Edward Regan Murphy is an American comedian, screen writer and film producer. Murphy was a regular cast member on Saturday Night Live from 1980 to 1984, he has worked as a stand-up comedian and was ranked #10 on Comedy Central's list of the 100 Greatest Stand-ups of All Time. In films, Murphy has received Golden Globe Award nominations for his performances in 48 Hrs. the Beverly Hills Cop series, Trading Places, The Nutty Professor. In 2007, he won the Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actor and received a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his portrayal of soul singer James "Thunder" Early in Dreamgirls. Murphy's work as a voice actor in films includes Thurgood Stubbs in The PJs, Donkey in DreamWorks Animation's Shrek series, the Chinese dragon Mushu in Disney's Mulan. In some films, he plays multiple roles in addition to his main character, intended as a tribute to one of his idols Peter Sellers, who played multiple roles in Dr. Strangelove and elsewhere, he has played multiple roles in Coming to America, Wes Craven's Vampire in Brooklyn, the Nutty Professor films, The Adventures of Pluto Nash and Meet Dave.
As of 2014, Murphy's films have grossed over $3.8 billion in the United States and Canada box office and $6.6 billion worldwide. In 2015, his films made him the sixth-highest grossing actor in the United States. In 2015, Murphy was awarded the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor by the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Murphy was born in Brooklyn, New York City, raised in the borough's Bushwick neighborhood, his mother, was a telephone operator, his father, Charles Edward Murphy, was a transit police officer and an amateur actor and comedian. His father died in 1969. "My mother and father broke up when I was three, he died when I was eight, so I have dim memories… He was a victim of the Murphy charm. A woman stabbed my father. I never got all the logistics, it was supposed to be one of those crimes of passion:'If I can't have you, no one else will'-kind of deal. Someone said to me one day,'That's why you don't trust women.' Get the fuck outta here. What are you, a fucking psychiatrist?"When Murphy's single mother became ill, the eight-year-old Murphy and his older brother Charlie lived in foster care for one year.
In interviews, Murphy has said that his time in foster care was influential in developing his sense of humor. He and his brother were raised in Roosevelt, New York, by his mother and stepfather Vernon Lynch, a foreman at an ice cream plant; when Murphy was 15 he listened to Richard Pryor's comedy album That Nigger's Crazy, which inspired his decision to become a comedian. Other early influences included Bill Cosby, Redd Foxx, Robin Williams. On July 9, 1976, the date with which Murphy marks the beginning of his career, he performed in a talent show at the Roosevelt Youth Center, doing an impersonation of singer Al Green as Green's song "Let's Stay Together" played; this led to work at other clubs within walking distance, late night jobs at locations that required him to commute by train. To do this he secretly skipped school, after his mother discovered this at the end of his senior year, he was required to attend summer school. Murphy's early comedy was characterized by copious profanity and sketches lampooning a diverse group of people.
Murphy released two stand-up specials. Eddie Murphy was his first album, released in 1982. Delirious was filmed in 1983 in Washington, D. C. Due to the popularity of Delirious, his concert film Eddie Murphy Raw received a wide theatrical release, grossing $50 million. Comedians who cite Murphy as influencing them include Russell Brand, Dave Chappelle, Chris Rock. Murphy first earned national attention as a cast member on Saturday Night Live and was credited with helping to revitalize the show during the early 1980s, his notable characters included a grown-up version of the Little Rascals character Buckwheat. Do Buckwheat!" In Rolling Stone's February 2015 appraisal of all 141 SNL cast members to date, Murphy was ranked second. "It is customary to say that Eddie Murphy is the only reason SNL survived the five-year wilderness without Lorne Michaels," they noted. In 1982, Murphy made his big screen debut in the film 48 Hrs. with Nick Nolte. 48 Hrs. proved to be a hit when it was released in the Christmas season of 1982.
