– Anarchic extra-terrestrial –
After beginning his career as a stand-up comic, Williams rose to fame in the iconic US television sitcom “Mork & Mindy”, channelling his anarchic, high-energy style as an extra-terrestrial struggling to fit in on Earth.
He later reeled off a string of big-screen hits throughout the 1980s and 1990s in roles which often showcased his phenomenal fast-talking, improvisational skills.
Those abilities were showcased in 1987’s “Good Morning, Vietnam”, where his performance as motormouth military disc jockey Adrian Cronauer earned him the first of four career Oscar nominations.
But while that role could have been tailored for Williams’ comic skills, he also earned critical plaudits in weightier dramas.
He added more Oscar nominations for his performance as the inspirational English literature teacher John Keating in 1989’s “Dead Poets Society” and for playing a mentally ill homeless man mourning the loss of his wife in 1991’s “The Fisher King.”
He finally landed a coveted Oscar for 1997’s “Good Will Hunting,” which earned him a best supporting actor statuette, and helped launch the Hollywood careers of co-stars Matt Damon and Ben Affleck.
News of Williams’ death quickly supplanted the conflict Iraq as the top item on evening news bulletins as Americans reacted with shock.