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Remembering a Legend: Robin Williams

by Kristy Wyatt
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The Marin County Sheriff’s Department confirmed on Monday, August 11th, 2014 that beloved actor/comedian Robin Williams had died at the age of 63 of an apparent suicide. The coroner suspected that death was a “suicide due to asphyxia”, but a solid cause of death is still not yet known. The actor was found unresponsive and not breathing in his home in northern California around noon on Monday and was confirmed dead later that day.

Touching Lives and Childhoods

An outpouring of celebrity Tweets, Facebook posts and more blanketed the Internet after the news finally hit the media about Williams’ death on Monday, and stars who worked with the late Oscar Winner immediately took to the ‘net to share their condolences for his family and also share their experiences with the beloved actor. Sarah Michelle Gellar, who co-starred with Williams on the CBS comedy The Crazy Ones, said that Williams was the “father I always dreamed of having” and further stated that the late actor left a definite mark on her life and the life of her family.

Robin Williams had in the past battled depression, and also alcohol and drug addiction, and had just entered rehab in June of this year to help with those addictions. A representative for the actor—Mara Buxbaum—said that Williams had been actively battling severe depression lately.

The late, great actor/comedian’s career spanned over 35 years, beginning in 1978 with his first acting job as alien Mork on the TV series Mork & Mindy. In 1987, Williams starred in Good Morning, Vietnam; a feature film set in Saigon in 1965 and is loosely based on the real-life experiences of AFRS radio DJ Adrian Cronauer. Williams’ other wildly popular films include Dead Poets Society (1989), The Fisher King (1991), Hook (1991), Aladdin (1992) and the funny Mrs. Doubtfire (1993).

Films weren’t the only thing in Williams’ career, as he had a successful stand-up comedy routine as well. He started doing stand-up during the early 1970s, including tours like An Evening with Robin Williams in 1982, Robin Williams: At the Met in 1986 and Robin Williams Live on Broadway in 2002. In 2008, Williams announced a 26-city tour called Weapons of Destruction, saying that he wanted to poke fun at the Bush administration before the President was officially out of office. The tour began in September of 2009 and ended in New York in December of the same year.

He also starred in an Off-Broadway production of Waiting for Godot alongside Steve Martin in 1988, and he made his Broadway debut in 2011 when he played in Rajiv Joseph’s Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo, which played at the Richard Rogers Theatre. In 2002, he headlined a one-man show, Robin Williams: Live on Broadway.

Williams was always private of his personal and family life; he was married three times, the first time being in 1978 to Valerie Velardi. Together, they had one son, Zachary “Zak” Williams who was born in 1983, but Williams and Velardi divorced in 1988. His second marriage was to Marsha Garces in 1989; Garces had been Zak’s nanny and was already pregnant with Williams’ child when they wed. Williams and Garces had two children together: Zelda Rae who was born in 1989 and Cody Alan who was born in 1991. Garces divorced from Williams in 2008 stating it was due to “irreconcilable differences”. Williams married his third and current wife, Susan Schneider, in 2011 in St. Helena, California and they made their home together at Williams’ large home in Sea Cliff.

His friends and fellow actors include Christopher Reeve (they met during college and remained close until Reeve’s death in 2004), John Belushi, Garry Marshall (an actor and director who was very close with Williams), Pam Dawber (who played Mindy opposite Williams’ Mork on Mork & Mindy), and actress/director Penny Marshall.

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