If you're anything like us, you spent Monday night watching your favorite Robin Williams movies, clips and specials, struggling to make sense of this loss and failing miserably at holding back tears.
Williams was a rarity: a bona fide stand-up comedian and a classically-trained actor. He made the transition to television and movies first as a comic, but then soared in dramatic roles. He gave us characters that helped define our childhoods and characters that helped us become grownups.
We asked our fellow HuffPosters to share their favorite Robin Williams memories and the outpouring was overwhelming. Take a look at some of their favorite moments below and please tell us what you'll treasure most about Robin Williams' legacy as a performer.
I associate Robin Williams with my parents -- my mother especially. You see my mom has one of those laughs. Not just any laugh -- THE laugh. The kind of laugh that makes everything 10 times funnier just by hearing its faint echo. To try to describe it would do it a disservice, but in the interest of science let's just say that it's somewhat reminiscent of the howl emitted by Wile E. Coyote while falling off a cliff. It's magical and being the catalyst for it is a big prize in my household.
Why am I going on about this laugh, you ask? I mainly have my mother to thank for my sense of humor, and a huge part of that was thanks to the hours spent together watching stand-up. Looking back on it, I get why my mom was so excited to share things like "The Carol Burnett Show," "I Love Lucy" and "Taxi" -- still scratching my head as to why I was allowed to watch Richard Pryor and Bill Maher at age 10 though. Before we all start judging, one of the best choices she ever made was letting me stay up late one night to watch a 1970s Robin Williams stand-up special with her. It's the one where he wears suspenders and solidified the manic stage persona that would be the basis for every Robin Williams impression from here to eternity. It was also the first time I can remember my mother laughing THE laugh for what seemed like hours. Seriously, she couldn't stop.
Ever since, we've seen every single one of his specials, including each Comedy Relief ever produced. Hearing the sad news of his death took me back to all those wonderful moments we've shared. As I get older I'm constantly reminded of how time stubbornly insists on going by. I used to take for granted that I'd be able to always sit down on the couch have a good laugh with my mom. Now, I think I'll remind myself to treasure those moments while I still can. Thanks for everything, Mr. Williams. You sure did know how to bring people together. -- Adriana Usero
"Mork & Mindy," 1978-1982
I hadn't thought about "Mork and Mindy" for a long time, but when I heard Robin Williams had died, it was the first thing I thought of. Mork blew my mind because he represented the outsider who could see the foolishness of much of the what passes as respectable society. He was wild and weird and funny -- kind of the patron saint of the dork. A subtle iconoclast, Mork asked the obvious questions of "why?" and "why not?" and at the end of the show he reflected on what he had learned in his conversations with the unseen Orson. These mystical conversation with someone in the stars reminded me of the thought and reflection that come with prayer. I'm praying a prayer of thanksgiving for Mork, and for Robin Williams today. -- Paul Rashenbush
My sister and I used to watch "Mork & Mindy" while standing on our heads like Mork would do and shouting "Nanu Nanu" and "Shazbot" between giggles. We were such fans we named our pet guinea pigs Mork and Mindy (and one of their babies Mirth). --Teri D'Angelo
"The World According To Garp", 1982
I always loved that book and the warmth Williams is able to portray so well with that teary smile -- it felt like the best articulation of all the experiences that had gone into making that character who he was by the end of the film. I still like the book more than the movie, but I thought Williams was a perfect Garp (not to mention John Lithgow as a former pro football player-turned-trans woman). -- Ricky Camilleri
"Moscow On The Hudson," 1984
So many to choose from ... but one of my all-time favorites is his performance in Paul Mazursky's "Moscow on the Hudson" as the sweet-natured Russian musician who defects at Bloomingdale's. Williams speaks Russian, plays saxophone, does a nude scene (with Maria Conchita Alonso), and manages to be both funny and touching. A lovely, outside-his-comfort-zone performance. --Roy Sekoff
"Dead Poets Society," 1989
“We don't read and write poetry because it's cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. Medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits, and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for … What will your verse be?”
