LAS VEGAS - MARCH 31:  Actor/comedian Robin Williams arrives at the premiere of "Monty Python's Spamalot" at The Grail Theater at the Wynn Las Vegas March 31, 2007 in Las Vegas, Nevada.  (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Movies - TV
Eddie Murphy's Success With Trading Places Was Worrying For Robin Williams
The general public wasn’t as obsessed with box-office returns in June 1983, so no one realized there was a battle between two comedies: John Landis' "Trading Places" featuring Eddie Murphy and Michael Ritchie's "The Survivors" with Robin Williams. Landis' film proved a hit with critics and audiences alike, while "The Survivors" was DOA.
According to Dave Itzkoff’s biography "Robin,” Williams felt “Murphy, in particular, seemed to be making the transition from television to movies so effortlessly, with an ease that eluded Robin. 'Eddie is ideal — he knows exactly what he does and how to get it out on film perfectly,' Robin said. 'I don't – I keep trying different things.'"
Williams’ sitcom “Mork & Mindy” had been canceled the previous year, only amplifying his anxiety — he needed a hit. His turn finally came in 1987 with his Oscar-nominated performance in Barry Levinson's blockbuster "Good Morning, Vietnam." Ironically, Williams' big-screen rise would roughly coincide with Murphy's first legit commercial stumble in 1989's "Harlem Nights."