Robin Williams is gone from this world, having passed away on August 11th, 2014, at the age of 63. But instead of mourning the loss of a comic genius, let's celebrate a kind, funny person who gave everything he had to this world.
1. He would call up Steven Spielberg during the filming of Schindler's List to cheer him up
Schindler's List is, to put it lightly, kind of a depressing film. And the process of actually filming the deeply-personal film was a gut-wrenching experience for director Steven Spielberg. Luckily, his ol' pal from Hook, Robin Williams, would on occasion call him up to crack a few jokes and cheer him up.
Williams went into a little more detail in a Reddit AMA last year:
I think I only called him once, maybe twice. I called him when I was representing People for the Valdheimers Association. A society devoted to helping raise money to help older Germans who had forgotten everything before 1945. I remember him laughing and going 'thank you.'
2. He remained a best pal to Christopher Reeve through his accident
Robin Williams and Christopher Reeve both attended Julliard - and were the only two of their freshman class to be accepted into the Advanced Program. The two quickly became friends, and each went off to have enormously successful careers.
Then, in 1995, a horse-riding accident left Reeve a quadriplegic. As an operation loomed that would attempt to reattach his skull to his spine, he received a visit from his old friend Robin Williams:
I already knew that I had only a fifty-fifty chance of surviving the surgery. ... Then, at an especially bleak moment, the door flew open and in hurried a squat fellow with a blue scrub hat and a yellow surgical gown and glasses, speaking in a Russian accent." The man announced that he was a proctologist and was going to perform a rectal exam on Reeve. It was Robin Williams, reprising his character from the film Nine Months. Reeve wrote: "For the first time since the accident, I laughed. My old friend had helped me know that somehow I was going to be okay.
There were even rumors that Robin Williams had been covering all of Christopher Reeve's medical bills that his insurance could not cover, although both denied this.
3. He traveled to Iraq and Afghanistan about a dozen times to entertain American troops
Not only did Robin Williams continually make trips to battle-torn places to entertain troops, he remained humble and deeply-kind throughout.
According to redditor Sleep-Dart:
I met him around Christmas in Iraq in 2007. He was there with a group of people including Miss USA. He came in all dressed like a hobo...ratty toboggan, unassuming black pullover, wool mittens...out of all the celebrities who walked in the door (it was a tiney ceremony for our CG to present the handful of them with certificates of appreciation), He was the only one who immediately started walking around the room to make sure he got to shake hands with the 30 or so of us who were in attendance. I didn't recognize him immediately because I had just got there and was one of the people right by the door when he walked in so I hadn't really had time to survey everyone yet and get a good situational awareness. So this hobo grabs my hand and says "Merry Christmas" and I just stare right past him, continue surveying the room and reply with a curt, "Sir." It was more of a statement than an acknowledgement and it took him aback a little. It was only about 30 seconds later that I realized the irony that while I was trying to get enough situational awareness to identify Mr. Williams, my moment had come and gone.
4. He traveled to a dying fan's home to spend some time with her
Sometime in 2004, a young girl named Jessica Cole was dying of a brain tumor. Only 13, she made a request of the Make-A-Wish Foundation to meet one of her heroes, Robin Williams. He was in the midst of filming David Duchovny's House of D at the time, and invited her to visit him on-set. However, she was too sick to travel, so had to decline.
Williams, at his own expense, decided to hop on a jet and fly out to North Carolina to visit with Jessica in-person - and keep the entire thing hidden, so that the media wouldn't turn it into a publicity stunt. At first she had difficulty recognizing him due to the effects of her illness, but after he broke out some Mrs. Doubtfire quotes, she quickly figured out it was Robin Williams.
The two spent the day watching football, playing cards, and talking at length. Coincidentally, he received the call informing him that his good friend Christopher Reeve had died while there.
5. He's done countless acts of kindness towards others, been involved in tons of charities, is renowned for being kind and supportive, is one of the most brilliantly hilarious comedians to ever live, etc. - AND he also came up with the idea to add Sid Meier's name in front of Civilization.
According to John "Wild Bill" Stealey, Williams had told him at a Software Publisher's Association meeting:
Bill, you should put Sid's name on a couple of these boxes, and promote him as the star.
But mainly, he's had a profound effect on more people than can be counted. Almost every celebrity has something wonderful to say about him, be it how he influenced their career, or a specific story about what a good and kind person he was, or just about how no one will ever make you laugh quite as hard as Robin Williams will.
There will never be another Robin Williams.