Robin / Dave Itzkoff.

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    • Publication Information:
      First edition.
    • Abstract:
      Summary: "From New York Times reporter Dave Itzkoff comes 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 powerful Academy Award-winning performance in Good Will Hunting, Robin Williams was a singularly innovative actor and comedian. He often came across as a man possessed, holding forth on culture, politics, and personal revelation-- all with mercurial, tongue-twisting intensity as he inhabited and shed one character after another. But as Dave Itzkoff shows in this revelatory biography, Williams's comic brilliance masked a deep well of conflicting emotions and self-doubt. In his comedy and in celebrated films like Dead Poets Society; Good Morning, Vietnam; The Fisher King; Aladdin; and Mrs. Doubtfire, he showcased his limitless gift for improvisation, bringing his characters to life and using humor to seek deeper truths. Itzkoff also shows how Williams struggled mightily with addiction and depression 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 performer whose work touched so many of our lives"--Book jacket.
    • Content Notes:
      Prologue -- Part one: Comet -- Punky and Lord Posh -- The escape artist -- Legalized insanity -- My favorite Orkan -- The Robin Williams show -- Mork blows his cork -- Bungalow 3 -- Part two: Star -- Mr. Happy -- Tough love -- Gooooooood morning -- O captain! -- Dreamlike parts, with phantasmagoric associations -- Father man -- Hot flashes -- Part three: Supernova -- Golden dude -- Fade to white -- Weapons of self-destruction -- The tiger in winter -- Gone -- Everything will be okay -- The big room -- Epilogue -- Robin Williams: Selected works and awards.
    • Notes:
      "A New York Times book."
      Includes bibliographical references (pages 449-508) and index.
    • ISBN:
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Booklist Reviews 2018 May #1

Itzkoff, who knew the late Robin Williams on a personal level, gives us the biography we've been waiting for: a portrait of a brilliantly nimble-witted performer who spent most of his life battling a crippling lack of self-confidence and depression. Williams' suicide in 2014 took most of us by surprise, but here the author shows how Williams' seemingly inexplicable act was the end result of a lifetime of inner turmoil and an inability to find peace within his own mind. The book includes material drawn from previously published sources and interviews with a wide variety of people, including F. Murray Abraham, Norman Lear, David Letterman, Bruce Vilanch, Henry Winkler, and Terry Gilliam. The book has some nifty trivia (first choices to play Mork from Ork were John Byner and Dom DeLuise), but this isn't one of those skimming-the-surface Hollywood bios. It's a meaty, well-researched, moving story of a man who could never quite come to terms with his own brilliance. Copyright 2018 Booklist Reviews.

LJ Reviews 2018 May #2

New York Times culture reporter Itzkoff's (Mad as Hell; Cocaine's Son; Lads) detailed, well-researched biography of entertainer Robin Williams (1951–2014) is lengthy, but the writing and content make it easy to read. The author starts with the history of Williams's family life and proceeds chronologically to the dizzying heights of his fame. Williams moved a lot when he was young and became famous at 27, playing an alien on the TV show Mork and Mindy. His comedic genius propelled him to incredible notoriety and also led to lasting friendships with other comedians, particularly Billy Crystal. Itzkoff discusses some of Williams's famous movie roles, such as in Good Morning, Vietnam, Dead Poets Society, Awakenings, The Fisher King, Aladdin, Mrs. Doubtfire, and Good Will Hunting, for which he won an Academy Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role. The difficult parts of Williams's life: his addictions, divorces, and last years suffering with Lewy Body Dementia, are also explored in this book that stays with you long after it is finished. VERDICT Williams's entertaining and mostly enjoyable life story will appeal to fans of celebrity biographies, movies, entertainment, and stand-up comedy. [See Prepub Alert, 11/27/17.]—Sally Bryant, Pepperdine Univ. Lib., Malibu, CA

Copyright 2018 Library Journal.

PW Reviews 2018 March #3

According to this perceptive biography from Itzkoff (Mad as Hell), comedian Robin Williams was a man driven by a deep need for adulation and acceptance. Itzkoff introduces Williams as a brilliant, imaginative child left to his own devices in a sprawling mansion in the suburbs of Detroit, then describes his sometimes contentious relationship with his Ford executive father, his time in a community college drama department, his training at Juilliard (where he met lifelong friend Christopher Reeve), his breakthrough role on Mork and Mindy, and his long movie career. Along the way, readers meet the people who sustained him for much of his life, in particular the comic Billy Crystal, who perhaps knew him best, and his second wife, Marsha, who for years supervised much of his professional life. Nevertheless, Williams was consumed with misgivings about his stature as a star, a doubt that found expression in drug and alcohol abuse, and in his struggle to find film projects that could harness his manic talents. Itzkoff goes into detail on the debilitating illness (Lewy body dementia) that some of those close to Williams believe caused the comedian to commit suicide in 2014. Meticulously sourced and comprehensive in scope, Itzkoff's work gives Williams's many fans a rare glimpse of the man behind the celebrity. (May)

Copyright 2018 Publishers Weekly.