Robin Williams was born in Chicago in 1952. Now known for his prowess as a standup comedian, Williams began his life in entertainment at the prestigious Julliard School. One of only 20 people accepted by the school that year - one classmate included lifelong friend Christopher Reeve - he showed skills in drama that his teachers admired, as well as a penchant for comedy that those same people did not look upon as fondly. After finishing school, Williams would rise to fame playing the role of Mork on the hit television series Mork & Mindy. The show lasted from 1978 to 1982 and made Williams one of the hottest comedians in the business.
Although praised for his work in standup comedy concerts and television, many people first got to know Robin Williams on the big screen. Some of his early films such as Popeye (1980), The World According to Garp (1982) and Club Paradise (1986) failed to launch Williams to superstar status. But in 1987, that all turned around when he was asked to portray disc jockey Adrian Cronauer in Good Morning, Vietnam. Williams was nominated for an Academy Award for the role and has since become a highly sought-after actor. He has gone on to star in dozens of films and in 1997 won his first Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor in Good Will Hunting, 10 years after his first nomination.
In addition to his comedy, Robin Williams has always kept himself involved in many charitable organizations. For several years he, along with Whoopi Goldberg and Billy Crystal, has hosted Comic Relief, which helps to raise money for the homeless. Williams has also spent time entertaining U.S. troops overseas, including a 2007 trip to Iraq with Kid Rock and Lewis Black.
Williams is well known for his improvisations and imitations, both of which he has demonstrated in his stand-up, film, and television roles. After a hiatus of six years, Williams returned to stand-up comedy in late 2008 for his Weapons of Self Destruction tour.