My old improv buddy has died. RIP Robin Williams.

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robin williams

cry

I won't be able to do him justice. I'm in tears. Robin Williams, someone I highly respected, adored, and worked with has died at an all-too-young 63. I'm heartsick.

I met Robin pre-fame. In fact, he used to wear a pin that said "Nearly Famous." That was about a year or so after we met, just as he was about to star in his first TV series, "Mork and Mindy." After that, his career took off.

We worked together in an improvisation comedy group called "Off the Wall," and whenever I was on stage with him, I was (happily) a mere prop. The man was a genius. A genius with a heart of gold. A generous, sweet soul who never said a bad word about anyone, and treated everyone as equals. But nobody was his equal.

This news is horrible. I'd read that he was back in rehab, but I never expected this. Nobody did.

One of my favorite memories was attending a mutual friend's Passover seder, and he was seated next to me. He was so respectful, very quiet,  but everyone was waiting for him to go into one of his brilliant riffs... which he did, finally, after someone else cracked a joke, which was tacit permission for him to blast off. He was hilarious.

And again, he was kind. That's what really mattered.

I haven't seen him for years. He became so famous that when I went backstage to see him at a concert, he was literally whisked away from me by his entourage after a big hug and few seconds of conversation. He apologized as he was dragged off.

He used to honk my boobies, making a typically Robin honking sound. His nickname for me was "Sweet Thing."

I could go on forever about him, tell you wonderful stories, but for now, let this suffice.

RIP, dear sweet Robin. We'll miss you so much.

Via Business Insider: 

The cause of death is thought to be suicide by asphyxiation.

Here's the release from the Marin County Sheriff's Office:

On August 11, 2014, at approximately 11:55 am, Marin County Communications received a 9-1-1 telephone call reporting a male adult had been located unconscious and not breathing inside his residence in unincorporated Tiburon, CA. The Sheriff’s Office, as well as the Tiburon Fire Department and Southern Marin Fire Protection District were dispatched to the incident with emergency personnel arriving on scene at 12:00 pm. The male subject, pronounced deceased at 12:02 pm has been identified as Robin McLaurin Williams, a 63 year old resident of unincorporated Tiburon, CA. [...] A forensic examination is currently scheduled for August 12, 2014 with subsequent toxicology testing to be conducted.

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  • Perfect, Nonny. Just perfect.

  • nonnythemouse

    You read about celebrities dying of any number of causes on a semi-regular basis, tut-tut and mutter, 'well that's sad...' and life goes on. Not this time. I never met Robin Williams, but his death shocked me, unexpectedly, to the core. I've been having dreams where I'm desperately trying to save him, and wake up heartsick. That such a kind, generous, compassionate, talented man could feel so desperately unhappy and alone to have died so terribly makes my throat ache just writing these words, even nearly two weeks later. It isn't often I wish I wasn't an atheist, because I so want there to be a place where he still exists and can be happy. That's really all I can say.

  • Joe Blunt Ltp

    Robin embodied compassion and dignity in all his work. He was a prime example for me of what is a good human being in modern times. Sad that he ended his life like this. It's going to take some time for me to resolve the works of his life with the way he ended it. Such a tragic loss, even at the age of 63.

  • Yes, Dee was our director. I was in the same workshops. And thank you again, I will miss Robin forever.

  • jackie

    It was so long ago but my husband has such fond memories. He was in the workshop (with Dee) back then and was just starting stand up. I didn't even know him yet. I am so sorry for the loss of your friend! I'm so glad though that you will forever be Robin's "sweet thing" though 🙂

  • Jackie, thank you for sharing that! Sadly, I don't think I new Cliff, but I feel close to him now.

  • jackie

    Hello, my husband, Cliff Armstrong was also very heartsick to hear this news as he too was part of this same improv group...prior to Robin's rise to fame in Mork & Mindy. He too has many stories which also included how kind Robin was. So sad for his family! Thank you for sharing happy memories of your friend.

  • Oh Laffy - I'm so very sorry. It seems like a personal loss to so many of us, and the rest of us didn't know him as you did. To make someone laugh, is an intimate thing, and I think that's one of the reasons why this loss is so personal. Not to mention where he took us as a dramatic actor....

    I am so happy for you that you got to know and work side by side with him - what a great joy that must have been!

    Again, I'm sorry, and I share your sorrow my friend. Thank you for yor lovely recollections of him.

    <3

  • Sally

    This is so sad. I knew he was troubled, but he never let it affect his performances. What a genius. We are fortunate to have lived in his era...he and George Carlin and so many more brilliant, brilliant comics. RIP, sweet man.

  • Thank you, thank everyone. We all feel this one.

  • Just earlier this year people were hearing his voice multiple times a day in the Apple commercial. I envy you that you knew him, but I suspect that makes it all much more painful for you. My condolences to you, to everyone else, and myself. The news shook me up. @Nordette_Verite

  • edmeyer_able

    So envious of everyone who knew him, haven't cried like this in a long time. Peace

  • "And that's why we must be kind, be compassionate, be loving. For maybe, just maybe, we will save a soul like his from the long walk into the dark."

    That is the most important sentence in the world. And it's 100% true. I know that for a fact.

    And thank you. Hugs back.

  • He had power over us for four decades. He could make us laugh, he could make us cry, he could make us think. And he did it all through a fog of pain, agony, booze, and drugs. But even the greatest character of our time could not slay the demons. No amount of laughter or adulation could quell the voices inside. He might have taken his own life, but the hand was driven by horrors we will never know.

    And that's why we must be kind, be compassionate, be loving. For maybe, just maybe, we will save a soul like his from the long walk into the dark.

    Laffy, we grieve with you. *hugs*

  • Robin was the only person I EVER let do that. I loved "sweet thing"... but then again, he probably just couldn't remember my name. When I ran into him at The Improv, he couldn't have been sweeter. I didn't think he'd know who I was... fame does that to some. Not him.

  • mellowjohn

    one of my favorite movies was silly little thing called "club paradise." he played a chicago firefighter injured on the job who takes his disability payout and buys a broken-down caribbean resort. written by – among others – harry shearer, chris miller, and harold ramis; co-starring peter o'toole and jimmy cliff. everybody looked like they had such a good time making it, i just had to love it.
    if you'd like, laffy, we can start calling "sweet thing." i'd draw the line at boobie honking, tho.

  • mrsgunka

    Sad, sad day for America. RIP Mr. WIlliams. We all loved you.