo of Mick Jagger taken in Hyde Park last year.

‘I was there,’ Kemp says, with reverence.

You imagine that as a minor member of the rock aristocracy himself, he must say this quite often.

Gary’s Bloomsbury residence is a mere Rolling Stone’s throw away.

Within its exquisitely decorated walls sits his prized Steinway grand piano, a collection of Victorian antiques, including pieces by EW Godwin, and an extensive range of bespoke Savile Row suits.

Three days previously, Martin Kemp is in his own Hertfordshire homestead admiring a picture of the Stones, this time a painting by guitarist Ronnie Wood.

‘Nice brushwork,’ decides Spandau Ballet’s bass player.

In a Fitzrovia pub, earlier that week, John Keeble and Steve Norman have the giggles.

‘You had your hair cut again?’ Norman smirks.

Keeble’s raised middle finger gives a straight answer. With his deadpan humour and graveside baritone, Keeble is the band’s mediator, diffuser of fisticuffs and safe pair of hands. It is interesting to learn that if he hadn’t become a rock star, he wanted to be England wicketkeeper.

These days, Norman, still fine-featured and fascinated by all around him, has the naive air of a medieval minstrel. It is easy to forget that, in his day, his cheeky grin could single-handedly ignite sexually charged hysteria.

The two are charming and slightly salty company.

‘Should I get out the Slammer?’ asks Keeble.

‘God no,’ winces Norman.

The Slammer is Spandau’s flight-case-housed tequila shot kit, which has tamed many a wild party animal. These days, although Spandau still enjoy a drink, as Keeble acknowledges, ‘we’re not all quite as thirsty as we were’, so the Slammer may remain sensibly shut.

During their ten years in the top flight of British pop, Spandau Ballet's music was often overshadowed by their image
During their ten years in the top flight of British pop, Spandau Ballet's music was often overshadowed by their image

‘Tequila is the one drink that doesn’t agree with me,’ says Hadley, calling from his Buckinghamshire base 48 hours later.

‘Jack Daniel’s was always dangerous too – when Jack came out there was normally a disaster lurking.’

With that, the big man they call The Velvet Foghorn is off: recounting his high jinks on Spandau’s notoriously eventful world jaunts.

‘On tour I was well behaved: I had to look after my voice and get enough sleep, but if we had a couple of days off I’d go mental.

‘I was very drunk in Rome and there was a car coming down a back street towards us – it was only going 15mph but I did a Starsky and Hutch roll over the bonnet. I was laughing so much until the guy got out of the car and pulled a gun on me.

'Luckily, we had the head of Italian anti-terrorism with us who pulled out his gun, and his badge.’

‘I was quite drunk at Bob Geldof’s wedding too. I fell onto a table of Bob’s aunties and uncles, who weren’t impressed. Think I got told off, probably by Simon Le Bon, doing his public schoolboy bit.’

Like The Beatles and the Stones, Blur and Oasis, Spandau’s rivalry with Duran Duran was fraught. Class, musical credentials, street cred and the cut of your sarong were all questioned in the heat of battle.

‘The fans hated each other,’ says Norman. ‘They’d tear lumps off each other. We don’t see that level of commitment any more thankfully.’

The bands are friends now, sometimes sharing a stage or covering each other’s material in concert, the coiffured conflicts all moisturiser under the bridge.

‘We still look cooler though,’ sniffs John Keeble.

During their ten years in the top flight of British pop, Spandau Ballet’s music was often overshadowed by their image.

Critics were less keen to discuss their songs than their linen jock straps, designer man-blouses and the long leather coat Tony Hadley wore at Live Aid.

‘What a bloody idiot,’ says Hadley. ‘Double-thickness leather because it had a contrasting leather on the inside. A silly garment for a boiling hot day.’

At Bob Geldof and Paula Yates' 1986 wedding with other stars from the time. Back row, from left: Johnnie Fingers, Garry Roberts, Tony Hadley, John Taylor, Simon le Bon, Martin Kemp, George Michael, Gary Kemp, Simon Crowe, Steve Norman, Aled Jones. Seated, from left, Midge Ure, John Keeble and David Bowie
At Bob Geldof and Paula Yates' 1986 wedding with other stars from the time. Back row, from left: Johnnie Fingers, Garry Roberts, Tony Hadley, John Taylor, Simon le Bon, Martin Kemp, George Michael, Gary Kemp, Simon Crowe, Steve Norman, Aled Jones. Seated, from left, Midge Ure, John Keeble and David Bowie
‘We totally believed in anything we wore,’ claims Martin, often credited with the band’s controversial ‘Grecian toga’ look.

Today, dressed down in a T-shirt and jeans, he adds: ‘It wasn’t just dressing up. Everything Spandau wore, no matter how ridiculous you think it looks now, at the time was taken seriously. I don’t regret one thing we wore. Not a single… kilt!’

Martin Kemp, who spent four years in EastEnders as the combustible sex symbol Steve Owen, is currently filming Age Of Kill, in which he plays an ex-SAS soldier blackmailed into killing six people in as many hours. Did he ever feel like doing something similar during his time with Spandau Ballet?

‘I’ve come pretty close,’ he chuckles. ‘But those boys are the closest thing I have to family.

‘They are my family. To spend time and share stories with those men is indescribable.

'In acting, you have very transient relationships; you meet people, they’re your best friends for a while then you move on. But with a band, they’re your real mates. We’ve known each other since we were kids.’

The seeds of Spandau Ballet were sown when Keeble joined schoolmates Norman and Gary Kemp then singer Hadley in early variations of the group. Plans began to crystallise when their friend Steve Dagger became manager.

The final addition was Kemp’s younger brother Martin, as bassist, though his main contribution was that he was very good-looking, an Islington Elvis.

‘Come off it,’ says the blue-eyed bass player, coyly. ‘I’ve never even thought about being “the handsome one”.’

It has been suggested that, after their trials and torments, only the death of a band member would split up Spandau Ballet, but a grim wake-up call came in 1995 when Martin Kemp was diagnosed with two brain tumours, ‘one in the middle of my brain, the size of a squashed grapefruit’.

‘Your outlook changes for a couple of years after something like that,’ says Martin.

‘It was a horrible moment of chaos for all of us. Like a car crash, it happened so fast and it was so frightening, it was almost too dark to understand. There’s still stuff up there in my brain that shouldn’t be there.’

