'He was such a gift': TODAY family remembers the laughter Robin Williams brought to the show

Every Robin Williams appearance on TODAY over the decades was a memorable one, full of the frenetic and hilarious energy that was his calling card. But as the TODAY family mourns his death along with the rest of the world, we also remember a friend and the comedic genius he shared both on set and behind the scenes.

He loved to run around the TODAY plaza, high-fiving the crowd, long after the cameras had turned off.

On set, he always introduced himself to people backstage, asking them about themselves — before cracking them up to the point of tears.

From Mork to Mrs. Doubtfire, Robin Williams seized the day

Williams lit up the TODAY studio with every visit, each appearance considered a gift that the TODAY family couldn’t wait to open. His humor ran from wild to wicked. Here’s a look at some of his memorable appearances on TODAY.

With Matt Lauer: "You love me? I love you! I love you big time!"

With former anchor Katie Couric: “A gynecologist who’s a magician? Wouldn’t that be a little frightening?" Pause. "Oh look, a dove!” 

Joking about Couric's charitable cause, colon-cancer screening:

"We'll be back with a live colon cam! Katie?" Williams said, turning back to Couric.

"That would really hurt, Robin!" she replied.

"We're doing the IMAX shot," he explained.

Poking fun at the iconic Willard Scott and his birthday celebrations: "Right now here's Willard. 'Ms. Simmons is 114. ... Oops, we're a little late with the call."

Robin Williams leaves touching look at his life and legacy on Instagram

Explaining to Al Roker why he can make fun of his own hairiness: "I have to. I mean, I have actually gone to the zoo and had monkeys come up in a cage and go, 'What am I doing in here? ... I’m in here and you’re walking around?"

"He was such a gift and so extraordinary," said Natalie Morales, who later described learning about the death as "a gut punch."

Kathie Lee Gifford described the pure pleasure Williams brought to the TODAY crew every time he stepped foot in the studio.

"He was so gracious to everybody," she said. "There was this profound sense of sadness when he’d leave, because he was so joyful.” 

WATCH: Kathie Lee says Williams was 'universally beloved'

The TODAY family mourns a future without Williams as a guest, but mostly, we will miss a good friend.

  • Slideshow Photos

    Anonymous / ABC

    Robin Williams, 1951-2014

    "Na-nu Na-nu" and "O Captain, my Captain": Robin Williams will best be remembered by the characters he played and lines he delivered.

  • Robin Williams, 1951-2014

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    "Mork and Mindy" -

    "I am Mork from Ork, na-nu na-nu." Robin Williams' breakout role was as happy alien Mork on the TV show "Mork and Mindy," a spin-off of "Happy Days." He played Mork, and is seen sitting on set here in April 1978.

    ABC via AP / ABC via AP
  • MORK & MINDY, Robin Williams, Pam Dawber, 1978-82, © Paramount Television / Courtesy: Everett Collec

    Robin Williams, 1951-2014

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    Forever a funnyman -

    Williams' Mork and Pam Dawber's Mindy were one of the most unlikely super-couples of the 1970s. They even eventually had a child, Mearth -- hatched from an egg laid by Mork and played by veteran funnyman Jonathan Winters.

    ©Paramount Television/Courtesy / Â©Paramount Television/Courtesy
  • DEAD POETS SOCIETY, Robin Williams, 1989

    Robin Williams, 1951-2014

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    "Dead Poets Society" -

    In "Dead Poets Society," Williams played English teacher John Keating, who dared his class to take risks and break out of the molds their families may have put them in. He encouraged his students to call him "O Captain! My Captain!"

    Courtesy Everett Collection / Courtesy Everett Collection
  • Image: Robin Williams In 'Mrs. Doubtfire'

    Robin Williams, 1951-2014

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    "Mrs. Doubtfire" -

    Robin Williams played the title role in "Mrs. Doubtfire." In a TODAY interview at the time, Robin Williams told Gene Shalit that creating his character had a lot to do with the makeup he wore. In April 2014, there were reports that Williams would reprise his role in a sequel.

