As I sit here stunned and saddened by the death of Robin Williams I harken back to the first time i met him. It was while I was working on a Blake Edwards film in 1984. We were shooting a wedding scene at a church in Santa Monica for a film called Micky and Maude. I was sitting at my cart doing what I normally did, recording and playing back what we were shooting, when I became aware of a presence behind me. I turned to look to see who it was as many of the crew would look over my shoulder at my monitor to watch the action as it happened. I was surprised to see a quiet, reserved man who I didn’t recognize at first as being one of the people who would normally show up in that spot. As I turned to get a better look it hit me who he was. I asked if I could do anything for him and offered him my chair so he could see my monitor better. He declined and said not to make a fuss as he was just there to talk to Blake about a project they were thinking of doing together. He didn’t want anyone to make a fuss and tried to act like just another spectator to what we were doing. He was very kind and self effacing and didn’t act like a star at all. We talked a bit about his work and I told him I was a big fan and that I hoped he and Blake would do a project together as I would love to work with him also. He said that he hoped it would all work out, too. He seemed embarrassed by the attention people were paying to him and it appeared he wanted to be treated just like everybody else. I was impressed by this and it made me like him even more. He and Blake never did get that project off the ground which is sad as the combination of the best comic and the best comedy director would have resulted in a phenomenal movie , in my opinion.
As it turns out I did have a chance to work with him in 1997. I was hired to work on a film called “Father’s Day” that starred Robin and Billy Crystal. Ivan Reitman of “Ghostbusters” fame was the director and with such a combo it seemed that it was going to be non-stop laughs from the word go. It was and we all had a great time making the movie. There were some days when we did scenes with a crowd of extras where Robin would be so busy entertaining them that we had trouble actually getting the movie made. It was all great fun, everyone had a great time and I am sad that that was the only project I got to work with him on.
The world has lost one of it’s greatest entertainers today. Robin’s body of work, that ranged from a goofy alien to a serial killer to a disc jockey to an inspiring teacher to any of the other roles he took for his own has few equals in the pantheon of movie stars. His humanitarian work with Comic Relief points up what a good soul he was behind the scenes also. He was a marvelous human being and we will all miss him. And I will miss a friend and colleague who was kind, generous, and the funniest man I have ever known. Rest well, Robin! You earned it.