Gary and Martin Kemp as Ronnie and Reggie Kray, with Billie Whitelaw as the twins' mum, Violet, in the 1990 film, The Krays
Gary and Martin Kemp as Ronnie and Reggie Kray, with Billie Whitelaw as the twins' mum, Violet, in the 1990 film, The Krays
Martin suffers from epilepsy and dyslexia as a result of the illness.

‘You can’t cut all the tumour out because it’s all connected,’ he says. ‘But if I worried all the time I wouldn’t get anything done, so you move on and try to forget about it. Take each week as it comes.’

Fate has played a significant hand in the band’s fortunes. True transformed them from table-cloth-toting cult artists to mainstream behemoths in a matter of months.

Recorded in Nassau, a golden moment captured for posterity in Soul Boys Of The Western World, the breathy love song was immediately hallmarked as a classic.

When Gary Kemp first played me the song on December 28, 1982, he was still tanned from the Bahamian sun.

Kemp was a cocksure motormouth even then, but was especially exuberant that day having just purchased his first property (a flat in north London for £58,000 ‘near to Sade’s place’) and invested in a thick Aran sweater that he was proudly sporting with jodhpurs and hiking boots.

He was carrying a cassette of a song which he revealed had been written about an unconsummated crush on Altered Images and Gregory’s Girl starlet Clare Grogan.

Later that evening, Kemp was taking the tape to Scotland in his latest attempt to woo his reluctant muse. Before he left, we listened to his new tune.

‘I was going for a blue-eyed Al Green feel,’ Kemp explained. The new formula was a winner.

‘And here we are today, five million airplays in America later,’ he says, flushing with pride.

‘Tony said he didn’t think it was a single but I always knew it was a strong song. But the day True went to Number 1, to be completely honest, I just thought, f***, now I’ve got to write another one that good! That was when the pressure started.’

But Kemp coped well and the hits kept coming: Gold, Only When You Leave, I’ll Fly For You, Highly Strung and the tremulous Through The Barricades in 1986.

However, the strain of sustaining success would ultimately see Spandau Ballet facing each other in the High Court, as friends squabbled expensively over who owned what.

‘And that was not the way we wanted the band to end,’ says Keeble. ‘Spending 23 days in a f****** court.’

‘I was pretty hacked off after the court case,’ says Hadley, who along with Keeble and Norman lost the case against Kemp and were left to pay costs of more than £1 million. (Norman received legal aid to fight his corner.)

‘I never want to go through that again, I’m getting that churning feeling in my stomach just thinking about it, and it’s a shame it ever got to that point.’

Martin Kemp spent four years in EastEnders as the combustible sex symbol Steve Owen (pictured with his nemesis Phil Mitchell, played by Steve McFadden)
Martin Kemp spent four years in EastEnders as the combustible sex symbol Steve Owen (pictured with his nemesis Phil Mitchell, played by Steve McFadden)
Did Gary Kemp ever feel guilty?

‘Guilty, no,’ he says briskly. ‘We’re all men and we all have to take responsibility for ourselves.

'I don’t feel I owe anyone anything and I never wanted the band to get back together purely for money. The reason we’re back together is we love playing music. It’s euphoric, the music is like sex.

'It’s a bit like making love to your ex-wife. Not that I want to! My wife will kill me!’

He split amicably with first wife, actress Sadie Frost, in 1995, having had a son, Finlay. He is now married to stylist Lauren Barber, 17 years his junior, with whom he has three boys, Rex, Kit and Milo. Between them, the band have a dozen children.

‘We’re not only good at making music,’ notes Keeble, drily.

Now, as the Spandau tribe prepare for the global opening of Soul Boys Of The Western World and their first live shows in four years, they return to the fray older and wiser… and greyer. Martin, in particular, has, as Norman puts it, ‘unleashed his silver fox’.

‘I’ve been wanting to do it for the last few years,’ laughs Martin, ‘but because I’ve been in front of a camera I haven’t been able to find that period to let the grey grow out.

'Then I was directing a film, on the other side of the camera, and I had that window of opportunity. I’ve been hitting the gym trying to get in shape for the Spandau tour, too. It’s got to be done, I’m 52!’

Hadley has pressing concerns about his own weight.

‘You see yourself on TV,’ he groans. ‘You’re sat on the sofa next to these super-skinny presenters and you just look so heavy. So it’s salads all the way until next year, try to shed a few pounds. I might have to cut down on the real ale, too… sad to say.’

‘Intra-band relations are pretty good at the moment,’ says Gary Kemp,  cautiously. ‘The last tour in 2009 was amazing, like going through therapy on stage.

'There’s more respect between us now. We don’t mention the bad times, the court case – that’s a kind of a no-go area – but there’s no animosity there.

'We’re united in our aim.’ Still a Band Of Brothers then? ‘A Band Of Cousins,’ he replies, ever the diplomat.

‘Soul Boys Of The Western World’ is in cinemas on September 30. A new album, ‘The Story – The Very Best Of Spandau Ballet’, is out on October 13, spandau

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Anthony Carbajal, 2014-08-21 -, ALS 'Ice Bucket Challenge' Haters -- You Might Want To Watch This

ALS 'Ice Bucket Challenge' Haters -- You Might Want To Watch This

Mandy Velez

Anthony Carbajal has ALS, and he wants you to know that the Ice Bucket Challenge is making a difference.

For most, the ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis) challenge may mean just a bucket of ice water or scrolling through the videos on Facebook, but for 26-year-old Anthony Carbajal, the challenge means so much more.

He posted a video of himself, above, hilariously clad in tight spanks as part of his very own ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. But the rest of the video, where he explains his story and addresses the "haters" of the challenge -- those that say the viral awareness campaign doesn't actually help -- sparked his call to arms to go viral.

"ALS is so, so f*cking scary," he says earnestly into the camera, eyes blood shot from taking a few moments to cry. "That's probably why nobody talks about it. No one wants to see a depressing person that's dying."

ALS runs in the wedding photographer's family -- his mother has the disease and his grandmother passed away from it. The disease, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, slowly breaks down the motor neurons that send signals to the spine and brain. When all the motor neurons are broken down, the ultimate result is death. On January 27, Anthony's nightmare became a reality: Doctors diagnosed him with ALS.

"Eventually I won't be able to walk, talk or breathe on my own" he says. But that's just one of the many hardships Anthony has had to face. The video shows him caring for his bed-ridden mother.