Nolte was scheduled to host the December 11, 1982, Christmas episode of Saturday Night Live, but became too ill to host, so Murphy took over. He became the only cast member to host while still a regular. Murphy opened the show with the phrase, "Live from New York, It's the Eddie Murphy Show!" The following year, Murphy starred in Trading Places with fellow SNL alumnus Dan Aykroyd. The movie marked the first of Murphy's collaborations with director John Landis and proved to be an greater box office success than 48 Hrs. In 1984, Murphy appeared in Best Defense, co-starring Dudley Moore
Thomas Cruise is an American actor and producer. Known for his work in action films for which he performs risky stunts, he has received several accolades for more dramatic work, including three Golden Globe Awards and nominations for three Academy Awards. One of the best-paid actors in the world, his films have earned over $3.9 billion in North America, making him one of the highest-grossing actors of all time. Cruise began acting in the early 1980s and made his breakthrough with leading roles in the comedy Risky Business and the action drama Top Gun. Critical acclaim came with his roles in the dramas The Color of Money, Rain Man, Born on the Fourth of July. For portraying Ron Kovic in the latter, he won a Golden Globe Award and received a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Actor; as a leading Hollywood star in the 1990s, Cruise starred in several commercially successful films, including the drama A Few Good Men, the thriller The Firm, the horror Interview with the Vampire, the romance Jerry Maguire, for which he won another Golden Globe and received his second Oscar nomination.
His performance as a motivational speaker in the 1999 drama Magnolia, earned him a third Golden Globe and a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. As an action star, Cruise has played Ethan Hunt in six films of the Mission: Impossible film series from 1996 to 2018, he continued to feature in several science fiction and action films, including Vanilla Sky, Minority Report, The Last Samurai, War of the Worlds and Day, Jack Reacher and Edge of Tomorrow. Cruise has been married three times, to actresses Mimi Rogers, Nicole Kidman, Katie Holmes, has three children, two of which were adopted during his marriage to Kidman and the other a biological daughter with Holmes. Cruise is an outspoken advocate for the Church of Scientology and its associated social programs, credits it with helping him overcome dyslexia. In the 2000s, he sparked controversy with his Church-affiliated criticisms of psychiatry and anti-depressant drugs, his efforts to promote Scientology as a religion in Europe, a leaked video interview of him promoting Scientology.
Cruise was born in Syracuse, New York, the son of Mary Lee, a special education teacher, Thomas Cruise Mapother III, an electrical engineer, both from Louisville, Kentucky. He has three sisters: Lee Anne and Cass, they are of English and Irish ancestry. One of Cruise's paternal 3x great-grandfathers, Patrick Russell Cruise, was born in north County Dublin in 1799, they settled in New York. They had a daughter, Mary Paulina Russell Cruise, whose son Thomas Cruise Mapother was Cruise's great-grandfather. A cousin, William Mapother, is an actor. Cruise grew up in near poverty, had a Catholic upbringing; the family was dominated by his abusive father, whom Cruise has described as "a merchant of chaos." Cruise has said that he was beaten by his father, whom he has called a "bully and coward." He stated, "He was the kind of person. It was a great lesson in my life—how he'd lull you in, make you feel safe and bang! For me, it was like,'There's something wrong with this guy. Don't trust him. Be careful around him.'"Cruise spent part of his childhood in Canada.
His family moved to Beacon Hill, Ottawa, in late 1971 so that Cruise's father could take a position as a defense consultant with the Canadian Armed Forces. There, Cruise attended the newly opened Robert Hopkins Public School for much of grade four and grade five. In grade four, Cruise first became involved under the tutelage of George Steinburg. Cruise and six other boys put on an improvised play to music called IT at the Carleton Elementary School drama festival. Drama organizer Val Wright, in the audience that night, reflected, "The movement and improvisation were excellent, it was a classic ensemble piece." Cruise enjoyed sports at the school and played floor hockey, though he was known more for his aggression than his talent. In sixth grade, Cruise went to Henry Munro Middle School in Ottawa, Canada. However, in the spring of that year, Cruise's mother left his father, taking Cruise and his sisters back to the United States, his father died of cancer in 1984. Cruise attended a Franciscan seminary in Cincinnati, Ohio, on a church scholarship and aspired to become a Catholic priest, before his interest in acting.
