California Political Review wishes to offer a word about Robin Williams. Monday August 11 we learned the sad news of his death at age 63. Born in Chicago, his early years were spent in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan where his father was an executive with Ford Motor Company. California became his home for much of his life though, and he attended Redwood High School in Marin County, and Claremont College in southern California.
Williams went on to study acting at the Juilliard School in New York City and his acting and comedy genius was recognized there, including in an advanced program with famous actor John Houseman. Williams was often seen in the early stages of his career at comedy clubs in southern California and in San Francisco where he honed his skills, and got his first big break early in life being cast as the alien “Mork” in some episodes of the “Happy Days” television series which lead to his own successful comedy series in “Mork and Mindy”. His film achievements, indeed his many life achievements, are too much to detail here, and are well known, including his Oscar-winning performance in the movie “Good Will Hunting” with a young Matt Damon. He was generous in work with charities such as St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
Williams was a most interesting person. He seemed always coiled up and on edge, and it came through in his humor, yet he was capable of quiet and intense dramatic roles as well. A distant grandfather had been a Senator in Mississippi. He was an Episcopalian, which he described in his comedy act as “Catholic Lite – same rituals, half the guilt.” He entertained us in so many ways, made positive contributions to society, and will be missed.