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5 Facts You Didn't Know About Robin Williams

by Vanessa Ryan

We still can't believe it.

1. Robin Williams improvised most of Genie for "Aladdin."

According to producer and director John Musker, Robin Williams ended up improvising about 70 impression s to be used in the film as well. In a Reddit AMA, Williams explained:

Initially they came in and I was just doing the scripted lines and I asked 'Do you mind if I try something?' and then 18 hours of recording later, they had the genie. I just started playing, and they said "just go with it, go with it, go with it." So I improvised the character. I think that in the end, there were something like 40 different voices that I did for that role.



2. Robin Williams dressed in scrubs and surprised his friend Christopher Reeve in the hospital following his career-ending accident.

Reeve and Williams became good friends when they both attended The Juilliard School together. In his book, "Still Me," Reeve wrote about Williams visiting him in the hospital:

Then, at an especially bleak moment, the door flew open and in hurried a squat fellow with a blue scrub hat and a yellow surgical gown and glasses, speaking in a Russian accent. He announced that he was my proctologist, and that he had to examine me immediately...it was Robin Williams...for the first time since the accident, I laughed. My old friend had helped me know that somehow I was going to be okay.


Williams later surprised Sharon Osbourne in a similar way after she was diagnosed with cancer.

3. During the filming of "Schindler's List," Robin Williams called Steven Spielberg to tell him jokes and lift his spirits.

Spielberg called these "comic care packages over the telephone."

In his Reddit AMA, Williams explained:

I think I only called him once, maybe twice. I called him when I was representing People for the Valdheimers Association. A society devoted to helping raise money to help older Germans who had forgotten everything before 1945. I remember him laughing and going 'thank you.'

4. In high school, Robin Williams was voted by his classmates as the "Least Likely To Succeed."

Williams attended Redwood High School in California where, during his senior year, he was voted both "the funniest and least likely to succeed."

Later in life, Williams would win five Grammys, two Emmys and an Academy Award.

5. Robin Williams favorite childhood book was "The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe," which he'd read to his kids.

Here is Williams' description of reading his favorite book from childhood to his kids:

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.'

~BS and Vanessa