Will Smith and His Family Said Robin Williams ‘Impacted Our Lives Generationally.’ Here’s How

Robin Williams had a tremendous impact on Will Smith, his wife Jada Pinkett Smith, and their children

On Monday, October 5, 2020, the Smith family was honored with an award presented by Williams’ three children- Zelda, Cody, and Zak. The award, titled the Robin Williams Legacy of Laughter Award, is given annually through Bring Change to Mind, a non-profit organization that works to end the stigma that comes with mental illness. 

Before his death in 2014, Williams battled depression and addiction

Trey Smith, Jada Pinkett Smith, Willow Smith and Will Smith| Rodin Eckenroth/WireImage

Will Smith said Robin Williams gave his family ‘a lot of laughter’

Although they couldn’t gather to accept their award directly from Williams’ children, the Smith family took time out of their schedules to share how much the honor means to them. During the family’s acceptance speech, Will said that Williams played a role in each member of the family’s lives, per People. He reflected on some of Williams’ past work and shared how it was positive for him, Jada, Trey Smith, Jaden Smith, and Willow Smith. The family mentioned some of Williams’ iconic world, including Mrs. DoubtfireJumanjiFlubber, and Mork & Mindy.

Related: Why Will Smith And Jada Pinkett Smith Reportedly ‘Shielded’ Their Children From Their Marriage Problems

“There’s been a lot of laughter in this house because of Robin Williams,” Will said. 

Jada also shared how Williams was present as each member of the family got older. Throughout his long-standing career, Jada said she and her children all have a memory of Williams that was a part of them growing up. 

“That’s crazy that he’s impacted our lives generationally. All of us have been impacted by Robin,” Jada shared. 

Will Smith said he wanted his Genie character in ‘Aladdin’ to be an ‘homage’ to Robin Williams

During the Bring Change to Mind event, Zak Williams introduced the Smiths with their award. While honoring Will, he mentioned how he and Williams share something that will bond them forever. In 2018, it was announced that Will would play the role of the Genie in Disney’s live-action version of Aladdin. Genie was a role that Williams played in the 1995 animated feature. 

Related: Will Smith Revealed What His Career Would Currently Be If Acting Hadn’t Worked Out

Will spoke to Entertainment Weekly about taking over the role that was made famous by Williams. He admitted the late comedian didn’t “leave any meat” on the character for him to emulate, and he knew he had to make the role his own. Will said that it made it easier for him not to depend solely on Williams’ character for inspiration because it was a live-action movie. 

“The Genie is timeless; you get to really say and do anything, so I started to feel confident that I could deliver something that was an homage to Robin Willians but was musically different,” Will said. “And just the flavor of the character would be different enough and unique enough that it would be in a different lane versus trying to compete.” 

Will Smith considers Robin Williams to be a ‘master of human connection’ 

While accepting their award, the Smith family also praised Williams for always making the people around him feel special while he was alive. Although they were being recognized for the work they’ve done through acting, music, their show, Red Table Talk, social media, etc., Will also pointed out how Williams’ impact on others is a large part of his legacy six years after his death. 

Related: Why Will Smith And Jada Pinkett Smith Reportedly ‘Shielded’ Their Children From Their Marriage Problems

“Robin Williams was an absolute master at human connection,” Will shared. “He wanted you to laugh. It’s almost like he needed you to laugh, and however brief the moment was, he was always scanning for what is the interaction that the two of you could have that would be memorable and magical.”