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Wednesday 17 September 2014

Robin Williams felt a warmth for Ireland - and our foibles

Published 14/08/2014 | 02:30

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Robin Williams visited Ireland on many occasions and even acquired a 'stagey' Irish accent
Robin Williams visited Ireland on many occasions and even acquired a 'stagey' Irish accent
Robin Williams and Matt Damon in Good Will Hunting

Robin Williams felt a natural warmth towards Irish people. In our vivacity - and, let's be honest, our love for a sup of the hard stuff - perhaps he saw reflections of himself.

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In Europe on a promotional trip in the early '90s, Robin Williams memorably joined Zig and Zag for a chin wag, displaying the full breadth of his repertoire of wacky accents (for some reason he seemed of the opinion that Zig and Zag were Scottish).

With the puppets struggling to keep control of the interview, he fully lived up to his wired screen persona. Asked what was the worst about portraying an alien on Mork and Mindy, he quipped 'the fact your balls are your ears'.

He showed a more serious side during the conversation too, telling the puppets his greatest wishes was for 'world peace'.

Williams visited Ireland on many occasions. One time he stayed in Clontarf where people recall him taking his family to the park and playing with locals. Perhaps it was on these trips that he acquired a fondness for Irish accents, albeit of an extremely 'stagey' variety.

From then on, an exaggerated, borderline insulting 'brogue' was always part of his routine. "They say the Irish saved civilization," he would joke. "Then they drank a couple of [pints] and forgot where they put it."

He played opposite Irish actor Pierce Brosnan in one of his biggest parts, 1993's Mrs Doubtfire. Shocked to learn of Williams' sudden death, Brosnan told reporters that the actor was "one of the best".

Irish Independent

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