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Robin Williams Once Got So Upset With Disney That The Company Sent Him A $1 Million Picasso Peace Offering

Published by Business Insider on Sun, 23 Nov 2014


In 1992, Disney's animated feature "Aladdin" raked in a whopping $504 million worldwide.Part of the film's success was due to Robin Williams' beloved genie character, whomthe late actor voiced and improvised so well that Disney decided to make Genie a pivotal role.Williamsended up recording about 30 hours of written and improvised dialogue for "Aladdin" because, according to a 1993 interview with New York Magazine, he "wanted to leave something wonderful behind for his kids."So Williams took a hefty pay cut and agreed to be paid $75,000 for his work on the Disney film instead of his usual fee of about $8 million ' but there was a catch. Williams did not want his voice used to merchandise products."I don't want to sell stuff," Williams later told New York magazine. "It's the one thing I don't do.""We had a deal," the actor later said on the "Today Show." "The one thing I said was I will do the voice. I'm doing it basically because I want to be part of this animation tradition. I want something for my children. One deal is, I just don't want to sell anything 'as in Burger King, as in toys, as in stuff."Williams said Disney execs signed off on the deal, "Then all of a sudden, they release an advertisement 'one part was the movie, the second part was where they used the movie to sell stuff. Not only did they use my voice, they took a character I did and overdubbed it to sell stuff. That was the one thing I said: 'I don't do that.' That was the one thing where they crossed the line."Disney initially defended using Williams' voice, saying,"He agreed to the deal, and then when the movie turned out to be a big hit, he didn't like the deal he had made." But the studio quickly changed its tune and sent the actor an apology in the form of a Pablo Picasso painting estimated at the time to be worth $1 million, according to artnet.The painting was a self-portrait of the artist as Vincent van Gogh, which apparently really "clashed" with the Williams' wilder home decor.Williams' friend and fellow actor Eric Idle even suggested Williams go on TV and burn the Picasso live as a form of protest.Williams told New York mag that his previous "Mork & Mindy" merchandising was different because, "the image is theirs. But the voice, that's me; I gave them myself. When it happened, I said, 'You know I don't do that.' And they [Disney] apologized; they said it was done by other people."You realize now when you work for Disney why the mouse has only four fingers 'because he can't pick up a check," he joked to the magazine.Ultimately,Disney and Williams made up, later making a third "Aladdin"sequel (he sat the second one out), 1996's "Jack," and "Bicentennial Man" in 1999.When Williams died this August, Disney sent a final peace offering:"He was a true Disney Legend, a beloved member of our family, and he will be sorely missed." http://t.co/yNcHF3AVC5 http://t.co/lJnzbQuI6X' Disney (@Disney) August 12, 2014SEE ALSO:Disney Has Been Hiding A Secret Message In Its Movies For YearsJoin the conversation about this story
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