In his senior year, he played football for the varsity team as a linebacker, but he was cut from the squad after getting caught drinking beer before a game. In total, Cruise attended 15 schools in 14 years, including stints in at least two suburban New Jersey towns, including Glen Ridge. Cruise first appeared in a bit part in the 1981 film Endless Love, followed by a major supporting role as a crazed military academy student in Taps that year. In 1983, Cruise was part of the ensemble cast of The Outsiders; that same year he appeared in All the Right Moves and Risky Business, described as "A Generation X classic, a career-maker for Tom Cruise", which, along with 1986's Top Gun, cemented his status as a superstar. Cruise played the male lead in the Ridley Scott film Legend, released in 1985. Cruise followed up Top Gun with The Color of Money, which came out the same year, which paired him with Paul Newman. 1988 saw him star in Cocktail. That yea
MTV is an American pay television channel owned by Viacom Media Networks and headquartered in New York City. The channel was launched on August 1, 1981, aired music videos as guided by television personalities known as "video jockeys". At first, MTV's main target demographic was young adults, but today it is teenagers high school and college students. Since its inception, MTV has toned down its music video programming and its programming now consists of original reality and drama programming and some off-network syndicated programs and films, with limited music video programming in off-peak time periods. MTV had struggled with the secular decline of music-related subscription-based media, its ratings had been said to be failing systematically, as younger viewers shift towards other media platforms, with yearly ratings drops as high as 29%. In April 2016, then-appointed MTV president Sean Atkins announced plans to restore music programming to the channel. Under current MTV president Chris McCarthy, reality programming has once again become prominent.
MTV has spawned numerous sister channels in the U. S. and affiliated channels internationally, some of which have gone independent, with 90.6 million American households in the United States receiving the channel as of January 2016. Several earlier concepts for music video-based television programming had been around since the early 1960s; the Beatles had used music videos to promote their records starting in the mid-1960s. The creative use of music videos within their 1964 film A Hard Day's Night the performance of the song "Can't Buy Me Love", led MTV on June 26, 1999, to honor the film's director Richard Lester with an award for "basically inventing the music video". In his book The Mason Williams FCC Rapport, author Mason Williams states that he pitched an idea to CBS for a television program that featured "video-radio", where disc jockeys would play avant-garde art pieces set to music. CBS rejected the idea, but Williams premiered his own musical composition "Classical Gas" on the Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, where he was head writer.
In 1970, Philadelphia-based disc jockey Bob Whitney created The Now Explosion, a television series filmed in Atlanta and broadcast in syndication to other local television stations throughout the United States. The series featured promotional clips from various popular artists, but was canceled by its distributor in 1971. Several music programs originating outside of the US, including Australia's Countdown and the United Kingdom's Top of the Pops, which had aired music videos in lieu of performances from artists who were not available to perform live, began to feature them by the mid-1970s. In 1974, Gary Van Haas, vice president of Televak Corporation, introduced a concept to distribute a music video channel to record stores across the United States, promoted the channel, named Music Video TV, to distributors and retailers in a May 1974 issue of Billboard; the channel, which featured video disc jockeys, signed a deal with US Cable in 1978 to expand its audience from retail to cable television.
The service was no longer active by the time MTV launched in 1981. In 1977, Warner Cable a division of Warner Communications and the precursor of Warner-Amex Satellite Entertainment launched the first two-way interactive cable television system named QUBE in Columbus, Ohio; the QUBE system offered many specialized channels. One of these specialized channels was Sight on Sound, a music channel that featured concert footage and music-oriented television programs. With the interactive QUBE service, viewers could vote for their favorite artists; the original programming format of MTV was created by media executive Robert W. Pittman, who became president and chief executive officer of MTV Networks. Pittman had test-driven the music format by producing and hosting a 15-minute show, Album Tracks, on New York City television station WNBC-TV in the late 1970s. Pittman's boss Warner-Amex executive vice president John Lack had shepherded PopClips, a television series created by former Monkee-turned solo artist Michael Nesmith, whose attention had turned to the music video format in the late 1970s.
The inspiration for PopClips came from a similar program on New Zealand's TVNZ network named Radio with Pictures, which premiered in 1976. The concept itself had been in the works since 1966, when major record companies began supplying the New Zealand Broadcasting Corporation with promotional music clips to play on the air at no charge. Few artists made the long trip to New Zealand to appear live. On Saturday, August 1, 1981, at 12:01 AM Eastern Time, MTV was launched with the words "Ladies and gentlemen and roll," spoken by John Lack and played over footage of the first Space Shuttle launch countdown of Columbia and of the launch of Apollo 11; those words were followed by the original MTV theme song, a crunching rock tune composed by Jonathan Elias and John Petersen, playing over the American flag changed to show MTV's logo changing into various textures and designs. MTV producers Alan Goodman and Fred Seibert used this public domain footage as a concept. A shortened version of the shuttle launch ID ran at the top of every hour in various forms, from MTV's first day until it was pulled in early 1986 in the wake of the Challenger disaster.
