Thank You, Robin

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.2014-08-12 11.02.52_resized

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.2014-08-12 11.03.57_resized

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.

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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.2014-08-12 11.05.34_resized

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.2014-08-12 11.06.23_resized

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.
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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.
  • Lynn Brooks

    Well said Dean, well said!

    I read the news on the web last night, turned to tell my husband and was crying so hard he could barely understand me. So damn sad! He was such a talent and put so much of himself in each and every part, act, and interview that you felt like he was a dear friend talking directly to you. What an amazing out pour of love from so many as the world hears the news. I only wish he could have felt it when there was time for it to get through the darkness to help him. Wish we could have been the support that he needed to overcome the pain.


  • nelpet

    At least he’s free now – greatly missed and he will forever live on in our hearts <3

  • Debbie Pickett

    Yes well said I truly believe that we don’t take depression ,mental illness as serious as we should . speaking from a place of love it effects all parties of the family and if just one person is willing to take the lead in helping it means the world . Yes its hard but one day at a time !!! God Bless

  • Becci

    Amazing Dean… So nice of you to share. I know you understand depression and I am sure Robin is looking down on you and chuckling again about your 1st experience with him. Stay Strong…..

  • Susan Grayson

    Yesterday, I tweeted & asked you if you met Robin Williams. Now you answered my question. I am sorry for loss and am glad that you met him before it’s too late. Now, remember that he always in our hearts and never forget him…

  • Jean Strunk Lankton

    Welcome back Dean! You wrote such a kind tribute to Mr. Williams. I’m sure he appreciated your recognizing his need for privacy with his wife…..just like you have a strong appreciation for privacy in your life now. Mr. Williams was one of those rare individuals for whom there will always be an empty place where he once stood. Even in his darkest hour, I do hope he knew how much he was loved & I am profoundly sorry for this horrible pain that took him away. Now then, onward & forward for you Dean. Best wishes to you, your family & to good cooking!

  • Courtney Laramore

    When I heard about Robin Williams the other day you were the first person I thought of. After I watched your struggle on True Tori and a person I am close to just went through an “episode” for the last year. Stay strong Dean and fight for your health, life and your family. Wonderful post!

  • angie

    I grew up watching Mork & Mindy too. The Legacy of Movies from Dramatic to Comedy & Disney My Family has watched. Mrs. Doubt fire being a Family Fav:) I will miss Robin Williams and the laughter he brought as well as the Kindness he showed others …He will Absolutely be missed by so many~ Dean your thoughts were so Heartfelt~

  • Shannon Kipping Caldwell

    Dean this was a beautiful remembrance that you penned. Really good blog and I wasn’t expecting it to be quite frankly. I’m in love with your family in the show “True Tori” and I’m inspired by both of you as a couple. Your honesty is refreshing. I pray for you all and look forward to the next project. Take care of each other.

  • Olivia Nicandro Torres

    Dean…. wonderful memories to cherish. I know it makes millions more aware of the reality of what depression can do to a good soul. I am a huge fan of yours and tori. I am content and amazed that through it all your love and family are strong as ever, it shows many truly the value of love, marriage. Many angel blessings your way and much more success.
    -Olivia Torres-Stamper

  • Val Daws

    Awe, Dean, that is a bit of history indeed. How we can touch each other’s lives without realizing the impact, can change a person just like that. It is a rather incredibly awesome, stunning and quietening life to remember.