LOS ANGELS — There didn’t seem to be too much that Robin Williams couldn’t do.
As an actor, he had the range to go from playing a loveable alien on the small screen in “Mork & Mindy” to winning an Academy Award for his portrayal of Professor Sean Maguire in “Good Will Hunting.” Whether it was spastic slapstick or heart-rending drama, the actor, who died on Monday from an apparent suicide, was as prolific in his career as he was hilarious.
Evidence of that work ethic won’t end with his death.
There are four completed Williams films expected to be released posthumously: “Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb,” “Merry Friggin’ Christmas,” “Boulevard,” and “Absolutely Anything.” Given his love for his craft and his fans, the final work feels like a gift left behind by the beloved actor.
Williams was known for taking on as many projects as he possibly could. In a 2010 interview with The Guardian, the actor said heart surgery in 2009 helped him to ease his pace a bit.
“In one two-year period I made eight movies,” Williams reflected. “At one point the joke was that there’s a movie out without you in it. You have this idea that you’d better keep working, otherwise people will forget. And that was dangerous. And then you realize, no, actually if you take a break people might be more interested in you. Now, after the heart surgery, I’ll take it slow.”
Set for release in December, “Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb” saw Williams revisiting his role of Teddy Roosevelt, which he had portrayed in earlier films in the series.
“There really are no words to describe the loss of Robin Williams,” said a statement from 20th Century Fox, the studio behind the movie. “He was immensely talented, a cherished member of our community, and part of the Fox family. Our hearts go out to his family, friends and fans. He will be deeply missed.”
Williams also completed a role in the holiday comedy “Merry Friggin Christmas,” which is set to be released in November. The film centers around father Boyd Mitchler, played by Joel McHale, who realizes he has left behind his son’s gifts while on holiday with his estranged family. Williams stars as McHale’s father, who makes the trek with him to retrieve the presents in time.
“When you talk to Robin you think, ‘I have learned more in the last 20 minutes than I ever learned,'” McHale told the New York Daily News earlier this year. “He is such an open soul and one of the most sensitive and great guys…”
Known for his voice work in films like Disney’s “Aladdin,” Williams provided the voice of Dennis the Dog in “Absolutely Anything,” which will be released in 2015 and costars Kate Beckinsale and Simon Pegg. But it is his role in the drama “Boulevard,” which premiered at the Tribecca Film Festival in April, that may become the most discussed and heralded of Williams’ final films.
In it, Williams plays a married man who comes to terms with his homosexuality later in life and connects emotionally with a young male prostitute played by Roberto Aguire.
“Tapping into that same loneliness felt in ‘One Hour Photo’ and ‘Good Will Hunting,’ the actor projects a regret so deep and identifiable, viewers should have no trouble connecting it to whatever is missing in their own lives — whether those regrets are romantic, sexual, professional or spiritual,” critic Peter Debruge wrote in a review of the movie for Variety.
During a Reddit “Ask Me Anything” session with fans in 2013, Williams said he couldn’t choose between comedies or dramas.
“I like doing both comedies and dramas, so it’s very difficult to say which one I prefer,” he said. “I’ve been very blessed to have had the chance to explore such a variety of characters.”