When celebrities pass on, there’s always a ton of speculation about what may or may not have happened, and endless analysis of what could have been going through one’s head when it happens to have been a suicide. But the truth is that many commentators simply don’t know. They can play the guessing game until the cows come home, but it doesn’t really provide any meaningful insight into the subject’s death.
That’s why I prefer to focus on the lives of these celebrities, and I absolutely love hearing the many stories shared directly from people who actually knew them. In the hours since the announcement of Robin Williams’ death, many of those friends and acquaintances have come out of the woodwork, and here are just a few of the fantastic things they had to say about the life and legacy of the hilarious icon.
Few people understand the craft of acting as well as the great James Lipton, host of Inside the Actors Studio. On today’s Morning Joe, a heartbroken James proclaimed, “We have lost a genius“:
Lipton went on to discuss Robin’s seemingly magical ability to create comedy out of thin air and mere observation, as he could process information quicker than almost anyone. James pointed out that Williams’ key influence was the late Jonathan Winters:
Henry Winkler, best known as “The Fonz” from Happy Days, first met Robin Williams when he came in to perform an early version of “Mork” on Winkler’s sitcom, before going on to achieve great fame with the same character on Mork & Mindy. Winkler said today that seeing Robin perform was like seeing “one of the seven wonders of the world“:
Comedian George Wallace has chosen to focus on the happy memories today, rather than the sadness. He says it was a blessing to have known the gifted performer, whom he actually shared a birthday with. According to Wallace, Williams was the quickest, greatest improviser of all time:
The cast of Expendables 3 were gearing up for a movie premiere last night, as news broke of Robin’s untimely death. Several of them knew the comedian/actor personally, and shared a few thoughts. Here are a few of those comments from Mel Gibson, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Antonio Banderas, and Wesley Snipes:
“Anyone who knew him would have adored him,” said talk host Larry King of Robin Williams, whom he considered a friend. Larry phoned into Fox News to remember the legacy of Robin with Shep Smith:
Tony Thomas was a producer on one of Robin’s most memorable films, Dead Poets Society. Today, he took some time to describe the compassionate side of the star, as he would often perform for children with cancer, in a way quite reminiscent of his role in Patch Adams:
Maria Conchita Alonso was one of Robin’s early co-stars, appearing with him in his fifth film, 1984’s classic Moscow on the Hudson. Today, Maria described him as “one of the most gentle men” she has ever known:
Finally, can you imagine “discovering” a young Robin Williams for the first time? Michael Menchel was one of Williams’ first agents, and he recalls meeting the comedian for the first time on the set of 1987’s Good Morning Vietnam. “He was always on,” Menchel explained to Fox and Friends today. “He was a gentleman, a real gentleman — the finest, funniest man I’ve ever known“:
The tributes can — and will — continue endlessly. Hearing all of these incredible stories and anecdotes, you just know that Robin Williams was a beautiful, albeit tortured, soul. Because he was taken too soon, we’ll have to settle for reliving his gifts through the amazing filmography that he leaves behind.
Rest in peace, Robin.
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