A sparkplug performer at the microphone and a chameleonic talent on screen, Robin Williams improvised his way into Hollywood fame. In this week’s issue, Entertainment Weekly looks back at the career highlights and personal lows of the Oscar-winning actor. Williams, who died in an apparent suicide on Monday at age 63, struggled for much of his life with both substance abuse and depression.
But on camera, things seemed to go much easier. We recount a remarkable career that kicked off with a scene-stealing appearance on the ABC sitcom Happy Days in 1978 as an alien named Mork. “This unknown actor walked on our soundstage,” Henry Winkler recalls, “and it became crystal clear that I would not be able to look at him during the entire rehearsal and shooting of the episode without bursting out laughing.” Within a few years, Williams would prove that he had the chops to be a dramatic actor as well—he went on to earn four Oscar nominations, winning one for Good Will Hunting in 1998.
EW’s tribute includes a guide of his 10 most memorable performances, including his breakout role in the 1982 John Irving adaptation The World According to Garp, which EW film critic Chris Nashawaty dubs the actor’s greatest: “It’s whimsical, weird, idiosyncratic, humane, charming, and sad.”
Also in this issue, our Fall Movie Preview offers a close look at 88 of the season’s biggest new releases. We check in with David Fincher as he puts the finishing touches on his eagerly awaited adaptation of Gillian Flynn’s best-seller Gone Girl. We visit the sets of films like the Robert Downey Jr. legal/domestic drama The Judge and the Martin Luther King Jr. biopic Selma. We get Christopher Nolan to share exclusive details about his sci-fi mind trip Interstellar starring Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, and Jessica Chastain. And we delve into Jennifer Lawrence’s grittier new appearance as rebel leader Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1. We even offer a ridiculously early Oscar scouting report on what movies are already generating awards buzz.
For more of EW’s tribute to Robin Williams, pick up a copy of this week’s Entertainment Weekly, on stands Friday.