I write this today with a very heavy heart. I am devastated. Robin Williams was my idol. He’s the reason I became an actor. I loved his stand up, Mork and Mindy, and all of his movies, comedic and dramatic.
I knew his stand up routines back to front, watched his movies over and over and over again. The Fisher King was my favorite movie. He was brilliant in it. But that was him, brilliant. He had such a deft touch. He walked the lines of comedy and tragedy with such grace.
He could bring you to tears and riotous laughter all within the same scene. He was a true master.
I remember the very first I met him. I was 17 years old and on my very first trip to California.
Being a huge and well seasoned comedy fan, my sister thought it would be a good idea to take me to the Improv. I was ecstatic. Robin was known to stop by unannounced and do a set and work on new material.
As we were crossing Melrose Ave (fake I.D. In hand), I turned to my sister and said ” How cool would it be if he showed up tonight?” No sooner did that come out of my mouth, my sister’s boyfriend said, “I think your wish just came true, look behind you, it’s Robin Williams”. Yea right, I’m not falling for that… then I turned, stepped up on the curb, and walked right into my idol! I was completely dumbfounded. How could this be happening?? I was a kid on a trip from Canada joking about running into my idol, and it actual happens!! Lightening in a bottle.
We went for the door handle at the same time, he beat me to it and we had a ” you go first” no “you go first” moment, and then we both went at the same time and got stuck in the door. He chuckled, and I was speechless.
We took our seats, and I couldn’t speak for about 20 minutes. He didn’t perform that night, but it didn’t matter, I got to rub shoulders with my hero.
The other encounter was at my friends chef Susur Lee’s restaurant Lotus in Toronto. I was there for dinner. I was about 30, and I had dropped my dinner companion off first as it was raining. I parked the car and as I approached the table my dinner guest looked stunned. I asked what was wrong, and all they could do was indicate something to the right of me. I turned and looked and it was Robin and his wife at the table right next to us.
I was excited to finally get a chance to talk to him and tell him how much I idolized him and how he inspired me to become an actor. After about 5 minutes, I knew I couldn’t say anything to him. He was so engaged with his wife… all of his attention was to her. It was as if no one else were in the room. He was so soft spoken and kind. Almost painfully shy. I thought I should leave him alone to enjoy his wife and dinner.
He ordered the Bing Cherry Tart for dessert as Mrs Doubtfire. That was the perfect end to my dinner.
The next day I read in the paper that he was there at Lotus to celebrate a wedding anniversary with his wife.
I’m glad I didn’t bother him, and thought, “I’ll have another chance to meet him again”. Unfortunately I won’t be able to. He’s gone. He’s gone, but not forgotten. I’ll never forget the joy and awe he brought to me and so many others. He is legendary, iconic, and has forever touched my life.
Depression is a silent and deadly foe. It lays in wait of seemingly “happy” “normal” people and strikes when it wants, and it’s relentless. The damage depression inflicts on a person is devastating. It beats you down day and night, day after day, minute after minute. It’s hard for people without depression to understand what a person goes through. It robs you of hope, self esteem, happiness and love. It drives you to a place and state of mind that leaves you so hopeless, you think your only choice is to take your life.
There is help and there is hope. Medication, therapy, a spiritual program, family, friends. Just reach out, you’re not alone.
Good bye my friend. You will be missed.