Goodbye Mr. Williams, a genius gone too soon

“You’re only given one little spark of madness. You mustn’t lose it.” – Robin Williams.

Academy Award-winning actor and comedian Robin Williams was found dead in his California home on Monday. He was 63. A true comedic genius, Williams inspired a generation of comedians, including me. My earliest memory of Williams was when I was 7 years old watching “Mrs. Doubtfire.”

I followed Williams’ career and like many other comedians, refer to his work for inspiration. I’ll cherish his legendary acting and humble and whimsical personality. In celebration of his amazing career, here are some of the most unforgettable moments that will always remind us just how wonderful and talented he was.

1. Mrs. Doubtfire: The oversized glasses, the wig, and the drag — Williams will always be remembered as Mrs. Doubtfire in this groundbreaking comedy. I rank it among my top 5 favorite films of all time. Watch the transformation from man to nanny here:

2. The Birdcage: On-screen magic with Nathan Lane, this film paved the way with its off-the-cuff plot of a gay cabaret owner and his drag-queen partner who posed as a “straight” couple as a front for overbearing, right-wing parents. Williams directs Nathan Lane in this unforgettable dance scene:

3. Patch Adams: Williams had a serious side in his role playing Dr. Hunter “Patch” Adams where he admits himself into a mental institution using humor to help fellow patients get through turmoil. He later develops bonds with his patients in the hospital where he works. Watch this tear jerking scene:

4. Aladdin: Nothing beats listening to Williams sing “Friend Like Me” — I can still recite the words to this day. He had a talent for changing his voice like no other.

5. The Craig Ferguson “Late Late Show” Interview: Williams showcased his talent at accents in this interview, which was among the most outlandish and quick-witted he gave during his career.

6. Whose Line Is It Anyway?: Adorned with platinum blonde hair, Williams is no stranger to improv comedy where he killed the game “Scenes from a Hat.”

7. Weapons of Self Destruction: His HBO stand-up special was absolutely unforgettable. A personal favorite bit, where he discusses alcoholism warning signs.

Find Jenni Ruiza on Twitter @RuizaJenni