According to his YouCaring crowd-funding page, he also had to stop working and is already experiencing lack of muscle control. His message has spread, because so far, the page has raised over $100,000 -- a little over half of his goal.

And despite arguments against the challenge, he's grateful for the support.

"You have no idea how every single challenge lifts my fears, lifts every single ALS patients' fears" he says in the video. "You are making a difference."

For more information about ALS or to donate to the cause, please visit

If this story inspired you, please share with your friends.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

ALS Association, What is ALS?

What is ALS?

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), often referred to as "Lou Gehrig's Disease," is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. Motor neurons reach from the brain to the spinal cord and from the spinal cord to the muscles throughout the body. The progressive degeneration of the motor neurons in ALS eventually leads to their death. When the motor neurons die, the ability of the brain to initiate and control muscle movement is lost. With voluntary muscle action progressively affected, patients in the later stages of the disease may become totally paralyzed.

A-myo-trophic comes from the Greek language. "A" means no or negative. "Myo" refers to muscle, and "Trophic" means nourishment–"No muscle nourishment." When a muscle has no nourishment, it "atrophies" or wastes away. "Lateral" identifies the areas in a person's spinal cord where portions of the nerve cells that signal and control the muscles are located. As this area degenerates it leads to scarring or hardening ("sclerosis") in the region.

As motor neurons degenerate, they can no longer send impulses to the muscle fibers that normally result in muscle movement. Early symptoms of ALS often include increasing muscle weakness, especially involving the arms and legs, speech, swallowing or breathing. When muscles no longer receive the messages from the motor neurons that they require to function, the muscles begin to atrophy (become smaller). Limbs begin to look "thinner" as muscle tissue atrophies.

What Types of Nerves Make Your Body Work Properly?

(from Living with ALS, Manual 1: What's It All About?)

Nerves in ALSThe body has many kinds of nerves. There are those involved in the process of thinking, memory, and of detecting sensations (such as hot/cold, sharp/dull), and others for vision, hearing, and other bodily functions. The nerves that are affected when you have ALS are the motor neurons that provide voluntary movements and muscle power. Examples of voluntary movements are your making the effort to reach for the phone or step off a curb; these actions are controlled by the muscles in the arms and legs.

The heart and the digestive system are also made of muscle but a different kind, and their movements are not under voluntary control. When your heart beats or a meal is digested, it all happens automatically. Therefore, the heart and digestive system are not involved in ALS. Breathing also may seem to be involuntary. Remember, though, while you cannot stop your heart, you can hold your breath - so be aware that ALS may eventually have an impact on breathing.

Although the cause of ALS is not completely understood, the recent years have brought a wealth of new scientific understanding regarding the physiology of this disease.

While there is not a cure or treatment today that halts or reverses ALS, there is one FDA approved drug, riluzole, that modestly slows the progression of ALS as well as several other drugs in clinical trials that hold promise.

Importantly, there are significant devices and therapies that can manage the symptoms of ALS that help people maintain as much independence as possible and prolong survival. It is important to remember that ALS is a quite variable disease; no two people will have the same journey or experiences.  There are medically documented cases of people in whom ALS ‘burns out,’ stops progressing or progresses at a very slow rate. No matter what your individual course or situation may be, The ALS Association and your medical team are here to help.

To learn more about the personal stories of people who are living fully, click here. As one man put it, “I’ve made ALS part of my life, not my whole life.”

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Robin Williams, 2014-08-14 - CNN, Robin Williams was in early stages of Parkinson's disease, wife reveals

Robin Williams was in early stages of Parkinson's disease, wife reveals
By Alan Duke, CNN
August 14, 2014 -- Updated 2302 GMT (0702 HKT)

(CNN) -- Robin Williams was sober but was struggling with depression, anxiety and the early stages of Parkinson's disease when he died, his widow said Thursday.

The diagnosis of the progressive illness was "an additional fear and burden in his life," a person familiar with Williams' family told CNN on Thursday.

Williams was found dead in his Northern California home Monday from what investigators suspect was a suicide by hanging.

While fans and friends have looked for answers to why the 63-year-old comedy icon would take his own life, his wife, Susan Schneider, issued a written statement about Williams' health that he had kept a secret.

"Since his passing, all of us who loved Robin have found some solace in the tremendous outpouring of affection and admiration for him from the millions of people whose lives he touched," Schneider said. "His greatest legacy, besides his three children, is the joy and happiness he offered to others, particularly to those fighting personal battles.

"Robin's sobriety was intact and he was brave as he struggled with his own battles of depression, anxiety as well as early stages of Parkinson's disease, which he was not yet ready to share publicly.

"It is our hope in the wake of Robin's tragic passing, that others will find the strength to seek the care and support they need to treat whatever battles they are facing so they may feel less afraid."

Williams had been active as an actor in the last year of his life, performing in a CBS sitcom that was canceled this year and acting in four films that have yet to hit theaters.

It is not clear whether the early-stage Parkinson's disease affected his ability to work.

"Friends and family can usually detect changes in the Parkinson's patient including poor posture, loss of balance, and abnormal facial expressions," according to the National Parkinson Foundation. "During this initial phase of the disease, a patient usually experiences mild symptoms. These symptoms may inconvenience the day-to-day tasks the patient would otherwise complete with ease. Typically these symptoms will include the presence of tremors or experiencing shaking in one of the limbs."

Parkinson's disease "causes certain brain cells to die," according to the website of the National Institutes of Health. It is more likely to affect men than women and most often develops after age 50.

Williams used exercise and cycling to manage his stress and depression, and the prospect that the illness would prevent him from doing that was extremely upsetting, adding to the depression, the person familiar with his family said.

Fellow actor Michael J. Fox, who has Parkinson's and established the Michael J. Fox Foundation, said Thursday that he was unaware of his friend's condition.

"Stunned to learn Robin had PD. Pretty sure his support for our Fdn predated his diagnosis. A true friend; I wish him peace," Fox tweeted.

Investigators believe Williams used a belt to hang himself from a bedroom door sometime between late Sunday and when his personal assistant found him just before noon Monday, according to Marin County Assistant Deputy Chief Coroner Lt. Keith Boyd.

Boyd would not confirm or deny whether Williams left behind a letter, saying that investigators would discuss "the note or a note" later.

The coroner's investigation "revealed he had been seeking treatment for depression," Boyd said.

He spent time in a treatment facility in July, a time when his wife and representative have said he was battling depression.

