It will take many of us a long time to wrap our heads around the loss of Robin Williams. I’ve talked about him with friends and co-workers the past few days, and watched a ton of YouTube, where you can find some of Williams’s finest talk show appearances and a good serving of his stand-up comedy. I’d like to point you in the direction of the 1992 Playboy Interview with Larry Grobel; the outstanding—essential, really—podcast interview with Marc Maron, and sympathetic remembrances by Peter Coyote, Russell Brand, and Andrew Solomon. Over at The Stacks, I excerpted a series of reviews by Pauline Kael, an early admirer of his movie acting.
Now, I’m honored to present Joe Morgenstern’s 1990 profile of Williams. Morgenstern, the winner of the 2005 Pulitzer for criticism, was a longtime movie critic for Newsweek. Since 1995, he’s graced the pages of The Wall Street Journal. He’s also written longer pieces for Rolling Stone, Esquire and the New Yorker. I was a freshman in college when his story on Williams, “More than a Shtick Figure,” appeared in the November 11, 1990 edition of the New York Times Magazine. I thought it was terrific then and it more than holds up. Joe was gracious enough to give his permission to let us reprint it here. And so, in the spirit of hanging on to Williams just a little bit longer, please enjoy. –Alex Belth
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