The 63-year-old comedian Robin Williams, who had struggled with depression, died by suicide on August 11, 2014. “As he is remembered, it is our hope the focus will not be on Robin’s death, but on the countless moments of joy and laughter he gave to millions,” his wife said.
Williams was very LGBT-loyal. Even his pet was gay and the actor told about it with kindness and pride: “I also have a gay rescue pug called Leonard. He has a boyfriend and they are planning to adopt a Siamese kitten together. We’re very modern.” And Williams often represented LGBT characters on screen.
Mrs Doubtfire In the iconic 1993 film, Williams portrays Daniel Hillard, a divorced husband, who dresses in drag to spend time with his children. With heavy make-up and costume, his character takes on the alternate role of Mrs Iphegenia Doubtfire, a nanny hailing from Scotland. Williams worked alongside out gay actor Harvey Fierstein, who played Daniel Hillard’s brother and make-up artist Frank. “Mrs Doubtfire”, co-produced by Williams, seamlessly addresses the same-sex relationship between Aunt Jack and Uncle Frank. While the comedy often pokes at societal transgender stereotypes, it was one of the first movies to address the issue upfront.
The Birdcage. In 1996, Robin Williams starred as Armand Goldman in the re-make of French film “La Cage aux Folles”. Playing the openly gay and Jewish owner of a drag cabaret, he confronted the issues of homophobia far before mainstream media caught on. He said: “If I can use my celebrity status to draw people into a movie theatre to see me perform as an admirable gay man and thereby make them a little most positive about gay people, why wouldn’t I do it?” The Birdcage follows a gay couple, whose son is marrying the daughter of an ultra-conservative Republican US senator.To please their son, the two hesitantly pretend to be all-American, heterosexual parents upon meeting the in-laws. Armand’s partner Albert – played by Nathan Lane – who works at the club, dons his drag and pretends to be Armand’s wife. Their out gay housekeeper, Agador, takes on the persona of Spartacus, a Greek straight manservant.
Boulevard. In one of his final performances in film, the drama “Boulevard” contrasts starkly with his other LGBT roles. Williams delves into a serious subject, often untouched, about discovering sexuality at a later age. While the movie had issues finding a cinematic distributor, Williams described it as a “beautiful, sad movie”.
Finally released in July 2015, Williams stars as Nolan Mack, a suburban 60-year-old banker coming to terms with his homosexuality.He said: “[It’s] a guy who falls in love with a gay prostitute, basically comes out. He’s married, and he has to come out to his wife. It was powerful to do.”