Media reports at the time speculated that Williams had resumed drinking alcohol, but the statement from his wife appears to dispute those reports.

Williams entered rehab because of drug and alcohol addiction at least twice previously.

"Robin spent so much of his life helping others," his wife said. Whether he was entertaining millions on stage, film or television, our troops on the front lines, or comforting a sick child -- Robin wanted us to laugh and to feel less afraid."

Robin Williams, 2014-08-14 - CNN, Robin Williams: Full of talent, full of demons, full of heart

Robin Williams: Full of talent, full of demons, full of heart
By Greg Botelho, CNN
August 14, 2014 -- Updated 1633 GMT (0033 HKT)

(CNN) -- Of all the things to say about Robin Williams, the truest may be this: He made people smile.

They might be those who packed comedy cubs for his frenetic, improvisational, hilarious routines. Or those who fell in love with him as the lovable alien Mork and stayed in love through fun films such as "Aladdin" and serious ones such as "Good Will Hunting." Or those who had the pleasure of knowing him as a man -- a kind, decent, generous soul who made others' lives better.

Throughout his 63 years, Williams rarely failed to impress others with his charisma, his talent, his heart. All the while, he fought his personal demons -- including substance abuse that led to at least two rehab stints, the most recent coming last summer.

Ultimately, those struggles led to his end. According to police, Williams apparently hanged himself with a belt this week in a bedroom of his Marin County, California, home. Someone who'd given so much to so many over the years, in ways big and small, decided to take his own life after struggling with depression.

Officials: Williams apparently hanged himself

Still, while Williams never denied his struggles, he was never defined by them either. Just ask those who rubbed elbows with him, whether they were big-time comedians or fathers he could give joy to their ailing children.

Invariably, they had a story that involved him laughing, telling stories and making people feel good.

"His impact on the world was so positive," tweeted comedian and occasional co-star Ben Stiller. "He did so much good for people. He made and so many people laugh so hard for a very long time."

'A comedy force of nature'

The son of a model and an auto company executive, Robin Williams was born in Chicago on July 21, 1951, yet spent most of his childhood in and around Detroit.

Chubby and sometimes bullied, Williams laid low growing up -- the latter being expected in his family, Williams told People in a 2009 interview, even if it's opposite of the bigger-than-life persona he'd cultivate through his career.

"The ideal child was seen, not heard," he said then.

In an interview with the Detroit Free-Press, Williams characterized himself as "the opposite of a class clown" while at Detroit Country Day, a private boys school. He worked hard, played soccer and wrestled and "just went out of my way to fit in."

"I loved school, maybe too much really. I was summa cum laude in high school," he told the Free-Press. "I was driven that way."

As a teen, Williams moved to Northern California's Marin County -- attending high school and college there before enrolling at New York's prestigious Juilliard School for performing arts. He'd later return to the Bay Area, handing out Halloween candy and boosting local causes.

The once shy boy also found his place and his voice on stage at comedy clubs. Even after making a name for himself in Hollywood, he kept coming back to do stand-up at establishments such as Cobb's, Catch a Rising Star, the Improv and The Comedy Store because, as he told People: "It was my only release."

"To see Robin perform was an experience," fellow comedian Gilbert Gottfried recalled in a piece on "He was more than a comedian. He was a comedy force of nature."

Mork from Ork

The comedy clubs may have been where Robin Williams felt at home. But he made it into millions of Americans' homes in his role as Mork from Ork.

Just as there's never been anyone else like Williams, there's been no other character like Mork -- an alien who took an egg-shaped spaceship to Earth and, thanks to Williams, ended up stealing many Earthlings' hearts.

The character debuted on the sit-com "Happy Days," whose star Henry Winkler "realized I was in the presence of greatness" during Williams' first rehearsal. From the start, his delivery, myriad faces and improvisational talents made him hard to resist.

"I just realized my only job is to keep a straight face," said Winkler, who played "The Fonz." "And it was impossible. Because no matter what you said to him, no matter what line you gave to him, he took it in, processed it, and then it flew out of his mouth, never the same way twice. And it was incredibly funny every time."

The "Happy Days" appearance was such a hit that CBS created "Mork and Mindy," pairing him with his human roommate played by Pam Dawber and fellow alien (and real-life idol) Jonathan Winters.

The show's run ended four years later in 1982, during which time Williams also starred as the titular character in the movie, "Popeye."

Williams didn't rest on his laurels. In fact, the beloved comedian turned his career on its heels by turning to dramas, starting with "The World According to Garp."

Instead of tickling people's funny bones, he tugged at their heartstrings. And as he had done at comedy clubs, Williams excelled in roles in films such as "Good Morning, Vietnam" and "Dead Poets Society."

Seesawing between comedy and drama

Williams went back and forth over the decades to come, from family-friendly fare such as "Mrs. Doubtfire" and as the voice of the genie in "Aladdin" to more adult-themed movies such as "The Birdcage" and "The Fisher King."

What turned out to be biggest role yet was actually a small film led by two then unknown actors, Matt Damon and Ben Affleck, in "Good Will Hunting." Playing sage psychologist and community college Professor Sean Maguire, Williams won the Oscar -- after losing out three other times-- for supporting actor.

As he stepped on stage to accept the award, he said, "This might be the one time I'm speechless" -- before launching an emotional, humble, joke-laden speech thanking all those involved in the film and his life.

"And most of all, I want to thank my father, up there. the man who, when I said I wanted to be an actor, he said, 'Wonderful, just have a back-up profession like welding.' "

As the years rolled by, Williams didn't slow down.

He seesawed in his roles -- from dark pieces such as "One Hour Photo" and "Death to Smoochy," to the lighter likes of "Happy Feet" and the "Night at the Museum" movies. He even went back to TV on the short-lived CBS comedy, "The Crazy Ones."

The admitted workaholic at one point turned out eight movies over a two-year period. He told The Guardian in 2010 that he'd "take it slow ... and enjoy the ride" after his 2009 heart surgery, though that doesn't seem the case: Four more films -- "Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb," "Merry Friggin' Christmas," "Boulevard" and "Absolutely Anything" -- are expected to be released posthumously.

"You have this idea that you'd better keep working, otherwise people will forget," he said.

A funny man and humanitarian

Yet, as hard as he worked, Williams was never just about his work.

For all the admiration of his talents, other actors remembering Williams tended to talk first about his huge heart, as the type of person who made you feel special, made you feel loved and made you laugh.

