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Summary

With his twinkling eyes, boundless energy and unrivalled natural wit, Robin Williams was the comedian who brought laughter to a generation. 

Through roles in cherished films such as Mrs. Doubtfire, Jumanji, Aladdin and Hook, he became the genial face of family comedy. His childlike enthusiasm was infectious, sweeping viewers away. Allied to his lightning-quick improvisation and ability to riff lewdly off any cue thrown at him, Robin was that rare thing - a true comic genius who appealed to adults and children equally. He could also play it straight, and empathetic depth came to him naturally. A poignant performance in Good Will Hunting won him an Academy Award whilst his masterfully chilling turn in psychological thriller Insomnia shocked audiences and hinted at a darker side. 

What truly caught the imagination, though, was his good-heartedness. Warmth radiated from him on-screen, but he was legendary for his off-screen acts of selfless generosity. Where most Hollywood A-listers demand outrageous pampering in their contract riders, he always insisted that the production company hire a full quota of homeless people to help make his movies. 

But behind the laughter lay a deeply troubled man, and tragedy would follow. At midday, on 11 August 2014, Robin Williams was pronounced dead at his California home. The verdict was suicide. He had battled depression and addiction for many years and was allegedly beset by financial difficulties. 

Emily Herbert's sensitive and thoughtful biography celebrates his genius and warmth but also attempts to understand what could have driven such a gentle and gifted man to so tragic an end. This is Robin Williams, the life, the laughter and the deep sorrow of the man who made the world smile.

©2018 Emily Herbert (P)2018 W. F. Howes Ltd

What listeners say about Robin Williams

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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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Disappointing

Factual inaccuracies, repetitive prose, and the narration was awful. Dull and most unlike the subject of the book itself.

5 people found this helpful

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optional apparently

was looking forward to this, but it was like listening to someone reading from newspaper clips about robin Williams, also there were some bigger than necessary pauses in the edit, disappointing

3 people found this helpful

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Disappointed

Overall I was disappointed with the book. I am a big fan of Robin Williams, but there is nothing new or interesting here that most 1-hour documentaries wouldn't cover. The constant quoting of critics is annoying and in my opinion unnecessary unless this was the goal of the book. Also, the naming of all characters in every film, as well as giving their real name, while also giving the plotline of the film, is again unnecessary and take too much time away from the main character in this book, namely "Robin Williams.'

For someone unfamiliar with his work and his life, maybe it gives some good details, but for any real fan, most things covered are well known already

2 people found this helpful

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Poor tribute

Really expected to have a chuckle whilst listening to this, whilst recognising the sad loss and backstory to a star that has been a household name growing up .... so disappointed, written in a monotone way that really doesn’t capture the true essence of the character.

2 people found this helpful

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only a middling book

As an audio book the narrator was not suited to read this book, also his attempt at portraying robins jokes at the end was monotone.

sadly this book was not wrote by robin so the author attempted to summarise Robin's life through his movies & acting. I guess if robin had of been interviewed for the book we might of gotten a more personal view of this comedy genius that he was.

quite depressing portrayal of robin when there was so much more to him on the inside.

1 person found this helpful

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A star,, A Legend and a Really nice Bloke

Follow this man through space and time and he will plant you into a world of humour, FUN and good times, his life is an inspiration to comedians and actors alike,
IT also stands as testament to all he has left us AND all that WE HAVE lost, I laughed till I cried and I cried till I laughed ,,,
A strange mix of emotion for a Man I followed in Movies and comedy as well as television programmes I found the story behind his life a lot darker than I had expected with heartache and passion in a mix that made me MORE aware of all that he is, NO IT did not allow me to understand this genius and the way he worked but I do have more knowledge about how HE HAPPENED,
IN my opinion we lost one of the BEST and the world is a sadder place because of this,,
I do and always will love EVERY moment of this mans back catalogue but I know that what he left ME is more that I deserve,,

Brilliant

1 person found this helpful

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Great listen

Robin Williams was a comic Genius he was also a incredible damaged man who suffered intensely
This book doesn’t hold back from the truth
It’s a well written look at the life and death of Robin
Heart breaking in places yet sensitive to a man who will always be greatly missed

1 person found this helpful

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Robin Williams genius

An insight into the turmoil of Williams career . The struggles the man had with fame drugs and alcohol great listen

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couldn't fault it one bit

love this book couldn't wait for the next chapter every time will definitely read this again

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very monotone reader

too many quotes followed by "robin Williams". the reader would put you to sleep too.

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  • anonymous
  • 09-11-18

Good... but too many quotes


I loved it, but had to ffwd past chapter 1. It was only quotes about how sad people were. The author's trend to quote continued, but not like in the beginning. After that, I couldn't stop listening. I learned a lot about my comic hero.

7 people found this helpful

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  • Justin Kenneth Frey
  • 20-10-20

Truth.

This is the simple truth about hurt and the grief that can debilitate a dear dear life. Here is a man that gave us and taught us 2 precious lessons: Laughter and the ability to see ppl deeper. Thank you, Robin. You truly never knew how much you where loved.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Ginger Leah Davis
  • 01-02-20

Saddest and funniest book ever. If that makes any sense.

Being a huge Robin Williams fan, this book breaks my heart. Robin was such an AWESOME GENIUS that truly lived a living hell. I’m a 4 time suicide attempt survivor. I finally found someone that understood and related. The demons of depression and not feeling good enough took his life way to soon. I have cried and laughed through this journey of listening to this book. It has changed my life. I just wish Robin would have known the lives it does change and the people that can relate to him. I feel the industry took advantage of his talents and ignored the signs. People we have to be more aware and alert to the illnesses of depression. It is real and haunting. I would rather be pissed off at someone for trying to help me and save my life than to ignore it because it’s ugly and end up killing myself. This is a must read for anyone that has ever had mental illness, addiction or any other life debilitating issues. He was a purely wonderful man. A LIVING GENIUS that brought so much to the world only to be ignored of his true demons. Big industry these people make you big, care enough to help them and keep them going. Robin deserved so much better. My Deepest Sympathy and Condolences to all his Family. They truly lost a Grand Wonderful Man that changed all our lives and touched them. May God be with you always, Ms. Ginger Leah Davis
Granby Missouri

2 people found this helpful

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  • NelsonTorres
  • 21-01-19

Great Book

This is perfect for any Robin Williams fans who always wanted to know more about him

2 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 23-01-20

Missing Robin Williams

Robin was truly gifted and missed. learned so much more about him in this book

1 person found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Susan Rola
  • 27-09-21

Uneven quality

It’s a shame the audio version’s director and the narrator couldn’t be bothered with getting the pronunciation correct on California place names. It’s Ma-RIN County and Mount Tamal- PI-as, for example. Other errors: the critic’s name was Roger E-bert, not Ebbert, and the renowned school is Juilliard, not THE Juilliard. There are other errors as well that reflect sloppy research. The book itself was fairly good but revealed nothing new. Still, Williams will always be fascinating, and I wanted to hear his story again.

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  • Paul S.
  • 19-01-21

author doesn't seem to have any personal knowledge

struggle to finish this book. Robin Williams has been one of my absolute favorites. But, the author takes you through each scene of each movie and it becomes pendantic.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 21-10-20

A great man

Magnificent Biography for man that change our world. I hope that you can enjoy it as well.

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  • WB
  • 01-06-20

Very disappointing.

The book felt like a compilation of quotes. I was so very disappointed with it.

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Richard R. Thomas
  • 06-01-20

No new insight

Felt gossipy and just a compilation of what others already wrote. Repetitive. Focuses on the sadness as if there were never any joy.