Robin William's Lookalike Daughter Zelda Is Following In His Footsteps
Feb 02, 2021 by apost team
Seven years ago, news that the beloved actor Robin Williams had taken his own life sent the whole world into mourning. While the renowned comedian might be gone, his legacy lives on through his children, Zachary Pym "Zak," 37, Cody Alan, 29, and his only daughter Zelda Rae, 31.
Now all grown up, Zelda Rae Williams is following in her father's footsteps and is a rising star in Hollywood, working as an actor, producer, director, and writer. We're taking a look at her remarkable life, career, and creative projects.
The daughter of a comedic legend, Zelda Williams isn't oblivious to the enormous shoes she had to fill when she first began working in Hollywood. That fact on its own had her realize early on that if she were going to make it, she would do it by forging her own path.
"I think everyone thinks that when kids want to become actors, they are trying to usurp their parents," she told E! Online in 2017.
Sort of counterintuitively, she always knew that, unlike her father, she wasn't interested in comedy. Robin Williams' career took off with his role as Mork in the '70s sitcom Mork & Mindy, before he went on to star in many comedic movies and was famed for his improvisational skills.
"If your dad was the first person on the moon, you don't go, 'I am going to be the first person on the moon a second time.' What would be the point?" she told E! Online.
But while the 31-year-old wasn't trying to do the same thing as her father, that doesn't mean the pair didn't end up working together. Zelda Williams made her debut on the big screen at just 15 years old, starring alongside her famous father in the 2004 comedic drama, House of D. Speaking of her experience working in Hollywood as a teenager, she said she struggled to fit in in the beginning, as told to E! Online.
"I was just a difficult kid," she says. "It's not even the sense that it was contingent on me being a woman, I just didn't fit in. I guess even more than that, I didn't inhabit what a lot of people expected of me as a woman—for example, I had a shaved head for a time."
And as the kid of such a famous, established actor, she could feel the pressure to prove herself to be a worthy actress in her own name. "A lot of actor's kids are really beautiful models and I wasn't that. I was really awkward and short and had this low voice. I didn't fit what they expected of me as a child of an actor," Zelda Williams said.Robin Williams (circa 1999), (Photo by Harry Langdon/Getty Images)
Having dabbled in acting and working alongside her father, as she's grown up Zelda Williams has opted to focus on another side of the industry and what she loves most—writing. The 31-year-old made her debut as a writer, director, and producer in 2018 with the short film Shrimp, which premiered that same year at the Tribeca Film Festival. She told E! Online that unsettling the audience with new ideas is what she loved the most, which led her into delving into the world of horror and psychological thrillers.
Shrimp revolves around a group of dominatrixes in Los Angeles, but rather than taking a salacious look at the topic, which is often how the world is portrayed in film and television, Williams looked at the rather mundane aspects of the job and the ordinary lives that they have outside of work. In an interview with Variety, she explained:
“When I embarked on creating ‘Shrimp’ a couple of years ago, I never could’ve imagined where this journey would take me, or the wonderful people I’d come to know along the way. I’m truly ecstatic to have the opportunity to shine a more positive, honest light on this community than has previously been afforded it by Hollywood, especially as their mastery of consent is something I think many people right now could learn from.”
The short film's success has earned Williams a deal with the production company Gunpowder and Sky to develop her short into a 30-minute series. The CEO of the production company, Van Toffler, told Variety, as reported in the same article:
Robin Williams (2006), (Photo by Peter Kramer/Getty Images)
“We were really drawn to ‘Shrimp’ because Zelda was able to take a generally taboo topic, turn it on its head and tap into the day-to-day happenings of the dominatrix community and tell their story in an authentic way."
She was also lucky to receive some of the best advice with regards to acting from her late dad, Robin Williams. In a 2018 interview with Entertainment Tonight, she spoke about the acting advice her father passed on to her:
"As an actor it’s very different from the rest of it but it was always, you know, be kind, work very hard, and I think the concept of ego has kind of taken over for a lot of people in our industry where they think what they’re presenting has to be a particular thing for them. And truthfully, you’re not your audience so all that self-consciousness and all that—it gets in the way of you actually just being the best thing in whatever thing that you’re doing."
