Beloved actor and comedian Robin Williams shocked the world when he took his own life one year ago today.
The death of the 63-year-old was seriously unexpected, though afterwards it was revealed he’d been suffering from the early stages of Parkinson’s disease and dementia.
The untimely death which caused global sadness and disbelief also brought to an end the comedian’s long battle with cocaine and alcohol addiction.
Fans everywhere mourned and remembered Williams, famous for his performances in films ranging from ‘Good Morning, Vietnam’ to ‘Night at the Museum.’
Depending on your age, you will probably associate the comedic genius as the role he was most famous for during that period.
Whether it be as Aladdin…
Or for his epic turn as Daniel Hillard in ‘Mrs Doubtfire.’
Who could forget one of the most memorable scenes when Daniel attends a dinner in the same restaurant at the same time as Mrs. Doubtfire, and can only keep up his double life for so long…
Williams appeared in dozens of productions and won multiple Golden Globe, Grammy and Emmy awards, as well as an Oscar.
Many a comedic actor admired and looked up to the hilarious genius, with fans including one of the leading stars of comedy, The Office star Steve Carell, who often referenced him admiringly within his role as Michael Scott.
“I was a huge fan. I don’t know any other actor who had such diversity. He could do The Fisher King and Awakenings then go and do Flubber.”
“I only met him once, but when he passed away I felt such a loss,” he said.
Steven Spielberg, who was a friend of Williams and worked with him on Hook, issued this statement at the sad news of Williams’ passing:
“Robin was a lightning storm of comic genius and our laughter was the thunder that sustained him. He was a pal and I can’t believe he’s gone.”
He was the quick-thinking King of Improvisation as this hilarious segment of him appearing on The Jonathan Ross Show back in 2010 reveals…
Versatile and dynamic at its finest, Williams more than proved himself as one of the finest actors of his time, as this infamous tear-jerking, emotional and thought-provoking dialogue from ‘Good Will Hunting’ confirms…
Danny DeVito, who directed Williams in black comedy Death to Smoochy, reacted to the devastating news last year with this endearing sentiment:
“Sad to think about this. Hard to speak. Hard to say. Hard to take. All I can think about is what a joy he was to be with. I’m devastated. I’m sending my love to his family and everyone who loved him. My heart is broken by this news.”
The Academy paid tribute with a reference to his role in Disney’s Aladdin, captioning the image with the words ‘Genie, you’re free.’
Then there is all the moving stories of acts of kindness that Williams has conducted throughout his life without wanting any publicity or public recognition.
Such stories flooded out in the wake of the tragic news, including the touching story from the father of a terminally ill child whom Williams had visited.
In 2004, Robin Williams performed a secret act of kindness for a dying 13-year-old girl.
Her name was Jessica Cole. She had a brain tumor, she had weeks left to live, and before she died she wanted to meet Robin Williams. “I don’t know if I’ve ever met a bigger fan of Mrs. Doubtfire in my life,” her father, Mark, remembers with a chuckle.
Thanks to the Make-A-Wish Foundation, a secret visit was arranged. No one was allowed to know because the actor didn’t want any publicity. But Jessica was too frail to fly to California, where the actor was filming “House of D” at the time. So Robin Williams paid out of his own pocket to fly a private jet to her house.
“It must have cost $30,000, $40,000,” Mr Cole explained.
When Robin Williams arrived, Jessica, who was suffering from memory impairments, had a bit of trouble recognizing the actor. But as soon he threw out some Mrs. Doubtfire impressions, she lit up — and a friendship was born.
“He made her feel very special all day; it was just one on one. He did a lot of funny Mrs. Doubtfire scenes that she enjoyed. He was cracking my daughter Jessica up… He really wanted to spend time with Jessica.”
As the day wore on, the pair relaxed in easy chairs and watched Carolina Panthers games. Jessica taught Robin Williams how to play card games he didn’t know, like Secret Seven. And he continued to tell jokes to make her laugh.
“He was very funny,” Cole recalled. “He was like that all day long… I couldn’t believe it. I felt very privileged that he came to spend the day with her like that. It was the most moving thing I’ve ever seen in my life.”