Biography Williams briefly studied political science before enrolling at Juilliard to study theatre. After graduation, he performed in night clubs where he was discovered for the role of Mork on an episode of “Happy Days” (1974) and the subsequent “Mork & Mindy” (1978) TV series. Williams’ wild comic talent involves a great deal of improvisation, following in the footsteps of his idol, Jonathan Winters. Williams has also proven to be an effective dramatic actor.
Williams was born in Chicago, Illinois. His mother, Laura McLaurim (née Smith, 1922–2001), was a former model from Jackson, Mississippi. His father, Robert Fitzgerald Williams (September 10, 1906–October 18, 1987) was a senior executive at Lincoln-Mercury Motorship in charge of the Midwest area. Williams was raised in the Episcopal Church, though his mother practiced Christian Science, and he grew up in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan where he was a student at the Detroit Country Day School, and Marin County, California where he attended the public Redwood High School. He has one half-brother, McLaurin, as well as a deceased half-brother, Todd, who died August 14, 2007.
Williams has described himself as a quiet child whose first imitation was of his grandmother to his mom. He did not overcome his shyness until he became involved with his high school drama department.