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Robin Williams Helps A Friend

Robin Williams at CelebrityValues.comLike other celebrities, actor and comedian Robin Williams has a long history of involvement with several humanitarian organizations. Two with which he has been most notably affiliated include Comic Relief and the Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation.

Williams and Christopher Reeve were roommates at Juilliard where they studied drama and became lifelong friends. Even before either had made it big in show business, they vowed that whoever did exceptionally well would be obligated to help the less fortunate one. As things turned out, however, both had extremely successful careers. But in the wake of Reeve's crippling 1995 riding accident, Williams vowed to pick up whatever hospital costs Reeve's insurance didn't cover. Eventually he also became deeply involved with Reeve's foundation, The Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation (CRPF). 

Robin Williams is one of the most abundantly gifted actors of our time, internationally recognized for his many film roles playing compelling and compassionate characters.

Williams was born on July 21, 1952, in Chicago, the son of a Ford Motor Company executive. His parents were middle-aged when he was born, and while both had grown children from previous marriages, Williams was raised as an only child and had much time alone to develop his imagination. Williams was a pudgy child and was often the new kid in the private schools. Much of his quick humor developed as a defense mechanism against the teasing he endured.

After high school, Williams studied political science at Claremont Men's College and also got involved in improvisational comedy. Interestingly, despite his lifelong interest in comedy, Williams initially trained to be a serious actor, first at Marin College in California and then at Juilliard under John Houseman. While at Juilliard, he helped pay his tuition by working as a mime.

After leaving the prestigious art school, he returned to California to perform standup on the club circuit. It was during this time that he honed his tendency to move quickly from idea to idea. His first real break came after an appearance in L.A.'s Comedy Store, which in turn led to a regular gig on George Schlatter's short-lived, late '70s reincarnation of "Laugh-In." From there, Williams was cast as a crazy space alien on a fanciful episode of "Happy Days." William's portrayal of Mork from Ork delighted audiences and generated so great a response that producer Garry Marshall gave Williams his own sitcom, "Mork and Mindy," which ran from 1978 to 1982. The show was a hit and established Williams as one of the most popular comedians, along with Richard Pryor and Billy Crystal, of the '70s and '80s.

Williams' talents successfully translated to film. Among his most popular work are roles in "The World According to Garp" (1982), "Good Morning, Vietnam" (1987), "Dead Poets Society" (1989), "The Fisher King" (1991), "Mrs. Doubtfire" (1993), "The Birdcage" (1996), and "Good Will Hunting" (1997), for which he won the Best Actor Oscar.

With his wife, Marsha, Williams established the Windfall Foundation, a philanthropic endeavor participating in international organizations such as Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders), national organizations like The Pediatric AIDS Association and Make-A-Wish Foundation, as well as the local charities Project Open Hand, University of California at San Francisco and San Francisco General Hospital Pediatrics.

About the Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation

CRPF is committed to funding research that develops treatments and cures for paralysis caused by spinal cord injury and other central nervous system disorders. The Foundation also vigorously works to improve the quality of life for people living with disabilities through its grants program, paralysis resource center and advocacy efforts. CRPF awards research grants to the world's best neuroscientists. CRPF supports new initiatives, takes smart risks and makes sure research dollars are spent to do the most good. In addition, through its Quality of Life Grants program, CRPF has given 700 grants for a grand total of $6.5 million to nonprofit organizations that help improve the daily lives of people living with paralysis, particularly spinal cord injuries.

Research is the key to a cure for paralysis. CRPF provides the vital resources quality research demands. Scientists are pushing toward cutting-edge discoveries and treatments to cure paralysis caused by spinal cord injury and other central nervous system disorders. Donations made to CRPF have fueled more progress in spinal cord research in the past five years than in the previous 50.

What You Can Do

A donation to CRPF supports the research of the world's most distinguished neuroscientists and funds organizations around the country that improve the quality of life for people living with disabilities.

Donate online.

You may also mail your donation to the following address:

Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation (CRPF)

500 Morris Avenue

Springfield, NJ 07081



Learn more about volunteer opportunities.


About Comic Relief

In 1986, Williams collaborated with fellow comedians Billy Crystal and Whoopi Goldberg to host Comic Relief, a TV program in which 47 comedians performed and brought in $2.5 million in pledges for helping America’s homeless. Comic Relief has held multiple telecasts since then and has raised nearly $50 million.

Comic Relief has teamed up with No nonsense to help homeless men, women and children in the United States. Visit their website for more details.

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