Family Tree Tuesday – Robin Williams
Robin Williams is an American actor and comedian. He rose to fame in the late 1970s with his role as Mork, the alien in the TV series Mork & Mindy, and later stand-up comedy work. Williams has performed in many feature films since 1980. He won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his performance in the 1997 film Good Will Hunting. He has also won two Emmy Awards, four Golden Globes, two Screen Actors Guild Awards and five Grammy Awards. He is known for his improvisational skills and impersonations.
Garry Marshall, creator of the hit TV series Happy Days had cast Williams as the alien Mork on Happy Days. The appearance of Mork was so popular with viewers that it led to the spin-off hit TV sitcom Mork & Mindy, which ran from 1978-1982 and the show was written to accommodate Williams’ improvisations. Williams began to reach a wider audience with his stand-up comedy, including three HBO comedy specials, Off The Wall (1978), An Evening with Robin Williams (1982), and Robin Williams: Live at the Met (1986). Williams’ role as the Genie in the animated film Aladdin (1992) was instrumental in establishing the importance of star power in voice actor casting. He has used his voice talents in Fern Gully, A.I. Artificial Intelligence, Robots, Happy Feet, and acting in many other comedy and dramatic films.
Besides his acting roles and stand-up comedy, Williams is a fan of professional road cycling, he 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 owns over 50 bicycles. He is a supporter of eco-friendly vehicles and currently drives a Toyota Prius. Williams devotes much of his energy to charity work, including the Comic Relief fundraising efforts. He sang in French on the BBC-inspired music video of international celebrities doing a cover of the Rolling Stones’ “It’s Only Rock & Roll” for the charity Children’s Promise in December 1999.
Robin Williams was born in Chicago, Illinois on July 21, 1951 to former model from New Orleans, Louisiana Laura McLaurin and Robert Fitzgerald Williams, who was a senior executive at Ford Motor Company in charge of the Midwest region. Williams is of English, Welsh, Irish, and French ancestry. He has 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. William’s was one of only 20 students accepted into the freshman class at the Juilliard School in 1973, and one of only two students to be accepted by John Houseman into the Advanced Program at the school that year, the other being Christopher Reeve. Although Williams left Juilliard in 1976, he remained good friends for the rest of Reeve’s life.
Williams’ maternal great-great-grandfather was senator and Mississippi Governor Anselm J. McLaurin. He was born in Brandon, Mississippi in 1848. He became district attorney at the age of 21 and was described as “one of the foremost lawyers in the State.” In 1890, he participated in the convention for the writing of the Mississippi Constitution and was described as a free-coinage man. McLaurin served briefly in the U.S. Senate from 1894 to 1895 and became the first Governor of Mississippi to be elected under the Mississippi Constitution of 1890, serving from 1896 to 1900. He returned to the Senate in 1901 and re-elected in 1906.
Williams’ daughter is actress Zelda Rae Williams with his ex-wife Marsha Garces. Robin is such an avid enthusiast of games that Zelda was named after Princess Zelda of The Legend of Zelda series of video games. Her first big role was in the 2004 film House of D as the main character’s teenage love interest, Melissa Loggia. She was choosen as one of People Magazine’s 100 Most Beautiful People in 2007. Zelda is a dedicated video game player. On October 25, 2011, she was the special guest host at the London Zelda Symphony Concert at the Hammersmith Apollo, marking the 25th anniversary of Zelda Series. On November 17, 2011, subscribers to Nintendo emails received an email of her and her father playing the new game The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword for the Nintendo Wii.
Check out his family tree and see how you may be related!