John Joseph Travolta is an American actor, film producer and singer. Travolta first became known in the 1970s, appearing on the television series Welcome Back and starring in the box office successes Saturday Night Fever and Grease, his acting career declined through the 1980s, but enjoyed a resurgence in the 1990s with his role in Pulp Fiction, he has since starred in films such as Get Shorty, Broken Arrow, Face/Off, Swordfish, Be Cool, Wild Hogs and The Taking of Pelham 123. Travolta was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor for performances in Saturday Night Fever and Pulp Fiction, he won his first and only Golden Globe Award for Best Actor in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy for his performance in Get Shorty and has received a total of six nominations, the most recent being in 2011. In 2010, he received the IIFA Award for Outstanding Achievement in International Cinema. In 2016, Travolta received his first Primetime Emmy Award, as a producer of the first season of the anthology series American Crime Story, subtitled The People v. O. J. Simpson.
He received an additional Emmy nomination and a Golden Globe nomination for his portrayal of lawyer Robert Shapiro in the series. Travolta, the youngest of six children, was born and raised in Englewood, New Jersey, an inner-ring suburb of Bergen County, New Jersey, his father, Salvatore Travolta, was a semi-professional American football player turned tire salesman and partner in a tire company. His mother, Helen Cecilia, was an actress and singer who had appeared in The Sunshine Sisters, a radio vocal group, acted and directed before becoming a high school drama and English teacher, his siblings, Ellen, Ann and Sam Travolta, inspired by their mother's love of theatre and drama, have all acted. His father was a second-generation Italian American and his mother was Irish American, he was raised Roman Catholic, but converted to Scientology in 1975. Travolta attended Dwight Morrow High School, but dropped out as a junior at age 17 in 1971. After attending Dwight Morrow High School, Travolta moved across the Hudson River to New York City and landed a role in the touring company of the musical Grease and on Broadway in Over Here!, singing the Sherman Brothers' song "Dream Drummin'".
He moved to Los Angeles for professional reasons. Travolta's first screen role in California was as a fall victim in Emergency!, in September 1972, but his first significant movie role was as Billy Nolan, a bully, goaded into playing a prank on Sissy Spacek's character in the horror film Carrie. Around the same time, he landed his star-making role as Vinnie Barbarino in the TV sitcom Welcome Back, Kotter, in which his sister, Ellen occasionally appeared; the show aired on ABC. Travolta had a hit single titled "Let Her In", peaking at number 10 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in July 1976. In the next few years, he starred in The Boy in the Plastic Bubble and two of his most noted screen roles: Tony Manero in Saturday Night Fever and Danny Zuko in Grease; the films were among the most commercially successful pictures of the decade and catapulted Travolta to international stardom. Saturday Night Fever earned him an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor, making him, at age 24, one of the youngest performers nominated for the Best Actor Oscar.
His mother and his sister Ann appeared briefly in Saturday Night Fever and his sister Ellen played a waitress in Grease. Travolta performed several of the songs on the Grease soundtrack album. In 1980, Travolta inspired a nationwide country music craze that followed on the heels of his hit film Urban Cowboy, in which he starred with Debra Winger. After Urban Cowboy, Travolta starred in a series of commercial and critical failures that sidelined his acting career; these included Two of a Kind, a romantic comedy reteaming him with Olivia Newton-John, Perfect, co-starring Jamie Lee Curtis. He starred in Staying Alive, the 1983 sequel to Saturday Night Fever, for which he trained rigorously and lost 20 pounds. During that time Travolta was offered, but declined, lead roles in what would become box-office hits, including American Gigolo and An Officer and a Gentleman, both of which went to Richard Gere. In 1989, Travolta starred with Kirstie Alley in Look Who's Talking, which grossed $297 million making it his most successful film since Grease.
