The death of the comic genius, Robin Williams, has shocked the U.S. How could such a vibrant, talented, people pleaser end it all? His Tiburon home is on San Francisco Bay, he has two movies coming out later this year. He has controlled his addictions, which could have been his way of battling depression. He hid his sad, dark side from most of us. My wife, Pamela was struck by seeing him with a depressed, lonely gaze while having coffee by himself at a Squaw Valley cafe.
Robin was a fanatic San Francisco Giants fan, a snow boarder, and would drop in to substitute teach science at San Ramon High School.
I ran into him at San Francisco’s Marina Green while jogging in 1986. I said “Hi, Mork. Nano nano.” He laughed and waved and kept jogging.
I skied with him at Squaw Valley 18 years later, in 2004. He was nice enough to say “Hi, Greg, see you at the top,” in front of my daughters. That instantly gave me celebrity status with Lauren and Maddie. Lauren, my eldest, is in medical school and I believe in part from watching “Patch Adams.” I’m serious. And his teacher role in “Dead Poets Society” may have influenced Maddie, my youngest daughter to study elementary education. Maybe my career in media convinced them both to do anything but be a writer or have anything to do with publishing or marketing.
“Mrs. Doubtfire” was filmed in the San Francisco Bay Area. I often walked my dog Spots by the beautiful house they rented for the movie on Fillmore. The restaurant scenes were filmed at Bridges in Danville. Some of the regular restaurant workers were in the movie.
I don’t know anyone who has had a negative thought of him. (Okay, maybe his first wife).
I interviewed Williams when he kicked off his “come back” tour at Harrah’s Lake Tahoe in 2000. I chatted with him on the set of San Francisco law offices for a comedy with Billy Crystal, “Fathers Day.” Robin was wearing a patient’s garb and slippers. He said he just escaped from the mental ward. The movie didn’t come out for six months, he was playing a mental escapee. I thought he was joking.
I had a long talk with him in Lake Tahoe. He was juggling a lot of balls in the air and until now, was able to keep them from hitting the ground.
Billy helped get Robin into baseball at a Yankees game in the old park. They watched the Yankees and Marlins in the World Series in 2003.
Seize the Day. Gather the rosebuds while ye may. The late, great Robin Williams, now a dead poet.
He loved his family, including his dogs. He had a pug and Boston terrier. Take a look at Robin’s photo album on Instragram (below).