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Robin Williams: Flubber

Renowned for his improvisational comedy style, as well as his dramatic acting skills, legendary actor, Robin Williams, starred in some of the most iconic roles of the past four decades. Following his death in 2014, the American entertainer, who was also a stand-up comic, left a lasting legacy for future generations in the shape of his timeless, classic films. 


Early years

Born in Chicago, Illinois, on 21st July 1951, Williams attended Deer Path Junior High School, where he took drama classes. His improvisational and observational comedy skills made him popular with classmates. He admitted to having been a shy child until he studied drama.

As one of only 20 students accepted into the Juilliard School freshman class in New York in 1973, he excelled academically, winning a full scholarship. One classmate was Superman star Christopher Reeve - the two remained friends until Reeve's death in 2004.


Television and early films

After going on the live circuit with his stand-up comedy act, Williams successfully won the role of alien Mork in the TV sitcom, Mork and Mindy, which ran from 1978 to 1982. This established him as a major star and he won his first leading film role in Popeye in 1980.

His box office hits in the 1980s included a dramatic role in the 1987 film, Good Morning Vietnam, in which he played a DJ on the Armed Forces Radio Service - Adrian Cronauer was sent to Saigon in 1965. Although the film had comic moments during Cronauer's improvised radio broadcasts, it also had its serious side too.

In 1989, he starred in Dead Poets Society as John Keating, the English tutor at the all-male Welton Academy. In 1959, Keating's unorthodox teaching methods encouraged students to make their lives "extraordinary" - a philosophy that's at odds with the beliefs of the strict, old-fashioned headmaster.


Comedy films

In the 1990s, Williams made some of his finest comedy films including Mrs Doubtfire in 1993 and the science fiction movie, Flubber, in 1997. The latter was a remake of the 1961 film, The Absent-Minded Professor. Williams starred as Professor Philip Brainard, who tries to develop a new energy source to save his cash-strapped college.

During his experiments, he makes a living green kind of "goo" that is difficult to control. As it builds up speed, it bounces all over the neighbourhood, wreaking havoc, until Brainard finally manages to capture it again. The professor doesn't know exactly what he's made, but his robot assistant, Weebo, analyses it as "flying rubber", so he names it Flubber.


He works to stabilise the Flubber's movement and manages to create Flubber-powered shoes for the local basketball team to increase their jumping abilities and general mobility. Meanwhile, Weebo the robot decides to have some fun, unleashing Flubber at the professor's home and creating mayhem as the flying rubber dances around the house.

After many twists and turns in the plot, including an attempt by an evil college sponsor to steal Flubber, it all turns out okay in the end - of course! Flubber overcomes the villains, Prof Brainard makes enough money through his invention to ensure the college's future and he even gets the girl - marrying his love interest, Sara.

Flubber was a big box office hit, raking in $178 million and more than paying back the $80 million it took to produce the film, with its multitude of special effects.


Later life

Williams enjoyed a long and distinguished TV and movie career, winning 16 awards over the years, including Best Actor Golden Globes for Mork and Mindy in 1978 and 1980 and more Golden Globes for Good Morning Vietnam and Mrs Doubtfire. In 2005, he received the Golden Globe Cecil B DeMille Award for his outstanding contribution to entertainment.

He launched Comic Relief USA with fellow actors Whoopi Goldberg and Billy Crystal in 1986 and to date, the annual benefit event has raised $80 million to help the homeless. Williams also gave benefit gigs in aid of military veterans, women's rights and literacy causes.

It was revealed Williams had Lewy Body Dementia in later life, causing symptoms similar to Alzheimer's disease. The star died on 11th August 2014, aged 63. In 2016, a tunnel near the Golden Gate Bridge was named Robin Williams Tunnel in his memory.

We don't have any flying rubber for sale - but if it's ever invented, you can bet we'll be the first to stock it! However, as a leading UK provider of high-quality rubber products and rubber safety matting, Coruba has a comprehensive range of products for various applications and sectors. For further information, please call 01702 560194.

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