Robin by Dave Itzkoff

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In fairness to Itzkoff, it’s this very will-o’-the-wisp quality that makes Williams a tricky man to pin down. “Robin” is as definitive an account as we’re ever likely to have of the man, but, like the shape-shifting genie he voiced in Disney’s “Aladdin,” Williams was not entirely of this earth, and a part of him will always elude capture.
-NY Times

Synopsis

From New York Times culture reporter Dave Itzkoff, the definitive biography of Robin Williams – a compelling portrait of one of America’s most beloved and misunderstood entertainers.

From his rapid-fire stand-up comedy riffs to his breakout role in Mork & Mindy and his Academy Award-winning performance in Good Will Hunting, Robin Williams was a singularly innovative and beloved entertainer. He often came across as a man possessed, holding forth on culture and politics while mixing in personal revelations – all with mercurial, tongue-twisting intensity as he inhabited and shed one character after another with lightning speed.

But as Dave Itzkoff shows in this revelatory biography, Williams’s comic brilliance masked a deep well of conflicting emotions and self-doubt, which he drew upon in his comedy and in celebrated films like Dead Poets Society; Good Morning, Vietnam; The Fisher King; Aladdin; and Mrs. Doubtfire, where he showcased his limitless gift for improvisation to bring to life a wide range of characters. And in Good Will Hunting he gave an intense and controlled performance that revealed the true range of his talent.

Itzkoff also shows how Williams struggled mightily with addiction and depression – topics he discussed openly while performing and during interviews – and with a debilitating condition at the end of his life that affected him in ways his fans never knew. Drawing on more than a hundred original interviews with family, friends, and colleagues, as well as extensive archival research, Robin is a fresh and original look at a man whose work touched so many lives.

 

About Dave Itzkoff

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Dave Itzkoff is an editor at Spin magazine. His writing has also appeared in The New York Times Sunday Styles section, Details, Playboy, and the New York Press. He lives in New York City. This is his first book.
 
Published May 15, 2018 by Henry Holt and Co.. 527 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Humor & Entertainment, Arts & Photography, Self Help, Literature & Fiction. Non-fiction
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Peak Rank on Jun 03 2018
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Reviewed by David Kamp on May 15 2018

In fairness to Itzkoff, it’s this very will-o’-the-wisp quality that makes Williams a tricky man to pin down. “Robin” is as definitive an account as we’re ever likely to have of the man, but, like the shape-shifting genie he voiced in Disney’s “Aladdin,” Williams was not entirely of this earth, and a part of him will always elude capture.

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