Robin Williams – A Life In Quotes


Robin Williams wasn’t only an actor, or a comedian, for that matter. He was a glittering sage, with a devastatingly witty reposte on every matter from politics to pets just ready to pull out at just the right moment.

He showed that wit and wisdom are not mutually exclusive, and seemed to do so every time he opened his mouth.

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Here are some of his wisest observations on life, love, happiness and sadness…

On Divorce: “Ah yes, divorce, from the Latin word meaning to rip out a man’s genitals through his wallet.”

On addiction: “The truth is, if anything, I’m probably addicted to laughter.”

On winning the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for Good Will Hunting in 1998: “This might be the one time I’m speechless.”

(But he wasn’t really: “Most of all, I want to thank my father, up there, the man who when I said I wanted to be an actor, he said, ‘Wonderful. Just have a back-up profession like welding’.”)


On creation: “I feel like Adam when he said to Eve, ‘Back up, I don’t know how big this gets’.”

On politics: “’Poli’ a Latin word meaning ‘many’; and ‘tics’ meaning ‘bloodsucking creatures’.”

On satire: “People say satire is dead. It’s not dead; it’s alive and living in the White House.”

On pets: “I also have a gay rescue pug called Leonard, who I take for walks, because I am very secure in my sexuality. He has a boyfriend and they are planning to adopt a Siamese kitten together. We’re very modern.”


On blacking out: “Blackouts, I joke, are like sleepwalking with activities. But those are really frightening, where you wake up and you have to have people (tell you what you did). And then you go, ‘This is scary’.”

On words: “No matter what people tell you, words and ideas can change the world.”

On Las Vegas: “I only ever play Vegas one night at a time. It’s a hideous, gaudy place; it may not be the end of the world per se, but you can certainly see it from there.”

On privilege: “Some are born great. Some achieve greatness. Some get it as a graduation gift.”


On creation (again): “Do you think God gets stoned? I think so … look at the platypus.”

On men: “See, the problem is that God gives men a brain and a penis, and only enough blood to run one at a time.”

On comedy: “Comedy is acting out optimism.”

On forgiveness: “Good people end up in Hell because they can’t forgive themselves.”

On the meaning of life: “You’re only given one little spark of madness. You mustn’t lose it.”


Robin Williams, 1951 - 2014.

Image credits: Rex Features