When I watched this Robin Williams scene in ninth grade, I thought I want to be an English teacher; that will be my verse. And I later went on to do just that (my previous career). -- Jessica Prois
"The Fisher King," 1991
I think "The Fisher King" taught me more about love, regret and humanity than basically any other movie. Robin Williams put so much pain and grace into that performance, you could watch it a hundred times and still get something new out of it. -- Carol Hartsell
No Robin Williams movie scene makes me smile more than him flying through the air like he was swimming backstroke as Peter Pan. Whenever that movie is on TV, it's just impossible to change the channel. Bangarang! -- Michael Klopman
My earliest memory of Robin Williams is in "Hook," which remains one of my favorite movies to this day. This scene, where he "becomes" Peter Pan again is my favorite. He always seemed to have such a youthful, playful energy and seemed to be a kid at heart. -- Lisa Miller
From "Hook" to "Mrs. Doubtfire" to "Jumanji," Robin Williams made dads cool for every '90s kid. Williams' characters were heroic and effusive, saving the day in one cushy suburban environment after another. He brought warmth and adventure to fatherhood that I think sticks with many young adults today. Our dads are better for it, and so are we. -- Amanda Duberman
I remember the first movie I ever saw in a theater; it was "Aladdin" and I was 3 years old. My grandfather -- who passed away a year ago this summer -- took me. While I was too young to remember that day, I do remember having to get up and pee approximately every 20 minutes and upon returning home, my grandpa telling my mom, "I'm NEVER taking her to the movies again." Lucky for me, that wasn't the last time I went to a movie with my grandfather, though it was the first time I experienced the magic of comedy and cinema -- and Robin Williams was part of that. I'd like to imagine my grandpa and Robin sitting somewhere Up There, maybe smoking a cigar, and of course, laughing at it all. --Taylor Trudon
I loved Robin Williams as the funny and doting brother in "Toys." The fun-loving nature of his character Leslie Zevo reminds me a lot of the relationship I have with my older brother, Daryl. -- Dana Oliver
"Mrs. Doubtfire," 1993
Who can forget this classic scene from "Mrs. Doubtfire": When Robin Williams, who plays the newly divorced Daniel Hillard, gets an unexpected surprise visit from court liaison while role playing as, well, Mrs. Doubtfire? When his mask falls out the window and gets run over by a truck, Hillard has no other choice than to shove his face in a cake and claim he's wearing a moisturizing mask made of "egg whites, creme fraiche, powdered sugar, vanilla and a touch of alum." When the "concoction" leaks into Mrs. Sellner's tea, Hillard exclaims, "You've got your cream and sugar. It's a little cappu-tea-no." Childhood memory right there. Simply special. --Leigh Blickley
"Mrs. Doubtfire" is one of my favorite Robin Williams films -- his character was so heartwarming. -- Jacqueline Howard
My childhood love for Robin Williams spans from "Hook" to "Jumanji" to "What Dreams May Come," one of the first films about the death to deeply affect me. Yet when thinking of a favorite Williams moment, one that continued to make me laugh after the view count reached the double digits (and still does), was a scene from "Mrs. Doubtfire." When Williams' Daniel is caught off-guard by Mrs. Sellner's arrival, he has no way to disguise his face but to slam it in a frosted cake. Williams improvised the scene when his "nightly meringue mask" began melting from the heat of the set lights. I grew up remembering that sometimes you just have to run with what you've got, and when in doubt, always keep a cake on hand for emergencies. -- Erin Whitney
As a child of divorce who grew up in San Francisco in the '80s, watching this was a very-close-to-home reminder that all that matters is that our parents love us. And now that I have a child of my own, I know that love to be overwhelming, powerful ... everything. -- Farah Miller
"Nine Months," 1995
Submitted by Vicky Kuperman
"The Birdcage," 1996
His performances in "Mrs. Doubtfire" and "Aladdin" are part of the fabric of my adolescence, but the moment I really fell in love with Robin Williams was his dance-directing scene in "The Birdcage." He really spoke my language with: "Fosse, Fosse, Fosse ... Madonna, Madonna, Madonna ..." I think I still quote it at least once a month. There will never be anyone else quite like him. -- Curtis M. Wong
Simultaneously known for his manic energy and intense humanity, the spirit Robin Williams imbued in his performances was never more multi-layered than in Mike Nichols' wonderful 1996 comedy "The Birdcage." Williams plays a gay man who must, along with his partner (Nathan Lane), pose as a straight couple in order to woo his son's fiancee's politically-minded parents. The signature scene, of which there are many, comes while Williams directs a dancer employed at the drag club he owns. Invoking the showmanship of Bob Fosse, Martha Graham, Twyla Tharp, Michael Kidd and Madonna, Williams reminds us he's the ultimate showman in the span of just seconds, bravely eschewing any hesitations about playing gay in the sexually muddy '90s and proving there's rich benevolence to be had in even the zaniest of characters. -- Matthew Jacobs
I grew up watching Robin Williams, he seemed to be with me every step of the way -- from "Jumanji" to "Bicentennial Man," and, boy, did I love how he voiced genie in "Aladdin." The first time I experience his comedic genius, however, wasn't in his stellar performance as "Mrs. Doubtfire" but as the kind-hearted and fun boy with an aging disorder, Jack. I still remember owning the VHS and seeing him on the front with hands and legs spread out like a starfish. The entire movie is heart-warming and silly -- I was 6 when I first saw it and loved every minute of it. And let's not forget he was accompanied by another great in that movie, Bill Cosby. --Carolina Moreno
Caroline Tehrani loves this quote from the graduation scene in "Jack":
"I don't have very much time these days so I'll make it quick. Like my life. You know, as we come to the end of this phase of our life, we find ourselves trying to remember the good times and trying to forget the bad times, and we find ourselves thinking about the future. We start to worry , thinking, 'What am I gonna do? Where am I gonna be in ten years?' But I say to you, 'Hey, look at me!' Please, don't worry so much. Because in the end, none of us have very long on this Earth. Life is fleeting. And if you're ever distressed, cast your eyes to the summer sky when the stars are strung across the velvety night. And when a shooting star streaks through the blackness, turning night into day ... make a wish and think of me. Make your life spectacular. I know I did."
