From One Disney Character To Another, Josh Gad Pens A Heartwarming Letter About Robin Williams' Impact On His Career
The love for Robin Williams just keeps pouring out.
Whether he was playing an animated character, doing stand up or just being himself there's no doubt that this beloved comedian touched the lives of everyone around him.
Josh Gad is just the latest person to write a tribute to the late actor.
In his USA Today memorandum, he recalls the moment he saw Robin as Genie in Aladdin and realized at that very moment, he knew he wanted to do with his life.
From one beloved Disney character to another, Josh writes:
Every actor has that idol that inspires them. That makes them want to bring joy and laughter to the masses; to make people cry and think; to give people a two-hour escape from the pain of their daily lives. For me that actor was Robin Williams.
As a product of the '80s, I grew up with Robin's antics. One of my first cinematic memories was seeing a one-eyed, muscled Robin singing and dancing in Robert Altman's Popeye. His spinach-chewing drawl and bow-legged walk were fodder for imitation in my house. Looking more like a younger Bluto than Popeye, I never quite got it down, but it never stopped me from trying to emulate a master. I remember sitting through Hook and watching as Peter Banning remembered what it was like to be a boy again; to fly above the clouds and to remind us all that the power of imagination and childlike wonder is as ageless as the stories of Neverland.
Josh went on to reminiscence the time he was on Broadway and saw a very familiar face in the audience.
He continued on to write:
Cut to the summer of 2011 when I was performing in The Book of Mormon on Broadway. By that time, it was common for celebrities to visit. Everyone from Bono to Oprah had come to see what the buzz was all about. It was always a thrill to look out in the audience and see a familiar face that had inspired me. But on this particular summer night, May 15 to be exact, I looked into the audience as I sang the opening lines to Hello and saw a bearded hero smiling back at me. That night, I gave what was probably the best performance I have ever given on a stage. I felt intoxicated with the knowledge that I was entertaining a man who had raised me on his comedy specials, his movies and his TV series.
…At the end of the show, I went up to my dressing room and received a message over the loudspeaker. Someone was waiting for me backstage. I slowly walked down the stage, trying to think of what to say when I came face to face with my hero. I remembered that he had just moved into my building on 63rd Street. As I turned the corner and saw him beaming like a proud father, I blurted out, "Hey, you live in my building!" He smiled at me and without missing a beat, exclaimed, "No boy. You live in my building!" And so began my relationship with the idol I was fortunate enough to call a friend."
And thus, his friendship with the great comedian started to blossom. The two became "Broadway buddies" and bonded after their respective shows ended each night.
When Josh got the part as Olaf in Frozen, he revealed that his performance was inspired by his good friend.
As many know, my performance as Olaf in Frozen is inspired by the great Robin Williams. When I first met with the film's directors, I told them I wanted to create a character as free and as wonderfully surprising at every turn as the greatest Disney sidekick I had ever known: the Genie.
Olaf will never remotely touch the tour de force that is Robin's Genie. Because there is only one Robin Williams. But the joy and laughter that my little snowman has brought to children is because of the man who has left this world far too early. A man who taught me to be free, to be childlike, and a man who taught me to get out of my own way as a performer. His gift was to take all of our pain away and to allow us to escape. If only we could have returned the favor.
That was so beautifully written.
We don't know about you, but that certainly made us well up. No one will ever be able to replace Robin.
[Image via Disney.]