Robin Williams—The $5B man at the box office

Robin Williams leaves behind a legacy of Hollywood success that spanned decades and generated billions of dollars.

The actor-comedian's movies, which included his Oscar-winning role in "Good Will Hunting," and Golden Globe awards for "Good Morning, Vietnam," "The Fisher King" and "Mrs. Doubtfire," have grossed $3.2 billion in U.S. box office sales, according to the number-crunching website Box Office Mojo. Worldwide his films pulled in $5.2 billion. (The numbers are not adjusted for inflation).

"There's only a few I can think of who can so nimbly step back and forth between drama and comedy like Robin Williams did," film critic Richard Roeper told CNBC on Tuesday.

"The first actor who comes to mind is Tom Hanks, one of the great actors of all time," he continued in a "Squawk Box" interview. "But the distinction where Robin Williams has even one more amazing ability, Tom Hanks was never a stand-up comic."

The impact of Williams at the box office is not only about his past movies. He had wrapped up shooting on a couple films scheduled for release later this year. He reprised his role as Teddy Roosevelt in Fox's "Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb," the third film in that franchise due out Dec 19. He co-starred in another upcoming movie called "Merry Friggin Christmas" with Candice Bergen, which is set for release in November.

A sequel to the 1993 hit "Mrs. Doubtfire," which made $441 million worldwide, was planned but Fox had not started production.

He also made his mark as a stand-up comedian and a television star. He landed on the scene in ABC's "Mork and Mindy," which aired from 1978 to 1982. He became a comedic icon with signature improvisations and rapid switching between different characters.

"Williams was really the comic ... who took us out of the Nixon era. The guy came out and he was this bundle of energy with enormous intelligence," said MovieCityNews.com Editor David Poland.

"Robin Williams in addition to the sitcoms, in addition to the iconic comedies, in addition to dramas like 'One Hour Photo,' he was one of the top stand-up comics. He'd be on the 'Mount Rushmore' of stand-up comics with Richard Pryor and George Carlin," Roeper agreed.

Most recently, Williams had starred in "The Crazy Ones" on CBS, which was canceled after one season.

The apparent suicide of Williams on Monday at age 63 has been met with an outpouring of grief around the world from entertainment industry giants, like Disney CEO Bob Iger and filmmaker J.J. Abrams, to President Barack Obama to Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, who praised him for his work entertaining the troops.

Tributes to Williams have flooded Twitter and other social media services since news of his death was reported Monday evening. Billy Crystal tweeted overnight: "No words." On its Facebook page, "Sesame Street" wrote: "We mourn the loss of our friend Robin Williams, who always made us laugh and smile."

Read MoreRIP Robin Williams: Tributes flood Twittersphere

Williams appealed to fans of all ages. "Many millennials on Twitter were [also] remembering him for his roles in such roles as ... 'Jumanji' and 'Hook,'" Variety Film Editor Ramin Setoodeh told CNBC.

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—By CNBC's Julia Boorstin and Matthew J. Belvedere



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