15 Trivia Tidbits About Robin Williams

They are more fun, and less hazardous, than a game of ‘Jumanji’
15 Trivia Tidbits About Robin Williams

Whether you grew up watching Genie from Aladdin or Mork from Ork or… whoever the dude from RV was, pretty much everybody on Earth adores Robin Williams. To celebrate the late great actor/comedian/body hair icon, we've assembled some curious factoids about the only guy lovable enough to get away with making Old Dogs… 

…and Good Friends With Superman, Too

Also while at Juilliard, Williams once roomed with another actor famous for playing an iconic superhero: Christopher Reeve. The two became lifelong friends. After Reeve was paralyzed in a horse-jumping accident, Williams showed up at his hospital room in medical scrubs, speaking in a Russian accent, telling Reeve that he was a proctologist there to perform an examination. Reeve laughed for the first time since the accident and later recounted, I knew then: If I could laugh, I could live.

The Studio Behind The Fisher King Was Worried That Williams Hair Would Alienate People

One of Williams best film performances was as Parry in The Fisher King. The film called for Parry to get totally naked in Central Park, and per director Terry Gilliam, the studio was concerned — not because of the frontal nudity, but because they were worried that Williams would lose fans because his nude body had so much hair on it.

He Shaved His Trademark Body Hair for One Hour Photo

Speaking of Williams wooly coat, in order to achieve the Haunted Eminem Ventriloquist Dummy look for his villainous turn in One Hour Photo, he had to shave all his body hair. As Williams told reporters at the time, Just to think of the depilatory alone. Three guys with Weed Whackers going, I've got to give up, Robin. I cant do your arms anymore!’”

He Fought With Disney Over ‘Aladdin’ Merch

Williams took the Genie role for Aladdin under the condition that his voice wouldn’t be used to sell anything. But as he later explained, it totally was: Not only did they use my voice, they took a character I did and overdubbed it to sell stuff. That was the one thing I said: ‘I don’t do that.’ That was the one thing where they crossed the line. Disney apologized (with the gift of an original Picasso), and Williams eventually returned to voice the Genie for the straight-to-video sequel Aladdin and the King of Thieves.

He Was on an Episode of ‘Whose Line Is It Anyway?’

Williams tuned up his improv skills with an appearance on Whose Line Is It Anyway? Not surprisingly, he was one of Colin Mochrie's favorite guests.

He Paid for a Private Plane to Meet a Dying Child Fan

In 2004, the Make-a-Wish Foundation arranged for a dying girl to meet her hero Robin Williams. When she became too sick to make the trip to California, Williams personally chartered a private plane to North Carolina to visit with his fan, where they spent an afternoon playing cards and watching football.

He Accidentally Broke Robert DeNiro’s Nose

For the acclaimed Penny Marshall drama Awakenings, during the filming of a scene in which Williams has to restrain DeNiro, whose character is having a seizure, Williams broke DeNiro's nose "by accident" — at which point, according to Williams, all of a sudden the crew were like, ‘I gotta go now.’

He Mooned the ‘Hook’ Cast

According to actor Thomas Tulak, who played one of the Lost Boys in Hook, at one point during filming, Williams jumped on the top of the pirate ship and mooned the entire cast and crew, and while Steven Spielberg was trying to gain control of the crowd… chaos ensued.

He Did an Impromptu Stand-Up Show for a Public Park

While shooting the famous park bench scene with Matt Damon in Good Will Hunting, naturally, a lot of passersby stopped and took notice — not because they recognized the guy from that one scene in Chasing Amy, but because of Williams, who, as Minnie Driver recalled, did this amazing impromptu stand-up routine for the randos in the park.

He Pretty Much Invented the Podcast

As we've mentioned before, Williams inadvertently invented the podcast, producing long-form audio interviews for the internet years before the term podcast had even been coined.

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