And then there is his considerable charity work: Look to the Stars, a website that compiles the charitable work of celebrities, notes that Williams offered his time, money and celebrity to over 50 causes.

That humanitarian work ranges from hosting Comic Relief, biking in a fundraiser for good friend Lance Armstrong's cancer support charity Livestrong, to appearing pro bono in TV spots and then some for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. The United Service Organization, or USO, hailed Williams for his 12 years performing for nearly 90 military personnel in 13 countries.

He connected many more times one-on-one. That might mean boosting the confidence of an up-and-coming comedian, bringing the first smile to former Juillard roommate and close friend Christopher Reeve after he was paralyzed or reaching out personally to young people suffering from serious illnesses.

"I couldn't believe it," CNN iReporter Mark Cole said about Williams' chartering a plane, at his own expense, to visit and trade jokes with his ailing daughter in 2004. "I felt very privileged that he came to spend the day with her like that. It was the most moving thing I've ever seen in my life."

Survived by wife and three children

Yet as his death showed, Williams wasn't always upbeat.

He made no secret about his battles with substance abuse, even as he joked that "cocaine is God's way of telling you that you too much money." His fight didn't get easier as he got older; if anything, it got harder.

"When you relapse, you fall deeper," Williams told People in 2009. "I found myself drinking to blackouts. It's like your brain goes into witness protection."

Beyond that, his media representative Mara Buxbaum noted that Williams "has been battling severe depression of late."

His personal life wasn't always smooth either. He had a son, Zak, with his first wife, Valerie Velardi. Williams then spent 19 years with wife Marsha -- a union that led to two more children, Zelda and Cody, before ending in divorce in 2008.

In October 2011, he wed graphic designer Susan Schneider in Napa Valley, California.

On her Twitter feed, his daughter Zelda remembered her dad with a quote from Antoine De Saint-Exupery's "The Little Prince."

"In one of the stars I shall be living. In one of them I shall be laughing. And so it will be as if all the stars were laughing, when you look at the sky at night ... You -- only you -- will have stars that can laugh."

Zelda added, "I love you. I miss you. I'll try to keep looking up."

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Madonna, 2014-08-12 - Slate, All 16 of the Icons Name-Dropped in Madonna’s “Vogue” Are Now Gone

All 16 of the Icons Name-Dropped in Madonna’s “Vogue” Are Now Gone

Aug. 12 2014 10:30 PM

An odd bit of trivia about the passing of Lauren Bacall on Tuesday: As Marci Robin pointed out on Twitter, all 16 of the 20th-century stars immortalized in Madonna's “Vogue” are now dead. The famous black-and-white music video, directed by David Fincher, is an homage to the golden age of Hollywood.

The song came out in March of 1990; Greta Garbo died just a month later. (James Dean, Marilyn Monroe, and others had already gone, of course.) Bacall, 24 years on, was the final one.

Greta Garbo (April 15, 1990)
Marilyn Monroe (Aug. 5, 1962)
Marlene Dietrich (May 6, 1992)
Joe DiMaggio (March 8, 1999)
Marlon Brando (July 1, 2004)
James Dean (Sept. 30, 1955)
Grace Kelly (Sept. 14, 1982)
Jean Harlow (June 7, 1937)
Gene Kelly (Feb. 2, 1996)
Fred Astaire (June 2, 1987)
Ginger Rogers (April 25, 1995)
Rita Hayworth (May 14, 1987)
Lauren Bacall (Aug. 12, 2014)
Katharine Hepburn (June 29, 2003)
Lana Turner (June 29, 1995)
Bette Davis (Oct. 6, 1989)​

The song was a tribute, of course, to a certain kind of old-fashioned glamour. With Bacall gone, that flame has just about burned out.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Robin Williams, DEAD (1951-07-21, 2014-08-11)

Robin Williams dies with 63. Actor.
Love his kindness and his movies. He was always so funny and amazing in the movies and on TV.

Here it goes the story of Robin Williams from Wikipedia

Thanks to Robin Williams on Wikipedia

Robin McLaurin Williams (July 21, 1951 – August 11, 2014) was an American actor and comedian. Rising to fame with his role as the alien Mork in the TV series Mork & Mindy (1978–82), Williams went on to establish a successful career in both stand-up comedy and feature film acting. His film career included such acclaimed films as Popeye (1980), The World According to Garp (1982), Good Morning, Vietnam (1987), Dead Poets Society (1989), Awakenings (1990), The Fisher King (1991), and Good Will Hunting (1997), as well as financial successes such as Hook (1991), Aladdin (1992), Mrs. Doubtfire (1993), Jumanji (1995), The Birdcage (1996), Night at the Museum (2006), and Happy Feet (2006). He also appeared in the video "Don't Worry, Be Happy" by Bobby McFerrin.

Williams was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor three times, and won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his performance in Good Will Hunting. He also received two Emmy Awards, four Golden Globe Awards, two Screen Actors Guild Awards, and five Grammy Awards.

Williams suffered from depression throughout his life, and also struggled with drug and alcohol addiction. On August 11, 2014, he was found dead after committing suicide by hanging at his home in Paradise Cay, near Tiburon, California.

Early life and education

Robin McLaurin Williams was born in Chicago, Illinois, on July 21, 1951. His mother, Laurie McLaurin (c. 1923 – September 4, 2001), was a former model from Jackson, Mississippi, whose own great-grandfather was Mississippi senator and governor Anselm J. McLaurin. His father, Robert Fitzgerald Williams (September 10, 1906 – October 18, 1987), was a senior executive at Ford Motor Company in charge of the Midwest region. Williams had English, Welsh, Irish, Scottish, German, and French ancestry. He was raised in the Episcopal Church (while his mother practiced Christian Science), and later authored the comedic list, "Top Ten Reasons to be an Episcopalian."

Williams attended elementary school in Lake Forest, Illinois and began middle school there. His young friends recall him as being very funny. When Williams's father was transferred to Detroit, the family moved from the Chicago area to a 40-room farm house in suburban Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, where he was a student at the Detroit Country Day School. He excelled in school and became president of the class. He was on the school's soccer team and wrestling team. In middle school, Williams was bullied and would seek out new routes home to avoid his tormentors. He told jokes to his mother to make her laugh and pay attention to him. Williams spent much of his time alone in the family's large home, playing with his 2,000 toy soldiers. "My only companions, my only friends as a child were my imagination," he said.

