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Robin Williams Opens Up About Returning To TV, His Career, Battling Addictions

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LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — After a more than 30 year absence, Oscar-winner Robin Williams is returning to series television.

The zany actor who catapulted to stardom on the ABC sitcom “Mork & Mindy” (a “Happy Days” spinoff in which he played a wacky space alien from 1978-82) has come back to TV in a CBS sitcom called “The Crazy Ones.”

Williams plays the owner of an ad agency who tries to get his straight-laced daughter (Sarah Michelle Gellar) to think a little more out-of-the-box.

As Pat Harvey found out while interviewing the actor, thinking out of the box is not out of the ordinary for him.

Willams has been entertaining audiences for close to 40 years.

“It’s good to have a steady job,” Williams quips, “If it’s not TV, it’s an independent film or you’re on the road.” He laughs, “You know, where your trailer is 14 miles away from (your location) and you’re shooting under water.”

The landscape of TV has changed a bit since Williams first appeared on the small screen.

“It’s weird being back on TV,” he says, candidly.

About  “Mork & Mindy” he remembers, “We didn’t even have a pilot. Paramount had a deal with ABC and they had to put us on the TV. And there were three [only] networks.”

After the series ended, he established himself on the big screen. In many of those movies, Williams played dramatic roles.

Juggling drama and comedy for years, he won the aforementioned Oscar (best supporting for “Good Will Hunting”) and four Golden Globes. He also has two Emmys for his work in TV.

“There were many ideas for dramatic pieces [on TV] but no one ever came with the idea for a series,” Williams says, about his long-awaited return.

That was before David E. Kelley — the prolific creator of “Ally McBeal,” “The Practice,” “Picket Fences” and “Chicago Hope” to name a few — came calling.

Williams, 62, is the proud father of three and “The Crazy Ones,” he says, imitates life in that he is proud of his own kids — a daughter and two sons — and very close to them.

Comedy has always gotten Williams through the tough times, he told Harvey.

“There is no stand-up tragedy,” he says, “Comedy can cut through anything.”

Sobriety has matured Williams and made him able to participate in what he calls “the now.”

“I’ve done the research on playing an alcoholic,” he says, adding he’s been sober for seven years.

Of his blackouts, he jokingly says “it was more like sleep walking with activities. But I am more focused, more present. When I was doing ‘Mork & Mindy’ I was on just about everything but skates.'”

“The Crazy Ones” airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. on CBS2.

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