Next came Look Who's Talking Too and Look Who's Talking Now but it was not until he played Vincent Vega in Quentin Tarantino's hit Pulp Fiction, for which he received an Academy Award nomination, that his career revived. The movie shifted him back onto the A-list, he was inundated with offers. Notable roles following Pulp Fiction include a movie-buff loan shark in Get Shorty, a corrupt US air force pilot in Broken Arrow, an FBI agent and terrorist in Face/Off, a desperate attorney in A Civil Action, a Bill Clinton-esque presidential candidate in Primary Colors, a military investigator in The General's Daughter. In 2000, Travolta starred in and co-produced the science fiction film Battlefield Earth, based on the novel of the same name by L. Ron Hubbard, in which he played the leader of a group of aliens that enslaves humanity on a bleak future Earth; the film had been a dream project for Travolta since the book's release in 1982, when Hubbard had written him to try to
Evita (1996 film)
Evita is a 1996 American musical drama film based on the 1976 concept album of the same name produced by Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber, which inspired a 1978 musical. The film depicts the life of Eva Perón, detailing her beginnings, rise to fame, political career and death at the age of 33. Directed by Alan Parker, written by Parker and Oliver Stone, Evita stars Madonna as Eva, Jonathan Pryce as Eva's husband Juan Perón, Antonio Banderas as Ché, an everyman who acts as the film's narrator. Following the release of the 1976 album, a film adaptation of the musical became mired in development hell for more than fifteen years, as the rights were passed on to several major studios, various directors and actors considered. In 1993, producer Robert Stigwood sold the rights to Andrew G. Vajna, who agreed to finance the film through his production company Cinergi Pictures, with the Walt Disney Studios distributing the film through Hollywood Pictures. After Stone stepped down from the project in 1994, Parker agreed to direct the film.
Recording sessions for the songs and soundtrack took place at CTS Studios in London, England four months before filming. Parker worked with Rice and Lloyd Webber to compose the soundtrack, reworking the original songs by creating the music first and the lyrics, they wrote a new song, "You Must Love Me", for the film. Principal photography commenced in February 1996 with a budget of $55 million, concluded in May of that year. Filming took place on locations in Buenos Aires and Budapest, on soundstages at Shepperton Studios; the film's production in Argentina was met with controversy, as the cast and crew faced protests over fears that the project would tarnish Eva's image. Evita premiered at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, California, on December 14, 1996. Hollywood Pictures gave the film a platform release, which involved releasing it in select cities before expanding distribution in the following weeks; the film had a limited release on December 25, 1996, before opening nationwide on January 10, 1997.
It grossed over $141 million worldwide. The film received a mixed critical response. Evita received many awards and nominations, including the Academy Award for Best Original Song, three Golden Globe Awards for Best Picture – Comedy or Musical, Best Original Song and Best Actress – Comedy or Musical. In a cinema in Buenos Aires on July 26, 1952, a film is interrupted when news breaks of the death of Eva Perón, Argentina's First Lady, at the age of 33; as the nation goes into public mourning, Ché, a member of the public, marvels at the spectacle and promises to show how Eva did "nothing, for years". The rest of the film follows Eva from her beginnings as an illegitimate child of a lower-class family to her rise to become First Lady and Spiritual Leader of the Nation of Argentina. At the age of 15, Eva lives in the provincial town of Junín, longs for a better life in Buenos Aires, she persuades a tango singer, Agustín Magaldi, with whom she is having an affair, to take her to the city. After Magaldi leaves her, she goes through several relationships with influential men, becoming a model and radio personality.
She meets Colonel Juan Perón at a fundraiser following the 1944 San Juan earthquake. Perón's connection with Eva adds to his populist image. Eva has a radio show during Perón's rise and uses all of her skills to promote him when the controlling administration has him jailed in an attempt to stunt his political momentum; the groundswell of support that Eva generates forces the government to release Perón, he finds the people enamored of him and Eva. Perón wins election to the presidency and marries Eva, who promises that the new government will serve the descamisados. At the start of the Perón government, Eva dresses glamorously, enjoying the privileges of being the First Lady. Soon after, she embarks on. While there, she receives a mixed reception; the people of Spain adore her, the people of Italy call her a whore and throw things at her, Pope Pius XII gives her a small, meager gift. Upon returning to Argentina, Eva establishes a foundation to help the poor; the film suggests. Eva learns that she has terminal cancer.
She declines the position of Vice President due to her failing health, makes one final broadcast to the people of Argentina. She understands that her life was short because she shone like the "brightest fire", helps Perón prepare to go on without her. A large crowd surrounds the Casa Rosada in a candlelight vigil praying for her recovery when the light of her room goes out, signifying her death. At Eva's funeral, Ché is seen at her coffin, he walks up to her glass coffin, kisses it, joins the crowd of passing mourners. Cast taken from Turner Classic Movies listing of Evita. Following the release of Evita, a sung-through concept album by Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber detailing the life of Eva Perón, director Alan Parker met with their manager David Land, asking if Rice and Lloyd Webber had thought of making a film version, he understood that they were more interested in creating a stage version with the album's original lyrics. The original West End theatre production of Evita opened at the Prince Edward Theatre on June 21, 1978, closed on February 18, 1986.