Williams's father was away much of the time and, when he was home, Williams found him "frightening". His mother worked too, leaving Williams to be attended to by the maids they employed. Williams claimed his upbringing left him with an acute fear of abandonment and a condition he described as "Love Me Syndrome."

When Williams was 16, his father took early retirement and the family moved to Woodacre, California, where he attended the public Redwood High School in nearby Larkspur. When he graduated in 1969, the senior class voted him both "Most Likely Not to Succeed" and "Funniest."

Williams studied political science at Claremont McKenna College (then called Claremont Men's College) in Claremont, California. Williams left Claremont and attained a full scholarship to the esteemed Juilliard School in New York City. In between Claremont and Juilliard, he returned to Marin County and studied theatre for three years at a community college, the College of Marin, where according to drama professor James Dunn, Williams's talent first became evident when he was cast as Fagin in Oliver!. He had two brothers: Robert Todd Williams (June 14, 1938 – August 14, 2007) and McLaurin Smith.

Williams described himself as a quiet child whose first imitation was of his grandmother to his mother. He did not overcome his shyness until he became involved with his high school drama department. In 1973, Williams was one of only 20 students accepted into the freshman class at Juilliard and one of only two students to be accepted by John Houseman into the Advanced Program at the school that year; the other was Christopher Reeve. William Hurt was another classmate. Williams left Juilliard during his junior year in 1976 at the suggestion of Houseman, who told him, "There's just nothing more we can teach you. So you should go out and work."

Personal life

Marriages and children

On June 4, 1978, Robin Williams married his first wife, Valerie Velardi. They met in 1976 when he worked as a bartender at a tavern in San Francisco. Their son Zachary Pym "Zak" Williams was born on April 11, 1983. During Williams's first marriage, he was involved in an extramarital relationship with Michelle Tish Carter, a cocktail waitress whom he met in 1984. Williams and Velardi divorced in 1988.

On April 30, 1989, he married Marsha Garces, a Filipino American and Zachary's nanny, who was several months pregnant with his child. They had two children, Zelda Rae Williams (born July 31, 1989) and Cody Alan Williams (born November 25, 1991). In March 2008, Garces filed for divorce from Williams, citing irreconcilable differences. Williams married his third wife, graphic designer Susan Schneider, on October 23, 2011, in St. Helena, California. Their residence was Williams's house in Sea Cliff, a neighborhood in San Francisco, California.

Of what gives him a sense of wonder, Williams stated, "My children give me a great sense of wonder. Just to see them develop into these extraordinary human beings."

Family and friends

While studying at Juilliard, Williams befriended Christopher Reeve. They had several classes together in which they were the only students, and they remained good friends for the rest of Reeve's life. Williams visited Reeve after the horse-riding accident that rendered him a quadriplegic, and cheered him up by pretending to be an eccentric Russian doctor (similar to his role in Nine Months). Williams claimed that he was there to perform a colonoscopy. Reeve stated that he laughed for the first time since the accident and knew that life was going to be okay.

On August 14, 2007, Williams's elder brother, Robert Todd Williams, died of complications from heart surgery performed a month earlier.

Other interests

Williams was a passionate supporter of his hometown's professional sports teams, the San Francisco 49ers and the San Francisco Giants.

He was a member of the Episcopal Church. He described his denomination in a comedy routine as "Catholic Lite—same rituals, half the guilt."

Williams was an avid enthusiast of video games and named two of his children after game characters. He named his daughter after Princess Zelda from The Legend of Zelda action-adventure game series. They both have been featured in an ad for the Nintendo 3DS remake of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. His son may have been named after Cody from the beat 'em up game Final Fight. He also enjoyed pen-and-paper role-playing games and online video games, playing Warcraft III, Day of Defeat, Half-Life, and the first-person shooter Battlefield 2 which he played as a sniper. He was also previously a fan of the Wizardry series of role-playing video games. In the wake of his passing, a petition was started by several players of World of Warcraft and eventually signed by over 11,000 players, requesting him to be memorialized in the game in some way. The day after the petition was announced, Blizzard Entertainment responded that they will indeed memorialize Robin Williams in the game with an NPC (non-player character) at the Worlds End Tavern in the in-game city of Shattrath, in which he will tell jokes and entertain players in the game.

On January 6, 2006, Williams performed live at the Consumer Electronics Show during Google's keynote. In the 2006 E3, on the invitation of Will Wright, he demonstrated the creature editor of Spore while simultaneously commenting on the creature's look: "This will actually make a platypus look good." He also complimented the game's versatility, comparing it to Populous and Black & White. Later that year, he was one of several celebrities to participate in the Worldwide Dungeons & Dragons Game Day.

Williams's favorite book was the Foundation trilogy by Isaac Asimov, the actor expressed enthusiasm at the idea of playing the character Hari Seldon in an adaptation. His favorite book growing up as a child was The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, which he later shared with his children, "I would read the whole C.S. Lewis series out loud to my kids. I was once reading to Zelda, and she said 'Don't do any voices. Just read it as yourself.' So I did, I just read it straight, and she said 'That's better.'"

A fan of professional road cycling, Williams was a regular on the US Postal and Discovery Channel Pro Cycling team bus and hotels during the years Lance Armstrong dominated the Tour de France. He owned over 50 bicycles.

Williams enjoyed rugby union and was a fan of a former All Black, Jonah Lomu.

Williams enjoyed listening to jazz, "specifically Keith Jarrett piano solos". He also listened to Tom Waits, Radiohead, and Prince.

Williams was a supporter of eco-friendly vehicles. He drove a Toyota Prius and was on the waiting list for an Aptera 2 Series electric vehicle before the company folded in December 2011.

In 2010, Williams announced that he would love to play the Riddler in the next installment to the Batman films by director Christopher Nolan, though Nolan has stated that the Riddler would not be featured in the film.

On Israel's 60th Independence Day in 2008, Williams appeared in Times Square along with a number of other celebrities to wish Israel a "happy birthday". He had described himself as an "honorary Jew".

Charity work

Williams and his second wife, Marsha, founded the Windfall Foundation, a philanthropic organization to raise money for many charities. Williams devoted much of his energy to charity work, including the Comic Relief fundraising efforts (the program was hosted by himself, Billy Crystal, and Whoopi Goldberg). In December 1999, he sang in French on the BBC-inspired music video of international celebrities doing a cover of The Rolling Stones' "It's Only Rock 'n Roll (But I Like It)" for the charity Children's Promise.