When he made science and playing with goo cool. -- Elena Kaufman
"Good Will Hunting," 1997
As perfectly funny as Robin Williams was, it was often his more serious roles that got me -- I think I watched "Dead Poets Society" and "Good Will Hunting" 100 times. I could recite passages from the latter, and the "It's not your fault" exchange brought me to tears when I first saw it. I distinctly remember, as a lonely college freshman, acting out that scene with my one good friend, our finger puppets over dramatizing Robin Williams and Matt Damon's Sean and Will, though with a much worse sense of timing. The serious scene became absurd when puppets came into the mix, and soon we were cracking up. I think Williams asked his audiences to trust him, to compassionately find humor in the darkest moments -- and I'll always remember him making me laugh indirectly, a much needed moment of lightness at a challenging time. -- Kate Abbey-Lambertz
"The Simpsons: Grift of the Magi," 1999
A non-traditional one from the "Simpsons" ... When an ozone hole was in Springfield the residents were advised to stay inside unless they wear sunscreen or are a class nine or have Robin Williams level of hair coverage. --Nick Wing
"Blame Canada," 2000
"Dead Poets Society," "The Fisher King," "Good Will Hunting"... they're all movies that were formative for me as a young person. Comic Relief was a must-watch annual event in my house and Williams' comedy specials were legendary. But right now, for some reason, the thing I can't get out of my mind is his performance of Trey Parker and Matt Stone's "Blame Canada" at the 72nd Academy Awards in March of 2000. There was so much controversy about the song's performance (since it -- gasp -- had the words "fart" and "fuck" in it) and so much build-up, that when Williams walked out on stage with black tape over his mouth, it was an event. There's a genuine glee in that performance that says everything to me about comedy and satire. It also bears even more significance now, since the song was sung in "South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut" by Mary Kay Bergman, the original voice of Liane Cartman, Sheila Broflovski, and Sharon Marsh among others. Bergman committed suicide in 1999 after battling mental illness for years. --Carol Hartsell
"Inside The Actor's Studio", 2001
This was one of the most memorable comedy bits I've ever seen. The dexterity and intelligence with which Williams could perform always blew me away -- after grabbing a scarf from a random lady in the crowd (this was at the beginning of his "Inside the Actor's Studio" episode), he performs multiple characters in a stream-of-consciousness display of skill that was equal parts ridiculous, silly, smart and biting (but obviously, rolling-on-the-floor funny): -- Ishita Singh
The "Inside The Actors Studio" improv skit with the scarf! -- Sujata Mitra
"Robin Williams: Live On Broadway," 2002
As a writer and a lover of literature, I will forever keep "Dead Poet's Society" at the top of my favorite movies list, and Robin Williams will forever be my captain. I also remember my first time seeing any of his stand-up work -- my father showed me his golf skit when I was a teenager. And needless to say, that joke has yet to get old in our household. -- Alena Hall
"World's Greatest Dad," 2009
While not his most well-known, I feel there are correlations on his more recent film, "World's Greatest Dad," in terms of suicide and depression. -- William Goodman
Reddit AMA, 2013
"My children give me a great sense of wonder. Just to see them develop into these extraordinary human beings. And a favorite book as a child? Growing up, it was 'The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe' -- 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.'"
-- Robin Williams, via Reddit, Submitted by Katie Nelson
Trick-Or-Treating At Robin's House
I grew up in San Francisco and -- like every other kid in town -- went trick-or-treating at Robin Williams' house in Sea Cliff every year. His family handed out toothbrushes, which we all got a big kick out of. The pride San Franciscans of all ages took in sharing their home with him is evidence of his universal magnetism -- the Bay Area just got a little less funny. --Lydia O'Connor
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