The subsequent Broadway production opened at the Broadway Theatre on September 25, 1979, clos
Robin McLaurin Williams was an American actor and comedian. Born in Chicago, Williams began performing stand-up comedy in San Francisco and Los Angeles during the mid-1970s, is credited with leading San Francisco's comedy renaissance. After rising to fame playing the alien Mork in the sitcom Mork & Mindy, Williams established a career in both stand-up comedy and feature film acting, he was known for his improvisation skills and the wide variety of memorable character voices he created. Williams has been called the funniest person of all time. After his first starring film role in Popeye, Williams starred in numerous films that achieved critical and commercial success, including The World According to Garp, Moscow on the Hudson, Good Morning, Dead Poets Society, Aladdin, The Fisher King, One Hour Photo and World's Greatest Dad, as well as box office hits, such as Hook, Mrs. Doubtfire, The Birdcage, Good Will Hunting and the Night at the Museum trilogy. Williams was nominated four times for the Academy Awards, winning once for Best Supporting Actor for his performance as psychologist Sean Maguire in Good Will Hunting.
He received two Primetime Emmy Awards, seven Golden Globe Awards, two Screen Actors Guild Awards, four Grammy Awards. On August 11, 2014, Williams committed suicide in his Paradise Cay, home at the age of 63, his wife attributed his suicide to his struggle with Lewy body disease. Robin McLaurin Williams was born at St. Luke's Hospital in Chicago, Illinois, on July 21, 1951, his father, Robert Fitzgerald Williams, was a senior executive in Ford Motor Company's Lincoln-Mercury Division. His mother, Laurie McLaurin, was a former model from Mississippi. Through her, he was a great-great-grandson of Mississippi governor Anselm J. McLaurin. Williams had two elder half-brothers, he had English, Welsh, Irish and German ancestry. While his mother was a practitioner of Christian Science, Williams was raised in the Episcopal Church his father belonged to. Williams wrote a list: "Top Ten Reasons to Be an Episcopalian". During a television interview on Inside the Actors Studio in 2001, Williams credited his mother as an important early influence on his humor, he tried to make her laugh to gain attention.
Williams attended public elementary school in Lake Forest at Gorton Elementary School and middle school at Deer Path Junior High School. He described himself as a quiet child who did not overcome his shyness until he became involved with his high school drama department, his friends recall him as funny. In late 1963, when Williams was 12, his father was transferred to Detroit; the family lived in a 40-room farmhouse on 20 acres in suburban Bloomfield Hills, where he was a student at the private Detroit Country Day School. He excelled in school, where he was on the school's soccer team and wrestling team, was elected class president; as both his parents worked, Williams was attended to by the family's maid, his main companion. When Williams was 16, his father took early retirement and the family moved to Marin County, settling in Tiburon, California. Following their move, Williams attended Redwood High School in nearby Larkspur. At the time of his graduation in 1969, he was voted "Most Likely Not to Succeed" and "Funniest" by his classmates.
After high school graduation, Williams enrolled at Claremont Men's College in Claremont, California, to study political science. Williams studied theatre for three years at the College of Marin, a community college in Kentfield, California. According to College of Marin's drama professor James Dunn, the depth of the young actor's talent became evident when he was cast in the musical Oliver! as Fagin. Williams improvised during his time in the drama program, leaving cast members in hysterics. Dunn called his wife after one late rehearsal to tell her that Williams "was going to be something special". In 1973, Williams attained a full scholarship to the Juilliard School in New York City, he was one of 20 students accepted into the freshman class and one of two accepted by John Houseman into the Advanced Program at the school that year. William Hurt and Mandy Patinkin were classmates. According to biographer Jean Dorsinville, Franklyn Seales and Williams were roommates at Juilliard. Reeve remembered his first impression of Williams when they were new students at Juilliard: He wore tie-dyed shirts with tracksuit bottoms and talked a mile a minute.
I'd never seen. He was like an untied balloon, inflated and released. I watched in awe as he caromed off the walls of the classrooms and hallways. To say that he was "on" would be a major understatement. 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. According to Reeve, Skinner was bewildered by Williams, who could perform in many accents, including Scottish, English and Italian, their primary acting teacher was Michael Kahn, "equally baffled by this human dynamo". Williams had a reputation for being funny, but Kahn criticized his antics as simple stand-up comedy. In a production, Williams silenced his critics with his well-received performance as an old man in The Night of the Iguana by Tennessee Williams. "He was the old man," wrote Reeve. "I was astonished by h