Robin Williams immortalized for iconic South Beach role

Painting of comedian from 'Birdcage' on display at Carlyle

By Liane Morejon - Reporter

MIAMI BEACH, Fla. - Of all the roles comedian Robin Williams brought to life, perhaps his most memorable performance was one set and filmed in South Florida.

"The Birdcage," a 1996 comedy in which Williams co-starred with Nathan Lane, brought the energy of South Beach to the silver screen.

From the familiar scenery to the dialogue, South Beach almost served as a character in the movie about a gay couple (Williams and Lane) who pretend to be straight when the parents of their son's bride-to-be come to visit.

The film also transformed The Carlyle on Ocean Drive into a regular stop on local star tours.

"We always stop at this hotel and tell them that the movie with Robin Williams, 'The Birdcage,' was made totally down here," tour guide Calvin Zook told Local 10 News.

Williams' unforgettable portrayal of Armand Goldman, a gay dad forced to play it straight for his future daughter-in-law's parents (played by Gene Hackman and Diane Wiest), is now immortalized in the front window. A portrait of Williams was created just a few months ago.

"We did this one for the gay party this year," Havi Schanz, who painted the portrait, told Local 10.
The painting takes on a new meaning after Williams' death Monday at the age of 63. It will remain a permanent fixture at the hotel.

"Whenever passing of a good man goes down, he's held to some kind of legacy," fan Craig Somerford said. "And everybody knew he was happy when he filmed this movie, and let's hope he's happy on an afterlife."

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