updated 08:14 pm EDT, Tue August 12, 2014
Comic legend offered the original voice to the 'Your Verse' campaign
[Updated with addition of feature spot on the main Apple website] The death of actor and comic Robin Williams has spawned a dedicated section at the iTunes Store where fans can find various movies, specials and other performances from the widely-loved actor and comedian. Among the offerings are both videos and audio-only appearances, celebrating the diversity of his career along with a brief biographical note. Apple CEO Tim Cook and Nest CEO Tony Fadell were among the luminaries that remembered Williams in tweets on Monday.
Williams' role in the movie Dead Poets Society served as inspiration for Apple's current iPad campaign, "Your Verse." The series of ads, which showcase productive and recreational uses for the table that go beyond just personal consumption to assist users in making their contribution to the world is drawn from the message of the film, in which Williams' instructor character John Keating exhorts his students to look beyond the words and books and into their meaning in enriching their own lives.
"Of the questions of these recurring; Of the endless trains of the faithless; Of cities filled with the foolish; What good amid these, O me, O life," he recites from poet Walt Whitman. "Answer. That you are here; That life exists and identity; That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse." The first of the "Your Verse" commercials used this monologue to illustrate one of Apple's key credos; that its products are designed to enhance and extend the capabilities of its users, and through them add something good to the world.
Referenced in Cook's tweet was one of Williams' lesser-known sides as an anchor for the US version of Comic Relief, and that he was "a generous philanthropist who performed with the USO for troops stationed overseas, and worked passionately for a variety of organizations" including St. Jude Children's Hospital, notes the iTunes page.
Among the films recommended from the page are the Terry Gilliam film The Fisher King in which Williams portrays a homeless man; the comedy Mrs. Doubtfire; the dramas What Dreams May Come and One Hour Photo, in which Williams extended his dramatic range; his guest-star turns as Teddy Roosevelt in Ben Stillers' Night at the Museum franchise (Williams reprised the role for the forthcoming third installment, due out later this year), and some of his most recent TV work in the series "The Crazy Ones," whose title is obviously inspired by the iconic Steve Jobs "mission statement" commercial.
In the show, Williams plays an unorthodox ad executive who relies on his sensible daughter to keep him in check. Some of his other well-regarded work, including his comedy album Reality, What a Concept and episodes of the TV series "Mork and Mindy" in which he made his name, are not currently available.
Heartbroken by the news of Robin Williams' passing. He was an incomparable talent and a great human being. Rest in peace.- Tim Cook (@tim_cook) August 12, 2014
[Update] Apple has since added a picture of Williams and a like to a tribute page to its main site as well. The link contains a photo of the late comic, and a short quote from Apple that reads: "We are deeply saddened by the passing of Robin Williams. He inspired us through his passion, his generosity, and the gift of laughter. He will be greatly missed."
In reaction to Cook's tweet, a former Apple retail employee replied that he had worked with Williams numerous times, calling him "a loyal Apple customer" and describing Williams thusly: "regardless of his fame, he was one of the most generous, friendly, kind-hearted and sweet people I had the pleasure of working with during my tenure there," a sentiment echoed widely by people who encountered him on film locations, at comedy clubs and in other more everyday situations.