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Top 10 Celeb Impersonations by Genie in Aladdin

VO: Rebecca Brayton WRITTEN BY: Garrett Alden
The man was quite the magical impressionist. For this list, we’ll be looking at the funniest and most spot-on impressions of celebrities performed by Robin Williams as Genie in the Disney film “Aladdin.” Our list includes Ed Sullivan, Peter Lorre, Groucho Marx, Robert De Niro, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and more! Join MsMojo as we count down our picks for the Top 10 Celebrity Impersonations By Robin Williams In Aladdin.

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Top 10 Celebrity Impersonations By Robin Williams In Aladdin

The man was quite the magical impressionist. Welcome to MsMojo, and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the top 10 celebrity impersonations by Robin Williams in “Aladdin.”

For this list, we’ll be looking at the funniest and most spot-on impressions of celebrities performed by Robin Williams as Genie in the Disney film “Aladdin.”

#10: Walter Brennan

Walter Brennan is probably virtually unknown by younger generations, but his influence is still felt today. The actor had a long career in Hollywood and is one of the few to have won three Oscars. However, his most enduring legacy is arguably popularizing the “old prospector” archetype. Every fictional old coot with missing teeth who claims “there’s gold in them there hills” can trace their roots to Brennan. Robin Williams embodies this figure during the “Prince Ali” song, when the Genie transforms into a doddering old man who claims that Aladdin confronted “hordes” of villains on horseback.

#9: Arsenio Hall

While he made a return to late night in the early 2010s, Arsenio Hall is best known for his talk show in the early 1990s. “The Arsenio Hall Show” appealed to younger demographics than its competitors and featured guests previously unseen on talk shows, making it a hit. One of its running gags was that a section of the audience, referred to as the “dog pound,” would stand and hoot or woof while pounding their fists. It’s this gesture that the Genie imitates after becoming excited that Aladdin finds a wish for him - transforming into a version of Hall while he does so.

#8: William F. Buckley Jr.

While political discourse on American television may seem like an institution today, one of its forerunners was conservative intellectual William F. Buckley Jr.. His appearances on talk shows and debates, in particular with liberal counterpart Gore Vidal, opened up the country to the idea of debating perspectives on-air. Buckley Jr. was famous for his distinct, some might say pretentious, transatlantic accent and use of uncommon or archaic words, and it’s these that Robin Williams imitates as the Genie; transforming into him both times when he has to explain the rules of his wish granting abilities.

#7: Ed Sullivan

Williams was a huge fan of “The Ed Sullivan Show” growing up, so it’s no surprise that he channeled the iconic TV personality in “Aladdin”. Mind you, he also impersonates other frequent guests of the show - including one we’ll come back to later, and puppeteer Señor Wences. But we had to give this spot to Williams’ impression of the show’s titular host. When Genie first introduces himself, he transforms into a caricature of Sullivan, emulating his voice and speech pattern. OK maybe he exaggerates a little bit, but that’s what makes it fun!

#6: Peter Lorre

Another actor whose work might not be known by the kids today, Asutro-Hungarian born Peter Lorre is famous for his “creepy foreign guy” archetype in film. Lorre’s distinctive pale face and accent often saw him typecast as a murderer or evil mastermind, although he did also do a stint on the other side of the law as detective Mr. Moto. Robin Williams imitates Lorre’s voice when Genie explains to Aladdin that he can’t bring people back from the dead - taking on the form of a zombie-like being only slightly more disturbing than some of Lorre’s actual characters.

#5: Groucho Marx

Arguably the most famous of comedic group the Marx Brothers, Groucho was renowned for his sly remarks and witty banter. Equally famed for his signature mustache and glasses, he and his brothers appeared in many early comedies, some of which are considered among the funniest of all time. Robin Williams impersonates Groucho’s usual clever, sarcastic voice and trademark appearance when telling Aladdin that he gets no refunds on his wishes, likely in reference to Groucho’s part in the film “A Night in Casablanca,” which saw him running a hotel.

#4: Robert De Niro

Famed for his roles as tough, no-nonsense characters and criminal types, Robert De Niro requires no introduction. Even so, Genie’s impersonation here is a bit blink-and-you’ll miss it, although still recognizable. When Aladdin seems ready to forgo the Genie’s wishes, Robin Williams responds in a New York accent reminiscent of De Niro’s iconic scene in “Taxi Driver.” While the animators don’t make him look like De Niro, as with the other impressions on our list, we feel that the bit takes enough inspiration from the scene for it to count.

#3: Arnold Schwarzenegger

One of the most famous action movie stars of all time, Arnold Schwarzenegger also has one of the most distinctive and imitated voices The Austrian actor’s accent and occasionally monotone delivery have made him a target of parody for decades, and Robin Williams was no slouch in that regard. When the Genie is listing off his strengths to Aladdin, the magical man transforms into a Schwarzenegger-like, muscular form and boasts of his impressive power to his new master. At least he didn’t go for the ultra-obvious “I’ll be back” quote.

#2: Rodney Dangerfield

Another frequent guest of “The Ed Sullivan Show”, referenced earlier in our list, Rodney Dangerfield was a comic and actor who practically embodied self-deprecating humor. Dangerfield’s act often featured him discussing how people make fun of him, while her made unnecessary adjustments to his tie. Robin Williams does his best Dangerfield when the Genie engages the magic carpet in a game of chess. Breaking the fourth wall to speak to the audience - just as if he were performing stand-up - he expresses disappointment that the Magic Carpet is kicking his butt. “No respect” I tell ya’.

#1: Jack Nicholson

One of the most nominated actors in Academy Award history, Jack Nicholson has had a distinguished career, lending his unmistakable talents to over 60 movies. He’s best known for his more manic roles, such as in “One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest” and “The Shining”. Genie takes on the actor’s appearance and mannerisms when he offers Aladdin advice on how to pursue Princess Jasmine - all while sporting Nicholson’s trademark grin and sunglasses. Complete with Nicholson’s halting, overly enunciated speech pattern, William’s impression is both hilarious and dead-on, making this an easy choice for number one on our list.

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