Robin Williams is masterfully explained in the book, Robin, by Dave Itzkoff.
He was one of my very favorite actors. Dead Poets Society, Awakenings, and Good Will Hunting are three of my favorite films.
His uniqueness came from long periods of being left alone as a kid. He would play by himself in his attic for many hours with small toy soldiers. He created voices and characters to keep from being lonely. That experience steadily grew and was fed through improv classes, stand-up comedy clubs, Mork & Mindy, films, and lots and lots of films. Becoming another person was his gift and his obsession.
He also brought from his childhood or teenage years a down-to-earth caring for other people and a never-ending use of profane language.
I think his unique greatness, and his many downfalls, can be traced to these early experiences. Perhaps the best combination of a funny person and an inspiring actor that I’ve ever seen. I do miss him, O Captain, My Captain.
My favorite lines from Robin Williams: That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse…Carpe diem, seize the day, make your lives extraordinary.