Robin Williams as Sean Maguire in 'Good Will Hunting'.
The actor had a way of making a simple line come alive in a movie.
Robin Williams, the actor who could easily make everyone laugh with his quick wit and hilarious impressions, passed away on Monday in an apparent suicide. He was only 63 years old.
The Oscar, Emmy, Grammy, Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild award-winning film and TV star may have impressed us all with his dramatic turns in shows like Dead Poets Society, What Dreams May Come and even, Law & Order: SVU (where he played one of the most brilliant and scary “perps” the SVU team had ever come across), but to many fans, he was first and foremost a comedian.
From playing an alien trying to get used to living on Earth to a portraying radio DJ who entertained soldiers in Vietnam with his quirky, no holds-barred commentary to giving life to an animated genie in a bottle with his voice impressions, Robin Williams made us all laugh whether we wanted to or not.
Here are five catchphrases and lines made famous by Williams’ characters which, let’s be honest, we sometimes can’t help but say them too.
1. “Na-nu na-nu.” (Mork & Mindy, 1978-1982)
In the popular TV sitcom, Williams played Mork, an alien from the planet Ork, who was sent to Earth as an “observer”. “Na-nu na-nu” was basically an Orkan greeting, which also comes with a hand gesture and a handshake. Although the show did not survive past its fourth season, “Na-nu na-nu” is something most folks who grew up in the 1980s is familiar with.
2. “Goooooooooooood morning, Vietnam!” (Good Morning, Vietnam, 1987)
Loosely based on the real-life experiences of a US Armed Forces Radio Service DJ Adrian Cronauer, this was the movie which showed Hollywood producers that Williams was more than just a TV sitcom star. Williams was the perfect actor to play Cronauer, thanks to his ability to spew joke after joke without skipping a beat, and without making things sound too scripted. Williams won a Golden Globe and an American Comedy awards for best actor for his portrayal of Cronauer, and was nominated for an Oscar and a BAFTA, too.
3. “But only in their dreams can men be truly free. ‘Twas always thus, and always thus will be.” (Dead Poets Society, 1989)
Students back when this movie came out all longed for an English teacher that was just like Williams’ John Keating. Not only was he inspiring, his teaching method was unorthodox yet effective. The film and his character made audiences – especially impressionable young students – to look at poetry differently.
4. “It’s not your fault.” (Good Will Hunting, 1997)
This movie may be famous for launching the careers of its writers and actors Matt Damon and Ben Affleck, but it was Williams’ steady delivery of the simple line, “It’s not your fault”, that made it all the more memorable. Heck, the line even made Damon’s character cry!
5. “Prince Ali, fabulous he, Ali Ababwa.” (Aladdin, 1992)
Okay, so technically this isn’t a quote or a catchphrase, but the song did appear within the movie as part of a scene and it was sung by the Genie, which was voiced by Williams. This line in the song is one that many of us who grew up in the 1990s best remember; the adjectives keep changing throughout the song to “mighty”, “handsome” and “glamour” (sic).