In response to the 2010 Canterbury earthquake, Williams donated all proceeds of his "Weapons of Self Destruction" Christchurch performance to helping rebuild the New Zealand city. Half the proceeds were donated to the Red Cross and half to the mayoral building fund. Williams performed with the USO for U.S. troops stationed in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Williams also supported St. Jude Children's Research Hospital for several years.

Addiction and health problems

During the late 1970s and early 1980s, Williams had an addiction to cocaine. Williams was a close friend of and frequent partier alongside John Belushi. He said the death of his friend and the birth of his son Zak prompted him to quit drugs and alcohol: "Was it a wake-up call? Oh yeah, on a huge level. The grand jury helped too."

Williams started drinking alcohol again in 2003, while working in a small town in Alaska. On August 9, 2006, he checked himself in to a substance-abuse rehabilitation center in Newberg, Oregon. He later said that he was an alcoholic. His publicist delivered the announcement:

After 20 years of sobriety, Robin Williams found himself drinking again and has decided to take proactive measures to deal with this for his own well-being and the well-being of his family.

While acknowledging his failure to maintain sobriety, Williams would never return to use of cocaine, declaring in a 2010 interview:

"No. Cocaine – paranoid and impotent, what fun. There was no bit of me thinking, ooh, let's go back to that. Useless conversations until midnight, waking up at dawn feeling like a vampire on a day pass. No."

Williams was hospitalized in March 2009 due to heart problems. He postponed his one-man tour in order to undergo surgery to replace his aortic valve. The surgery was successfully completed on March 13, 2009, at the Cleveland Clinic.

Illness and death

In mid-2014, Williams had admitted himself into the Hazelden Foundation Addiction Treatment Center in Lindstrom, Minnesota, for continued sobriety treatment related to his alcoholism. According to his publicist, Williams suffered from depression.

At around 11:45 a.m. (PDT) on August 11, 2014, Williams was discovered by his personal assistant at his home in Paradise Cay, an unincorporated enclave of the town of Tiburon, California. About ten minutes later, county emergency 911 dispatchers received a telephone call reporting Williams was unresponsive and not breathing. The Marin County Sheriff's Office and firefighters from two local fire protection districts immediately responded to the scene, and Williams was pronounced dead shortly after they arrived, at 12:02 p.m. (PDT). To prevent unauthorized photos from being taken or disclosed (since Marin County has no county morgue), Williams's body was brought to the Napa County morgue for autopsy by Marin County's chief forensic pathologist, Dr. Joseph Cohen.

At a press conference on August 12, 2014, the Coroner Division of the Marin County Sheriff's Office disclosed that Williams had apparently hanged himself with a belt, and that the cause of death based on preliminary autopsy results was "asphyxia due to hanging." Results from toxicology tests are expected in two to six weeks.


Year Title Role Notes
1977 Can I Do It Til I Need Glasses? Lawyer / Man with Tooth Ache
1980 Popeye Popeye[1]
1982 The World According to Garp T.S. Garp
1983 The Survivors Donald Quinelle
1984 Moscow on the Hudson Vladimir Ivanov Nominated – Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
1986 Seize the Day Tommy Wilhelm
1986 Club Paradise Jack Moniker
1986 The Best of Times Jack Dundee
1987 Good Morning, Vietnam Adrian Cronauer
1988 The Adventures of Baron Munchausen King of the Moon
1988 Portrait of a White Marriage Air Conditioning Salesman Uncredited
1988 Rabbit Ears: Pecos Bill Narrator Voice
1989 Back to Neverland Himself Part of The Magic of Disney Animation attraction at Walt Disney World Resort
1989 Dead Poets Society John Keating Nominated – Academy Award for Best Actor
Nominated – BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role
Nominated – David di Donatello Award for Best Foreign Actor
Nominated – Golden Globe Award for Best Actor– Motion Picture Drama
1989 I'm from Hollywood Himself
1990 Cadillac Man Joey O'Brien
1990 Awakenings Dr. Malcolm Sayer National Board of Review Award for Best Actor (tied with Robert De Niro)
Nominated – Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Best Actor
Nominated – Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Drama
1991 Dead Again Doctor Cozy Carlisle
1991 The Fisher King Henry "Parry" Sagan Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
Nominated – Academy Award for Best Actor
Nominated – American Comedy Award for Funniest Actor in a Motion Picture (Leading Role)
Nominated – Saturn Award for Best Actor
1991 Hook Peter Banning / Peter Pan
1991 Rabbit Ears: The Fool and the Flying Ship Narrator Voice
1992 Toys Leslie Zevo Nominated – Saturn Award for Best Actor
1992 Aladdin Genie / Merchant Voice
Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actor
Special Golden Globe Award
MTV Movie Award for Best Comedic Performance
1992 The Timekeeper The Timekeeper Voice
Circle-Vision 360° film
1992 FernGully: The Last Rainforest Batty Koda Voice
1992 Shakes the Clown Mime Class Instructor
1993 Mrs. Doubtfire Daniel Hillard / Mrs. Euphegenia Doubtfire American Comedy Award for Funniest Actor in a Motion Picture (Leading Role)
Blimp Award for Favorite Movie Actor
Golden Globe Award for Best Actor - Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
MTV Movie Award for Best Comedic Performance
Nominated – MTV Movie Award for Best Male Performance
1994 Being Human Hector
1994 In Search of Dr. Seuss Father
1995 Jumanji Alan Parrish Nominated – Blimp Award for Favorite Movie Actor
Nominated – Saturn Award for Best Actor
1995 To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt Uncredited
1995 Nine Months Dr. Kosevich Nominated – American Comedy Award for Funniest Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture
1996 Aladdin and the King of Thieves Genie Voice
1996 Hamlet Osric
1996 The Secret Agent The Professor
1996 Jack Jack Powell Nominated – Blimp Award for Favorite Movie Actor
1996 The Birdcage Armand Goldman Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
Nominated – MTV Movie Award for Best Comedic Performance
Nominated – MTV Movie Award for Best On-Screen Duo (shared with Nathan Lane)
1997 Good Will Hunting Sean Maguire Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor
Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role
Nominated – Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor – Motion Picture
Nominated – Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
Nominated – Satellite Award for Best Supporting Actor – Motion Picture
1997 Flubber Professor Philip Brainard Blockbuster Entertainment Award for Favorite Actor/Actress – Family
Nominated – Blimp Award for Favorite Movie Actor
1997 Deconstructing Harry Mel
1997 Fathers' Day Dale Putley
1998 Patch Adams Hunter "Patch" Adams Nominated – American Comedy Award for Funniest Actor in a Motion Picture (Leading Role)
Nominated – Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
Nominated – Satellite Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
1998 Junket Whore Himself
1998 What Dreams May Come Chris Nielsen
1999 Bicentennial Man Andrew Martin Nominated – Blimp Award for Favorite Movie Actor
Nominated – Blockbuster Entertainment Award for Favorite Actor – Comedy
Nominated – Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Actor
1999 Jakob the Liar Jakob Heym / Narrator Nominated – Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Actor
1999 Get Bruce Himself
2001 A.I. Artificial Intelligence Dr. Know Voice
2002 The Rutles 2: Can't Buy Me Lunch Hans Hänkie
2002 Insomnia Walter Finch Nominated – Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actor
2002 Death to Smoochy "Rainbow" Randolph Smiley Nominated – Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Supporting Actor
2002 One Hour Photo Seymour "Sy" Parrish Fangoria Chainsaw Award for Best Leading Actor
Saturn Award for Best Actor
Nominated – Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Actor
Nominated – Dallas-Fort Worth Film Critics Association Award for Best Actor
Nominated – Online Film Critics Society Award for Best Actor
Nominated – Satellite Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Drama
2004 Noel Charlie Boyd Uncredited
2004 House of D Pappass
2004 The Final Cut Alan W. Hakman
2005 The Big White Paul Barnell
2005 Robots Fender Voice
Nominated – Blimp Award for Favorite Voice from an Animated Feature
Nominated – Visual Effects Society Award for Outstanding Performance by an Animated Character in an Animated Motion Picture
2005 The Aristocrats Himself
2006 Man of the Year Tom Dobbs
2006 Night at the Museum Theodore Roosevelt
2006 Happy Feet Ramon / Lovelace Voice
2006 Everyone's Hero Napoleon Cross Voice
2006 RV Bob Munro
2006 The Night Listener Gabriel Noone
2007 License to Wed Reverend Frank
2007 August Rush Maxwell "Wizard" Wallace
2009 Shrink Jack Holden
2009 World's Greatest Dad Lance Clayton
2009 Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian Theodore Roosevelt
2009 Old Dogs Dan Rayburn
2011 Happy Feet Two Ramon / Lovelace Voice
2011 Stage Left: A Story of Theater in the Bay Area Himself Documentary
2013 The Big Wedding Father Monighan
2013 The Butler Dwight D. Eisenhower Nominated – Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
2013 The Face of Love Roger
2014 Boulevard[2] Nolan Mack
2014 The Angriest Man in Brooklyn[3] Henry Altmann
2014 Merry Friggin' Christmas Mitch Posthumous
2014 Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb Theodore Roosevelt Posthumous
2015 Absolutely Anything Dennis the Dog Voice


