It is hard to pick the definitive Robin Williams performance.
There’s just so much to choose from. There’s his Oscar winning turn in “Good Will Hunting,” his star-making work in “Mork & Mindy,” his vocal efforts in “Aladdin,” his stellar dramatic performance in “Dead Poets Society” and, lest we forget, the huge success he achieved with “Mrs Doubtfire” and “Jumanji.”
But none of that would have been achieved without “Good Morning, Vietnam,” as the 1987 comedy-drama showed off Williams’ unique ability to blend improvisation with scripted comedy and drama. It even earned Williams an Academy Award nomination.
Williams nearly missed out on the opportunity to portray Adrian Cronauer in “Good Morning, Vietnam,” though.
That’s according to David Steinberg, Williams’ long-term manager, who during our recent discussion recalled how Williams accidentally stumbled upon the script during an innocuous gathering at producer Larry Brezner’s office.
“Larry Brezner, who was also quite funny, he was very funny. He developed ‘Good Morning Vietnam,’ but he didn’t develop it for Robin. He was just developing it as a film for us to produce. Larry produced all of our movies.”
“Robin came in after work one day and we were just sitting around bullsh***ing and he saw the board that Larry had put together for ‘Good Morning Vietnam.’”
Williams immediately saw the appeal of “Good Morning, Vietnam.”
“Robin said, ‘Wow. Vietnam. Disk jockey. That sounds really interesting. Can I do it?’ Larry said, ‘If you want to, that would be fantastic.’ Larry set the movie up, he was then moving more into the movie part of our business less the managing part.”
“And it was really an evolution, we all came together, like at a high school dance where everyone pairs up. Just with very little dancing.”
You can learn more about the life and career of Robin Williams by watching “Robin Williams: Come Inside My Mind,” which will air on HBO on Monday July 16 at 8pm.