Robin

The Definitive Biography of Robin Williams

by Dave Itzkoff

'This well-written page-turner is the definitive biography of the genius of Robin Williams, whose life redefines the highs and lows of the American dream' - Steve Martin

'Tenderly written . . . frequently hilarious' - Sunday Times

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From his rapid-fire stand-up comedy riffs to his breakout role in Mork & Mindy and his Academy Award-winning performance in Good Will Hunting, Robin Williams was a singularly innovative and beloved entertainer. He often came across as a man possessed, holding forth on culture and politics while mixing in personal revelations – all with mercurial, tongue-twisting intensity as he inhabited and shed one character after another with lightning speed.

But as Dave Itzkoff shows in this revelatory biography, Williams’s comic brilliance masked a deep well of conflicting emotions and self-doubt, which he drew upon in his comedy and in celebrated films like Dead Poets Society; Good Morning, Vietnam; The Fisher King; Aladdin; and Mrs Doubtfire, where he showcased his limitless gift for improvisation to bring to life a wide range of characters. And in Good Will Hunting he gave an intense and controlled performance that revealed the true range of his talent.

Robin by Dave Itzkoff shows how Williams struggled mightily with addiction and depression – topics he discussed openly while performing and during interviews – 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 man whose work touched so many lives.

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'[Itzkoff] has written a book about the truth and the pain that lies in comedy, and the price paid by a sensitive soul' - Amy Poehler

'An amazing read' - Patton Oswalt


  • Pan Macmillan; May 2018
  • ISBN: 9780283072338
  • Read online, or download in secure ePub format
  • Title: Robin
  • Author: Dave Itzkoff
  • Imprint: Sidgwick & Jackson

In The Press

Everyone Dave Itzkoff interviewed for his account of Robin Williams’s life and career seems unsure if they fully knew who Williams was and why he did all the things he did, but Itzkoff pieces him together in his entirety. This engrossing book paints a stunningly complete picture of both the man and the comedian. A triumph, and a tragedy.


About The Author

Dave Itzkoff is the author of Mad as Hell, Cocaine’s Son and Lads. He is a culture reporter at the New York Times, where he writes regularly about film, television, theatre, music and popular culture. He previously worked at Spin, Maxim and Details, and his work has appeared in GQ, Vanity Fair, Wired and other publications. He lives in New York City.