Ink & Pixel: A Tribute To The Animated Voices Of Robin Williams

Last Updated on August 2, 2021

Ink & Pixel is a source of pride and joy for me as a writer and as such, I’m always striving to take this column further for those who read and enjoy it. In an effort to widen the reach of our continuously growing fanbase, Ink & Pixel has been granted permission to broaden its horizons with the inclusion of films from the Horror, Sci-Fi, and Fantasy genres. I hope that you enjoy this bold new direction for the column. Additionally, if you yourself, or anyone you know, helped to make any of the amazing feature films found within this column, I would love to talk to you to further my knowledge. Please contact me at [email protected] so we can discuss it further.

“I started doing comedy because that was the only stage that I could find. It was the pure idea of being on stage. That was the only thing that interested me, along with learning the craft and working, and just being in productions with people.”

Robin Williams

In the time that has passed since the loss of the legendary actor/comedian Robin Williams, the staff here at have put together a series of wonderfully heartfelt articles celebrating the man’s long-standing career as an entertainer. Today, it is my aim to offer my own thanks to Mr. Williams’ memory by sharing with you with a very special edition of Ink & Pixel. After all, I owe so much to the man. I have been moved to tears, learned a score of invaluable life lessons, and have felt compelled to laugh with my entire body because of him. For these reasons and more, I will remain forever grateful. So please, join me in celebrating the many timeless roles of Robin Williams as animated character in film.

Mork From Ork (MORK AND MINDY)

Before we focus our attentions on the several major vocal roles throughout Robin’s career, I’d like to take a moment to highlight some of his earlier and lesser known voice acting works. For example, many will never forget Robin’s role as Mork of the MORK AND MINDY show. Robin portrayed Mork – an alien sent to planet Earth via his one-man egg-shaped spaceship – whose mission was to observe the human race and share that intelligence with Orson, an alien supervisor evaluating Mork’s experiences from the planet Ork.

What you might not remember is that in September of the year 1982, Mork and Mindy became part of a Saturday morning cartoon series on ABC under the lengthy title Mork & Mindy/Laverne & Shirley/ Fonz Hour. The show served as a prequel to the live-action television program, and featured the character of Mindy – this time as a young high school student. The show ran for just one season, totaling in at 26 episodes. Suffice it say that although the show’s lifespan was brief, Robin’s outrageous brand of comedy and boundless energy was brought to each and every episode. Nanu nanu!


In addition to reprising his role as the inquisitive and outright hilarious Mork From Ork, Mr. Williams also lent his voice to an animated television special featuring the characters of the Sunday Comics strip Outland, by Berkeley Breathed. The film was entitled A WISH FOR WINGS THAT WORK: AN OPUS CHRISTMAS STORY, in which Williams provided the voice for a character named The Kiwi. This flightless fury appears in the film as a rather disgruntled, short-winged kiwi bird, whose wife has left him for the company of an albatross (who, according to his better half, boasts a rather impressive wing span). Despite the character of The Kiwi being an ornery sort, Robin’s performance as this bitter bird is undoubtedly one of the highlights of this peculiar holiday special.

“You’re only given a little spark of madness, you mustn’t lose it.”

Robin Williams


Some would consider Robin’s work on FERNGULLY: THE LAST RAINFOREST – as the voice of a Batty Koda – to be his breakout performance in the art of voice acting. In this Eco-friendly cautionary tale, Batty – an escaped fruit bat and former victim of animal experimentation – crash lands inside the forest sanctuary of Ferngully. Upon meeting Crysta, a magical fairy living in Ferngully, Batty irately explains that humans – which the fairy believes to be extinct – are in fact very much alive. This causes concern among the fairy population as, all their lives, they have been lead to believe that humans are dangerous creatures.

I feel that part of what makes Batty Koda such a memorable character is his pension for insanity. When looking at Batty Koda, you’ll notice that he’s got an electrode protruding from the base of his skull. For reasons beyond my understanding, the device is still active, and periodically sends electric shocks coursing through Batty’s already fragile brain. With each dose of electricity, this deranged fruit bat appears to experience an influx of hallucinations, which bring about all manner of hilarity to Batty’s dialogue and hapless physicality.

I recently sat down to watch this film for the very first time in my preparation for this tribute and was amazed at just how complex the character of Batty Koda truly is. His seemingly random outbursts are often laden with wild philosophies, doomsday warnings, and an overwhelming sense of concern for all who dwell within the fairy kingdom. He carries with him a degree of nurturing madness that I believe serves as a metaphorical fun house mirror image of Robin Williams himself.

“My battles with addiction definitely shaped how I am now. They really made me deeply appreciate human contact. And the value of friends and family, how precious that is.”

Robin Williams


The Genie from Disney’s ALADDIN is far and away Robin’s most iconic role as the voice of an animated character. From the moment Genie escapes his lamp, an already entertaining and uproarious film achieves yet another level of excellence and energy – once Williams is added to the mix. Whether he’s doing impressions of iconic celebrities (that don’t yet to exist in the time of Aladdin’s Agrabah) or making dreams a reality by way of wish fulfillment, the Genie never stops delivering the goods whenever he’s on screen.

