After appearing in the cast of the short-lived The Richard Pryor Show on NBC, actor and comedian Robin Williams was cast by Garry Marshall as the alien Mork in the hit TV series Happy Days. Mork's appearance was so popular with viewers that it led to a spin-off hit television sitcom, Mork and Mindy, which ran from 1978 to 1982. Mork was an extremely popular character, featured on posters, coloring books, lunchboxes, and other products.
Beginning the late 1970s and throughout the 1980s, comedian Robin Williams began to do stand-up comedy, including three HBO comedy specials, Off The Wall (1978), An Evening with Robin Williams (1982), and Robin Williams: Live at the Met (1986). Also in 1986, Williams reached an even wider audience and exhibited his style at the 58th Academy Awards show.
In 1987 Robin Williams stared in Good Morning, Vietnam; this performance got him nominated for an Academy Award.
Robin Williams has also starred in dramatic films, which earned him two subsequent Academy Award nominations: for his role in Dead Poets Society (1989), and for playing a troubled homeless man in The Fisher King (1991); that same year, he played an adult Peter Pan in the movie Hook. In 1990 he played in an acclaimed dramatic film named Awakenings.
His role as the Genie in the animated film Aladdin (1992) was very important in establishing the importance of star power in voice actor casting.
In 1993 he made an excellent double role as Daniel Hillard and Mrs. Doubtfire in the film Mrs. Doubtfire. The performance brought him a Golden Globe Award for Best Actor - Motion Picture Musical or Comedy an American Comedy Award for Funniest Actor in a Motion Picture (Leading Role), an MTV Movie Award for Best Comedic Performance and a nominalization at MTV Movie Award for Best Male Performance
In 1998, Robin Williams won an Oscar as Best Supporting Actor for his role as a psychologist in Good Will Hunting. Same year he stared in Patch Adams and the following year in Bicentennial Man but critics complained were excessively maudlin. But the same year, he played in the dramatic film What Dreams May Come that was very well received by critics.
Robin Williams appeared on an episode of the American version of Whose Line Is It Anyway? (Season 3, Episode 9: November 16, 2000). Robin Williams also used his voice talents in Fern Gully, as the holographic Dr. Know in the 2001 feature A.I. Artificial Intelligence. In the 2002 dramatic thriller Insomnia, Williams portrays a writer/killer on the run in rural Alaska. And also in 2002, he played in the psychological thriller One Hour Photo.
As a stand-up comedian, Robin Williams was really well-received by the public as is seen by the success of his one-man show (and subsequent DVD) Robin Williams: Live on Broadway (2002). He was voted 13th on Comedy Central's list "100 Greatest Stand-ups of All Time" in 2004.
He also did voice, in the 2005 animated feature Robots, the 2006 Academy Award winning Happy Feet, and an unaccredited vocal performance in 2006's Everyone's Hero. Furthermore, he was the voice of The Timekeeper, a former attraction at the Walt Disney World Resort about a time-traveling robot who encounters Jules Verne and brings him to the future.
Stand-up comedian and actor Robin Williams was portrayed by Chris Diamantopoulos in the made-for-TV biopic Behind the Camera: the Unauthorized Story of Mork and Mindy (2005), documenting the actor's arrival in Hollywood as a struggling comedian.
In 2006 Robin Williams starred in The Night Listener, Man of the Year and was the Surprise Guest at the 2006 Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards. He appeared on an episode of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition that aired on January 30, 2006.
Stand-up comedian Robin Williams is known for his improvisational skills and impersonations. According to the Aladdin DVD commentary, most of his dialogue as the Genie was improvised.
After a six-year break, in August 2008 Robin Williams announced a brand new 26-city tour titled "Weapons of Self Destruction". The tour started at the end of September 2009, finishing in New York on December 3, and was the subject of an HBO special on December 8, 2009.
On December 4, 2010, comedian Robin Williams appeared with Robert De Niro on SNL in the sketch What Up with That. He made his theater acting debut in Rajiv Joseph's Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo, which opened on Broadway at the Richard Rodgers Theatre on March 31, 2011.