Year Title Role Notes
1977 The Richard Pryor Show Various roles Writer
2 episodes
1977 Laugh-In

1977 Eight is Enough
Episode: "The Return of Auntie V"
1978 Happy Days Mork Episode: "My Favorite Orkan"
1978 America 2-Night Jason Shine Episodes: "Jason Shine" and "Olfactory Distosis Telethon"
1978–1982 Mork & Mindy Mork 92 episodes
Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Television Series Musical or Comedy (won in 1979 and nominated in 1980)
Nominated – Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor – Comedy Series
1979 Happy Days Mork Episode: "Mork Returns"
1979 Out of the Blue Mork Episode: "Random's Arrival"
1982 Faerie Tale Theatre Frog/Prince Robin Episode: "Tale of the Frog Prince"
1982 SCTV Network Various Episode: "Jane Eyrehead"
1984 Pryor's Place Gaby Episode: "Sax Education"
1987 Dear America: Letters Home from Vietnam Baby-san Voice
1990 Sesame Street Himself Episode 2749[1]
1991 Big Bird's Birthday or Let Me Eat Cake Himself This is a Sesame Street special that aired during the show's usual time slot on March 15, 1991.[2]
1991 Sesame Street Himself Episode 2795[3]
1991 A Wish For Wings That Work The Kiwi Voice
Credited as Sudy Nim
1993 Sesame Street Himself Episode 3077[4]
1994 Homicide: Life on the Streets Robert Ellison Episode: "Bop Gun"
Nominated – Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actor – Drama Series
1992–1994 The Larry Sanders Show Himself 2 episodes
1994 In Search of Dr. Seuss The Father Movie
1997 Friends Tomas Uncredited
Episode: "The One with the Ultimate Fighting Champion"
1998 Sesame Street Himself Episode 3709[5]
1998 One Saturday Morning Genie 2 episodes
1999 L.A. Doctors Hugo Kinsley Episode: "Just Duet"
2001 Sesame Street Himself Episode 3923[6]
2003 Freedom: A History of Us Josiah Quincy
Ulysses S. Grant
Missouri farmer
Wilbur Wright
Orville Wright
4 episodes
2003 Life With Bonnie Kevin Powalski Episode: "Psychic"
2008 Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Merritt Rook Episode: "Authority"
Nominated – Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actor – Drama Series
2009 SpongeBob SquarePants Himself Episode "Truth or Square"
2012 Wilfred Dr Eddy / Himself Episode: "Progress"
2012 Louie Robin Episode: "Barney/Never"
2012 Sesame Street Himself Episode 4280[7]
2013–2014 The Crazy Ones Simon Roberts 22 episodes
Nominated - Critics' Choice Television Award for Best Actor in a Comedy Series

Robin Williams
Robin Williams 2011a (2).jpg
Williams at the Happy Feet Two premiere, 2011
Born Robin McLaurin Williams
July 21, 1951
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
Died August 11, 2014 (aged 63)
Paradise Cay, California, U.S.
Cause of death
Asphyxia due to hanging
(preliminary autopsy results)
Alma mater Juilliard School
Occupation Actor, stand-up comedian, film producer, screenwriter
Years active 1972–2014
Spouse(s) Valerie Velardi (m. 1978–88)
Marsha Garces (m. 19892008)
Susan Schneider (m. 2011; until his death in 2014)
Children 3 (including Zelda Williams)
Comedy career
Medium Stage, film, television
Genres Character comedy, improvisational comedy
Influences Jonathan Winters,[1][2] Warner Bros. Cartoons,[3] Dudley Moore,[4] Peter Sellers,[4] Peter Cook,[4] Jerry Lewis[5]