In Disney’s ALADDIN, the Genie is bound by a powerful magic as old as time itself, and is forced to serve and grant the wishes of whomever possesses his magical lamp. Having belonged to several masters in the past – heir-apparents who had taken advantage of his seemingly limitless cosmic powers – Genie endears himself to his new, and more kind-hearted master, Aladdin. As the bond between servant and master grows ever stronger, Aladdin finds that he is unable to use his last wish for personal gain, and asks that the Genie be set free. With the chains that bind him broken, and all of the world ready for his exploration, Genie chooses to remain with Aladdin – until the day when Prince Ali’s rule comes to an end. It’s a story of true friendship, love, and a partnership that will live on forever in the hearts of those who cherish this timeless film and its unforgettable cast of characters.

“People think they know you. They expect you to be literally like you are on TV or in the movies, bouncing off the walls. A woman in an airport once said to me, “Be zany!” People always want zany, goofy shit from me. It takes a lot of energy to do that. If you do that all the time, you’ll burn out.”

Robin Williams


It was all the way back in 2001, but I can still recall the way my eyes lit up the moment I recognized Robin as the voice of Dr. Know – the Einstein-esque, holographic information kiosk featured in Speilberg’s science fiction epic A.I. ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE. Unfortunately, there’s not a whole lot of information that I can offer you about the character, other than that his role in delivering precise and per-categorized information to David (Haley-Joel Osment) was crucial to the child cyborg’s journey in leading him toward his makers. Brief as it might have been, Williams nails the personification of an all-knowing computer program, and dispenses the information he has to share with his customers in a succinct and entertaining fashion.

“Do you think God gets stoned? I think so … look at the platypus.”

Robin Williams

Fender Pinwheeler (ROBOTS)

In Chris Wedge and Carlos Saldanha’s ROBOTS, Robin Williams lends his voice to the character Fender Pinwheeler, an outgoing and often times theatrically outmoded robot. Alongside his friend – a newcomer to Robot City, Rodney Copperbottom (Ewan McGregor) – Fender and group called the “Rusties” move against a sinister robot villain named Ratchet (Greg Kinear), whose nefarious plan is to be the only repair parts supplier in the game. Should Ratchet’s plan succeed, any robot unable to afford his expensive parts will be left to rust and decay.

In my estimation, Fender is the kind of robot friend that no automaton should be without, even though he’s a few oil changes shy of a tune up. He’s loyal, adventuresome, and greets danger with a smile. Suffice it to say that Rodney might never have lasted through the night, after going beyond the gates of Robot City, if Fender were not there to selflessly give him a place to crash. Fender Pinwheeler is an animated character, that, like Williams, is a relentless jokester with a big heart. He’s a salt of the Earth type who makes friends wherever he goes and is willing to go to great lengths to leave you with a smile.

Ramon and Lovelace (HAPPY FEET)

This time inside of the sound booth, Williams provided the voices for not one, but two characters featured in the HAPPY FEET franchise. As the Adélie Penguin, Ramon – leader of the penguin group the Amigos – Williams channeled his inner Latin lover to deliver a smooth yet fierce performance of a flightless romantic. In addition to Ramon, Robin turns the lights down low and delivers his best southern-preacher-meets-Barry-White impression for the character of Lovelace; a Rockhopper penguin with a flare for the dramatic. Many of his fellow penguins believe Lovelace to be something of a clairvoyant; his powers stemming from a “sacred talisman” (it’s actually just a six-pack of plastic rings worn around his neck). At his core, Lovelace is a leader, and viewed by his rookery as someone worth listening to when one is in need of sage-like advice.

Some might suggest that Robin simply provided the voices, cashed his check, and flew south for the winter. However, I am of the belief that Mr. Williams own passion and longing to connect with the people he loved most is what inspired him when conjuring the voice for Ramon. Additionally, his larger-than-life personality and boundless energy would create the perfect springboard when developing the voice used for Lovelace. I didn’t know Mr. Williams personally, but I feel these traits I’m describing are evidenced by his long career as an entertainer, lively comedian, and dedicated father.

“Death is nature’s way of saying, “Your table is ready.”

Robin Williams

If you’ll allow me to take just another moment before we depart from this week’s very special edition of Ink & Pixel, I’d like to say a few words. Robin Williams was – dammit, is! – one of my favorite actors of all time. The moment I’d learned of his passing it felt as if I’d lost a cherished childhood friend. I’ve learned that “Friends come in all sizes.” because of his antics as the demented Rainbow Randolph from DEATH TO SMOOCHY. It’s because of his role as Parry from THE FISHER KING that I know “There’s three things in this world that you need: Respect for all kinds of life, a nice bowel movement on a regular basis, and a navy blazer.” I still don’t own a navy blazer, but what I do have is an eternal love and respect for this wonderful man. I will miss him sincerely. And hey, Robin, when you shake hands with John Candy, tell him I say hello and that I miss him, too.


About the Author

Born and raised in New York, then immigrated to Canada, Steve Seigh has been a editor, columnist, and critic since 2012. He started with Ink & Pixel, a column celebrating the magic and evolution of animation, before launching the companion YouTube series Animation Movies Revisited. He's also the host of the Talking Comics Podcast, a personality-driven audio show focusing on comic books, film, music, and more. You'll rarely catch him without headphones on his head and pancakes on his breath.