By Courtney E. Smith
The final on-screen performance by Robin Williams lands in theaters this Friday (July 10). Williams stars in Boulevard, the story of a closeted, married man who is forced to confront who he really is after an encounter with a younger gay man.
When we think of Williams, we largely think of the late actor‘s stand-up routines and over-the-top comedic chops. He was a manic, quick and lively guy who endeared himself to kids as the Genie in Aladdin, won over alien and suspender enthusiasts as Mork, and dug into the hearts of pretty much everyone as Mrs. Doubtfire.
But Williams was a gifted dramatic actor as well, earning multiple Oscar, Golden Globe, Emmy and SAG awards and nominations, largely for his dramatic work. Boulevard, which also stars Bob Odenkirk and Kathy Baker, appears set to join that canon.
Below we look at some of Williams’ most nuanced and notable work as a dramatic actor.
1. One Hour Photo (2002)
Williams physically transforms himself, becoming almost unrecognizable, to play Sy the One-Hour Photo Guy, a man who stalks a family whose photos he has been developing for years. It’s not one of his award-nominated performances, but is one of the most striking of his career.
2. Dead Poet’s Society (1989)
His role as John Keating earned Williams his second Academy Award nomination (the first being for Good Morning, Vietnam) and made him “Oh Captain, my Captain” to a generation of lost boys. It is physically impossible to watch the scene where he’s fired and comes to the classroom to collect a few things—when the boys spontaneously pay tribute to the only teacher who meant anything to them—and not cry. This was the film that introduced Robin Williams: Dramatic Actor to the world.