The Robin Williams Legacy of Laughter Award is going to the Smith family this year, honoring Will Smith and his family for their "longstanding contributions to the world." Following Williams' death in 2014, his children Zak, Zelda, and Cody have been working with Glenn Close and Change to Mind, a non-profit working to end the stigma surrounding mental illness. Every year, they've given the Robin Williams Legacy of Laughter Award to "an individual in entertainment we feel embodies the best sparks of Dad, still living and bringing joy."
In a video posted to Smith's YouTube account, Zak Williams can be seen speaking about the award, revealing the group's decision to honor Will Smith and his family this year. "As family that gets asked about the word legacy a lot, we decided that this year that we'd like to honor one that was being built with kindness, unity, and love right in front of us," Zak explains. "This year, we wanted to honor the entire Smith family, as individuals and as a whole, for their long-standing and continued contributions to the world. You've held groundbreaking, open discussions about important topics like family, career, and mental health in a world that often expects silence from its most visible citizens."
Williams adds, "Your charitable acts are many and varied, from feeding the homeless, helping inner-city youth programs, fighting AIDS in South Africa, and bringing safe water to those who need it most. And while doing all that, you still manage to entertain millions with your talents through your films, through your talk show, through music, laughter, and your clear and vibrant family bond."
Will also films the Smith family's reaction to the honor, gathering wife Jada, son Trey, and daughter Willow. Jaden appears remotely on Will's cell phone via FaceTime, as he's awaiting COVID-19 test results. "From one genie family to another, it's one of the great joys for us as a family - and a FaceTime - to accept the Robin Williams Legacy of Laughter Award, using laughter as a force for good, as a family," Will says, referring to his role as the Genie in Disney's live-action Aladdin remake. Williams famously voiced the animated version of the character in the original movie.
The family also named some of their favorite movies from Williams that got a lot of play in the Smith household, such as Flubber, Jumanji, and Mrs. Doubtfire. "That's crazy that he's impacted our lives generationally. All of us have been impacted by Robin," Jada says of the late actor.
In 2014, Robin Williams died by suicide at the age of 63, with his death attributed to his struggle with Lewy body dementia. On the sixth anniversary of his passing in August, Zak wrote a tribute post on Instagram for his father, vowing to "continue to fight for what's good in the world, for peace, and for connecting people instead of tearing them apart." Zelda also took to social media to provide a lengthy list of resources for anyone in crisis to reach out and seek help. This news comes to us from Will Smith on YouTube.