When I was kid, I loved the Genie in "Aladdin." He made that movie fun, exciting and entertaining. I rewatched the movie again and again trying to get down all the different voices he did, the funny little moments.
It wasn't until a lot later when I found out that Robin Williams was the one who played the Genie's voice. At the time, I kind of knew who he was only from the movie "Hook" (another childhood favorite), but I already knew I thought a lot of him as an actor.
He soon was in "Mrs. Doubtfire", which I liked (he was great even in full costumes with different voices - one of the best voice actors ever), and later he was in "Jumanji" and "Jack".
But it wasn't until his run of "What Dreams May Come" and "Patch Adams" when I was old enough to appreciate Robin Williams' range, which began elevating him to one of the best actors of our time. I didn't care about the terrible reviews those movies received (Patch Adams may be his most misunderstood movie of his career). I saw how great he was and how much better he made those movies. Williams seemed to take on his roles the same way as some of his characters, with lightheartedness and laughter (but not irreverence as he was sometimes criticized for).
That was what I appreciated about his humor. It wasn't really distasteful. He wasn't the cleanest comedian by any means, but he always found ways to reach all audiences. He had the wit, the sensibility and the laugh-out-loud comedic touch that most actors should strive for.
At some point, though, Williams went through the documented personal issues, and he apparently dealt with that for quite some time. It'd be interesting to know if that affected his choice of movie and the roles he'd play. After a two-year hiatus, he put out very different performances than what we were used to seeing him in with the films "One Hour Photo" and "Death to Smoochy". Eventually, he got back to his comedic ways with "Night at the Museum", "RV" and one of my favorites of his, "License to Wed". But his personal struggles were dispersed throughout.
Williams was as flamboyant as they came. I usually put him and Jim Carrey at the top of the list; the two are in a completely higher stratosphere than all other comedic actors. Williams just had that charm to grab your attention, whether you were 5 years old or 50, but he also dished out those timely one-liners that just make people howl. And his delivery was unparalleled. He had so much joy, so much excitement that made him sometimes loud and almost obnoxious. But he demanded attention when he took center stage.
He is a one-of-a-kind, once-in-a-generation actor.
Williams will be missed.