My Memories of Robin Williams

The first time I interviewed Robin Williams was at a roundtable movie junket. I sat immediately to his right. I watched him throughout the session, through tears in my eyes. He was hysterical. He was like a comic on steroids, or maybe it was something else. There was no doubt in my mind that he was a genius. 

 The next time I saw him was also in a roundtable junket session. He entered the room and quickly said, “Oh great. A minion.”  During the session one of my colleague’s cell phone rang. She was a bit embarrassed but Robin Williams picked up the phone and started talking to, of all people, her mother. Without missing a beat!

Then I sat across the table from him in the next roundtable for a film that was not a comedy. We were there to discuss the 2006 film The Night Listener. Robin was very serious that day, and reflected the tone of the film. Sure, there were some jokes peppered in the interview, but it wasn’t second after second of one-liners. Later, we both got in the elevator together. I stood behind him. He was solemn, looking down at the floor. I whispered, “nanoo nanoo” and he turned, smiled and said something witty. But that was the quietest I had ever seen Mr. Williams. I had seen him at his comic manic genius and in a quiet reflective state.

Then, Mr. Williams came to the Television Critics Association Press Tour to talk about his HBO special Robin Williams: Weapons of Self Destruction. He discussed the special and his heart surgery. He was a little slower at the time, because of the surgery, but his wit was pure Robin.

The last time I saw Robin Williams was seven months ago on the set of his TV show The Crazy Ones. He was funny, but the manically comic genius I had seen years ago, was replaced by a more mature man who was funny but not as over-the-top. I can only surmise he was struggling with internal conflicts.

I truly enjoyed each and every personal encounter with Robin Williams, as well as many of his movies and, of course, Mork. He had a long and incredible career. He was one of those actors (like Jack Lemmon) who could do comedy and drama films equally well. That’s a rare quality.

Rest in Peace, Robin Williams. You will hold a place in my memory. Thank you for all the great moments. When I think about Robin Williams I think about  the quote: I laughed so hard tears ran down my leg!