Robert Williams is the father of Sarah and Toby, the husband of Irene and the ex-husband of Linda Williams. He is a minor character in the franchise, and has brief appearances in various pieces of spin-off media. In the film, Robert is played by the late Scottish actor Christopher Malcolm.
Robert, a businessman, married an actress called Linda sometime prior to 1970. In either 1970 or 1971, their only child, Sarah, was born. Robert and Linda appeared to have a strong marriage throughout the 1970s, however cracks in their relationship started to appear in the early 1980s. Linda eventually left Robert to live with an actor called Jeremy.
In the wake of Linda's departure, Robert become especially close to his daughter, aware that she required additional support. He took a keen interest in her well-being, and never left her without kissing her goodbye.
Some time after his divorce from Linda, Robert remarried to a younger woman called Irene. Sarah disliked Irene, and Robert's decision to marry her put a strain on his relationship with his daughter. Robert and Irene had a son called Toby around 1985, and his arrival increased Sarah's resentment of what she perceived to be her father's 'new family.' Robert and Irene enjoyed an active social life, going out on most weekends to spend time alone together.
Robert generally adopted Irene's view-point on matters, and when Irene formed the impression Toby had stolen a friend's bike Robert agreed with his wife's conclusion and allowed her to punish him. Generally speaking Robert was passive and easy-going, usually willing to take the route least likely to create problems.
Role In The Film
Robert appears briefly at the start of the film, and is seen carrying Toby down the stairs as Sarah storms up to her room after arguing with Irene. Sarah ignores Robert's claim that he and Irene were worried about her, instead insisiting that she can't do anything right.
After listening to Irene's exasperation with Sarah's behaviour, Robert agrees to go up to Sarah's room to talk to her. Robert makes a half-hearted attempt to talk to Sarah, but she proves uncooperative and he quickly tells her Toby has been fed and put to bed.
Robert then leaves to go out for the evening with Irene, his feeble effort to speak to her distressing Sarah even further.
At the end of the film after Sarah's return from the Labyrinth, Robert calls up to ask if she is home. Sarah replies that she is, apparently satisfying him as Robert says nothing more.
Appearances In Other Media
In the novelization, Sarah is described as being frustrated with her father for being 'long suffering and mild with her,' comparing him unfavourably to her more spontaneous and free-spirited mother. She also resents him for marrying Irene, and dislikes how her father and step-mother perpetually seem under the impression they are in the right.
The novelization refers to Robert's having an office job, which Sarah considers to be dreary.
Robert himself is shown to be sympathetic to Sarah's feelings, saying that it must be hard for Sarah to cope with her mother's abandonment of her. When he goes to Sarah's room to try and talk to her, he is said to walk away with 'a slowness measured to express a blend of concern and resignation'.
Sarah's feelings at her father's failure to make much of an effort to speak to her is expanded upon slightly, and she thinks sadly back to the time in the past when 'he would not have gone out without giving her a kiss'.
Return to Labyrinth
Robert appears briefly in flashback at the start of the first volume of the series, and is shown to side with Irene when she punishes Toby due to the mistaken belief that he stole a bike from another child.
Robert also appears briefly in a dream sequence in the fourth volume of the series, where Sarah imagines that her parents are together and in love with one another again.