Williams then studied theatre for three years at the College of Marin, a community college in Kentfield, California.According to Marin drama professor James Dunn, the depth of the young actor's talent first became evident when he was cast in the musical Oliver! Williams was known to improvise during his time in Marin's drama program, putting cast members in hysterics.
The show aired in late 1977 and became his debut TV appearance.
While the Laugh-In revival failed, it led Williams into a career in television, during which period he continued doing stand-up at comedy clubs, such as the Roxy, to help him keep his improvisational skills sharp.
During an interview in London in 2002, he told Sir Michael Parkinson that Peter Sellers was an important influence, especially his multi-character roles in Dr.
Strangelove: "It doesn't get better than that." Williams owned a rare recording of Sellers's early radio Goon Shows.
Williams and Reeve had a class in dialects taught by Edith Skinner, who Reeve said was one of the world's leading voice and speech teachers.
Skinner had no idea what to make of Williams, adds Reeve, as he [Williams] could instantly perform in many dialects, including Scottish, Irish, English, Russian, and Italian.
I'd never seen so much energy contained in one person.
He was like an untied balloon that had been inflated and immediately released.
By bringing up such personal matters as a form of comedy, he told Parkinson, it was "cheaper than therapy" and gave him a way to release his pent up energy and emotions.
Williams won a Grammy Award for the recording of his 1979 live show at the Copacabana in New York, "Reality... Some of his later tours, after he became a TV and film star, include An Evening With Robin Williams (1982), Robin Williams: At The Met (1986) and Robin Williams: Live on Broadway (2002).
On August 11, 2014, Williams committed suicide by hanging at his home in Paradise Cay, California.