On August 11, 2014, the world was shocked with the news of Robin Williams’ death. It’s hard to believe it’s been 7 years. He committed suicide in his house after his struggle with Lewy Body Dementia.
Williams was a comedian and actor who inspired many people and has been greatly missed ever since he passed. He is known for roles such as Mrs. Doubtfire, Dead Poet’s Society, Good Morning, Vietnam, Aladdin, Mork & Mindy and many many more.
The Academy Award winner has done it all from comedy to drama to theater to voice over work, so there are plenty of movies and TV shows he stared in that you probably have not seen. But there are some roles that fans might not even know he was in, let alone existed.
Here are, in no particular order, a look back at Robin Williams’ most underrated roles, as we approach seven years of him being gone.
Robots, the 2005 film, is an animated sci-fi adventure comedy film where a robot named Rodney Copperbottom who seeks out his idol at his company in Robot City, only to discover a plot by its new owner to cheat older robots into buying expensive upgrades. Williams voices Fender Pinwheeler, a troublemaking red blender-like robot who befriends Rodney and is constantly falling apart. Despite receiving a ton of money at the box office and great reviews by critics, Robots is one of Williams’ roles that many people tend to forget.
RV (also known as Runaway Vacation) is a 2006 film where Williams played Bob Munro, and his family rent an RV for a road trip for LA to the Colorado Rockies, where they face a bizarre community of campers. The movie also stars JoJo, Josh Hutcherson and Cheryl Hines. Although it is a family-friendly, funny movie, it did not receive good reviews from critics or fans. In fact, RV won a Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Excuse For Family Entertainment.
8 ‘World’s Greatest Dad’
When his son’s body is found in a humiliating accident, a lonely high school teacher inadvertently attracts an overwhelming amount of community and media attention after covering up the truth with a phony suicide note. In 2009, Williams stared in World’s Greatest Dad. Despite tanking in the box office, the movie received decent reviews by critics and as of June 2020, it has an 88 percent approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes. This was one role where he had to put aside his comedic chops and turn on his serious side.
7 ‘A Merry Friggin’ Christmas’
One of the films that was released post-humously, A Merry Friggin’ Christmas was released in November 2014. The plot of the film follows Boyd Mitchler (Joel McHale) as he must spend Christmas with his estranged family of misfits. Upon realizing that he left all of his son’s gifts at home, he hits the road with his dad (Williams) in an attempt to make the 8-hour round trip before sunrise. The film did not receive good reviews from either critics or fans, but if you are a fan of Williams it’s worth a watch.
6 ‘License To Wed’
Back in his comedic roots, License To Wed (2007) finds Williams playing a reverend who puts an engaged couple through a grueling marriage preparation course to see if they are meant to be married in his church. The film hit well in the box office, but critics thought it was not worth a walk down the aisle. The film also starred Mandy Moore and John Krasinski.
5 ‘Old Dogs’
Also in 2009, Robin Williams starred in Old Dogs with John Travolta, Seth Green and Kelly Preston. Taking on the dad role once again, Williams stars as Dan Rayburn, who is best friend with Charlie Reed. They co-own a successful sports marketing firm. Vicki (Preston), his ex-wife shows up seven years later and tells him he has twins. She is facing jail time and needs him to watch the kids while she is away. In the end, he he turns out he wants to be a good father and leaves an important work meeting to be with them. Despite Williams and Travolta making audiences laugh, the critics did not like it.
Maybe the least underrated on this whole list, Flubber is a 1997 sci-fi comedy film that follows Professor Philip Brainard (Robin Williams), who is experimenting with new kinds of energy, and he thinks this project will save struggling Medfield College, where his girlfriend, Sara (Marcia Gay Harden), is president. But when he discovers a lively, rubber-like substance dubbed “flubber,” he gets so excited, he absent-mindedly misses his own wedding. Sara dumps him, so he tries to use his discovery to win her back; unfortunately, the mischievous flubber seems to have a mind of its own. Fans loved it while critics did not.
3 ‘The Crazy Ones’
His last TV role before his death, The Crazy Ones is a 2013 series that aired for only one season. Williams starred as Simon Roberts, an executive at the Chicago advertising agency Lewis, Roberts, and Roberts, who worked with his tightly wound daughter and protégée, Sydney, played by Sarah Michelle Gellar. It received mixed reviews from critics. The premiere garnered 15.5 million viewers with the finale only reaching 5.2 million. He received a People’s Choice Nomination for his role.
2 ‘One Hour Photo’
A different role for Williams, One Hour Photo was a psychological thriller film released in 2002. He played Seymour “Sy” Parrish, a photo technician at a one-hour photo in bog-box store Save Mart. He’s a perfectionist and is generous to his regular customers. When he sees one family in particular grow through photos, when he has evidence that the husband is unfaithful, his mental state tips over the edge.
We can’t believe this is on the list either, but if you look at his filmography this might be lower on his list when there’s movies you associate Williams with. As of this year, the movie is officially on Netflix. Director Steven Spielberg, who usually strikes gold with his films, isn’t even a fan of the movie. Hook is a spin on Peter Pan, where he is grown-up and has a family of his own. When Hook kidnaps his children, he has to go back to Neverland to rescue them. The box office showed that fans loved it but critics, once again, did not.