Remembering Robin Williams

Remembering Robin Williams

I felt lucky every time I got to chat with Robin Williams,
but when I once said, “I’d love to get inside your brain,” he replied,
“Leonard, you don’t want to go there.” It’s a sad fact that many people who
possess great gifts are also greatly troubled. Some of them hide it from the
world, while others can’t. It’s a crushing blow to learn that this wildly
talented man took his own life. How sad for his family and friends, not to
mention fans and admirers. We’ve been robbed of his presence and his talent.

The first time I met him was during a press junket for the 1990
drama Awakenings, in which he starred
opposite Robert De Niro. At the time, Entertainment
’s modus operandi was to roll tape the minute our interviewee walked
in the door, and Robin didn’t disappoint. We used up a 20-minute cassette and
afterwards I told my boss that he could have (and should have) used the entire
tape, start to finish. It wasn’t just that he was funny: he riffed on
everything around him, including me, but he also knew when and how to be
serious. He could turn on a dime and change the air in the room.

Other comedians have turned out to be good dramatic actors,
but when Williams revealed that facet of his talent it was surprising because
his comedy was so manic and spontaneous. People either forgot, or didn’t know,
that he had studied at Juilliard under the imposing John Houseman before
becoming a street performer in San Francisco. Beyond that, he clearly had a
keen insight into human nature: the same observational skills that fueled his
comedy enabled him to explore the serious, even darker, side of a character.

I like a lot of his films, from The Fisher King to Aladdin,
but two of my favorite performances are in movies that didn’t reach wide audiences.
In One Hour Photo (2002) he plays a
clerk at the photo-developing counter who takes more than casual interest in
his favorite customers. He was so convincing that as I left the theater I kept
thinking, “I know that guy.” He also
did exceptional work in Bobcat Goldthwait’s dark comedy/satire World’s Greatest Dad (2009) as a failed
writer who seizes an opportunity to achieve notoriety following a family

I feel devastated by the news of Robin Williams’ death. What a
loss it is for all of us who enjoyed him on television, stage, and film. I
looked forward to every talk-show appearance he made, because he never let an
audience down.

We’ll always be able to see him, thank goodness, but now the
experience will be bittersweet.


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Alberto Martinez

I agree ,Great actor and above all a creative and very talented person . World´s Greatest Dad is really outstanding and have one or should be said several of the best lines I ever heard in a movie.

jones das

I have seen nearly all his movies and never did it ever occur to me that he had his low moments. he was an outstanding human being, will miss him undoubtedly.

Lisa Nesselson

Lovely observations. I couldn't agree more that "One Hour Photo" and "World's Greatest Dad" are outstanding. And — like the entire cast of that miraculous film — he was superb in "…Garp."

Steve Rubin

Thanks for your tribute, Leonard. It's really hard to see icons like Robin go like this. "He was bigger than life" is such a cliche – but when speaking about Robin – it's not. He WAS bigger than life because he put so much more into his comic and dramatic performances. His pure visceral impact on screen was, at many times, just overwhelming. He also brought that same energy to his interviews, his personal appearances on talk shows, his amazing stand-up routines. He was a mobile Roman candle. That kind of person and personality is so so rare. I would argue that there was no one like him, no one. God rest his soul.


Pretty hard to be "on" all of the time, say something funny…Depression is a very serious bad it claimed another …God Bless. RW…


RW first entered my consciousness when "Hook" got released, and over the years I just appreciated him more and more. You had to see him in concert to realize how hilarious he was.



I was more shocked than saddened by his death but that's not to say that I wasn't upset. I was never a major fan of his chaotic brand of comedy but I was a fan of his dramatic work. He seemed like a good person as well. Too bad.

Paul F. Etcheverry

We're all sad today, especially as Robin was a legend in my town, San Francisco. Seems severe clinical depression has hammered those who made us laugh out loud going back to the great comedians of silent movies – Max Linder, Charley Chase, Lloyd Hamilton and too many more. R.I.P. and thanks for the laughs.


I'm totally shocked by Robin's sudden death. He's one of my favorite actors. He knew how to make people laugh. Who can ever forget him as the Genie in "Aladdin" or as Mrs. Doubtfire? He'll always be loved by everyone. R.I.P, Robin.


Tears of a clown when there's no one around…Rest in peace Sir Robin.

Robert Hunt

A fine tribute. We all know that Williams made terrible movies as well as great ones, yet it seems that everyone I've seen commenting online is deeply saddened by his death, Clearly this was a man who touched many people.

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