    20th Century-Fox via Getty Images / 20th Century-Fox via Getty Images
  • Image: GOOD WILL HUNTING, Matt Damon, Robin Williams, 1997, (c) Miramax/courtesy Everett Collection

    Robin Williams, 1951-2014

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    "Good Will Hunting" -

    Williams, right, next to Matt Damon, won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor in 1998 for his role in "Good Will Hunting."

    Miramax/Courtesy Everett Collection / Miramax/Courtesy Everett Collection
  • Image: ROBIN WILLIAMS IN JUMANI

    Robin Williams, 1951-2014

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    "Jumanji" -

    In the 1995 fantasy-adventure film "Jumanji," Williams is chased by a lion, fights off giant spiders and is sucked into quicksand-like floorboards.

    Getty Images / Getty Images
  • Robin Williams, Ben Stiller

    Robin Williams, 1951-2014

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    "Night at the Museum" -

    Williams played President Teddy Roosevelt in the "Night at the Museum" trilogy. He finished shooting the third film, "Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb" earlier this year. It's set to be released Dec. 19.

    Twentieth Century Fox via AP / Twentieth Century Fox via AP
  • FLUBBER, Robin Williams, 1997, © Buena Vista/courtesy Everett Collection

    Robin Williams, 1951-2014

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    'Flubber' -

    In 1997's "Flubber," a remake of the 1961 Disney comedy "The Absent-Minded Professor," Williams played a professor with an ingenious, if trouble-prone, invention.

    Buena Vista Pictures/Courtesy Everett Collection / Buena Vista Pictures/Courtesy Everett Collection
  • HOOK, Robin Williams, Dustin Hoffman, 1991

    Robin Williams, 1951-2014

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    'Hook' -

    In the 1991 Steven Spielberg movie "Hook," Williams played a lawyer who must reclaim his past as Peter Pan, with Dustin Hoffman as the menacing Captain Hook.

    TriStar Pictures/Courtesy Everett Collection / TriStar Pictures/Courtesy Everett Collection
  • ONE HOUR PHOTO, Robin Williams, 2002, TM & Copyright (c) 20th Century Fox Film Corp. All rights rese

    Robin Williams, 1951-2014

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    'One Hour Photo' -

    "One Hour Photo" may have been Williams' most surprising film. In the 2002 psychological thriller, the usually affable Williams portrays a disturbed photo clerk with a creepy secret.

    20th Century Fox / Courtesy Everett Collection / 20th Century Fox / Courtesy Everett Collection
  • ALADDIN, Genie, Aladdin, 1992. (c) Walt Disney/ Courtesy: Everett Collection.

    Robin Williams, 1951-2014

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    'Aladdin' -

    "Aladdin" was the title character, but it was Williams' comic Genie who stole the show in the 1992 Disney film.

    Walt Disney Co./Courtesy Everett Collection / Walt Disney Co./Courtesy Everett Collection
  • GOOD MORNING VIETNAM, Robin Williams, 1987

    Robin Williams, 1951-2014

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    'Good Morning Vietnam' -

    The DJ Williams played in 1987's "Good Morning Vietnam" was based on a real Vietnam War soldier, but much of Williams' radio banter in the film was improvised by the actor himself.

    Touchstone Pictures/Courtesy Everett Collection / Touchstone Pictures/Courtesy Everett Collection
  • Robin Williams, 1951-2014

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    'The Crazy Ones' -

    Williams starred with Sarah Michelle Gellar on the sitcom "The Crazy Ones," which ran from 2013-2014 before being canceled. Williams played an eccentric ad executive and Gellar his daughter.

    AP / AP
  • Robin Williams, 1951-2014

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    'Popeye' -

    Williams was strong to the finish, 'cause he eats his spinach, when he played the iconic comic-strip tough-guy in the 1980 big-screen version of "Popeye."

    AP / AP

Follow TODAY.com writer Eun Kyung Kim on Google+ or on Twitter.

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