For many years, Zelda Williams admits she struggled to find work as an actress, something she thought was because of a lack of talent or attractiveness. That was until a mentor of hers told her that she wasn't the problem, but rather the industry for not casting women who were closer to reality. He helped her realize that she would have to write roles for herself. Zelda Williams took that advice to heart, as she not only wrote and directed Shrimp but she also acts in the short film too.
Considering her journey to becoming a filmmaker has taken some time to grow into, it looks like she really has taken that advice on board, as she started out solely acting but has since moved into a more creative role both behind and in front of the camera. It's also in her genes, as Robin Williams was more than just an actor and comedian, but he was also a writer and occasionally produced and directed movies and TV. Meanwhile, her mom Marsha Garces Williams is a film producer.
Having a father as famous and talented as Robin Williams might seem like a great thing and we're sure there were many positives, but it's obviously impacted Zelda Williams' path to finding her true calling. She admits it was quite the journey before she was able to show anyone her scripts. It wasn't until she met her idol, Guillermo Del Toro, when she plucked up the courage to finally pursue her dream.
"It was after Dad died, and I think my mom was the only one to have read my work," Zelda admitted. "I kind of turned around, and I never fangirl—because I have seen it around my dad and don't want to be like that, even though my dad was always so good about it—but I just said your movies meant a tremendous amount to me and I want to be a director."
And the rest, as they say, is history. Just like her dad, Zelda Williams is now making waves in Hollywood, albeit in a different way.Marsha Garces Williams, Zelda Williams, Robin Williams (1991), (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images)
Mimicking her parents' varied pursuits in the film industry, Zelda Williams is also keeping her path open. Since releasing Shrimp in 2018, she's worked on a number of new projects, splitting her time between directing and acting work. In 2019 she directed an episode of the series Dark/Web, while in 2020 she directed a movie titled Kappa Kappa Die. Both projects were in the horror genre, which Williams has expressed before that she's strongly interested in. She's also acted in the series Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
Now that we're up to date on Zelda Williams' burgeoning filmmaking career, let's take a look at her early years. Born on July 31, 1989, in New York City, she is the elder of Robin Williams and Marsha Garces Williams' two children. She has a younger brother Cody Williams, who was born in 1991, and a half-brother named Zak Williams, who was born in 1983, when Robin Williams was married to his first wife Valerie Velardi.
Her name is an ode to Princess Zelda from The Legend of Zelda video game series, as Robin Williams was a big fan. That interest runs in the family, with Zelda Williams also an avid player. In fact, the gaming franchise has even capitalized on the connection, with Zelda and Robin Williams appearing in a Nintendo 3DS commercial together in 2011, advertising The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D. Later that year she appeared in other press material for the gaming franchise and was even the special guest host at the London Zelda Symphony Concert that marked the series' 25th anniversary.Robin Williams, Zelda Williams (2003), (Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images)
Besides her interests in filmmaking and gaming, Zelda Williams has vocally supported charities over the years. She also makes it a point to honor Robin Williams whenever possible, by raising awareness for mental health or even making donations to important causes in his honor.
Other than her professional work, she keeps a low profile on social media, preferring the private life to one in the spotlight. While her career is only really taking off in the last few years, Zelda Williams appears to have a strong and positive foundation that's no doubt a result of her warm family life growing up, which is in part thanks to her beloved late father Robin Williams. As part of him lives on through her, it's very exciting to see where she'll go next in her career.
Do you think Zelda Williams is following in her dad’s footsteps to become a legend in Hollywood, just like Robin Williams? Let us know in the comments, and make sure you pass this along to your friends and family!
If you or anybody you know is struggling with thoughts of taking their own life, we urge you to visit befrienders.org to find your local suicide prevention hotline.