Two years ago today, the world lost Robin Williams. Whether you came to love him through Mrs. Doubtfire or Hook, Dead Poets Society or Good Will Hunting, Williams’ impressive body of work has made us laugh, cry and inspired millions around the world.
Though the glitz and glamour of Hollywood can often seem a million miles away, Robin Williams was able to touch so many of us on a deep personal level. For some, making a personal connection with the legend was a reality.
To honor the late comedian, we have compiled a handful of personal anecdotes from fans who were lucky enough to meet Robin Williams in real life:
1. Offering Up Words of Wisdom
Robin Williams, very friendly and funny. More so then I expected honestly. I went to a dinner with my father and a couple of his co-workers at a fancy italian restaurant when I was about 18 and about halfway through the meal a few of the co-workers got drunk and started to scream at the waiter in Italian. In response the waiter, and eventually a few other workers, joined in and were screaming back at the co-workers and then inbetween all of them came Robin Williams gesticulating wildly and screaming mock Italian at both sides until they calmed the hell down and started to laugh at Robin Williams and his antics instead.
When everyone went back to their seats I walked up to Robin Williams, thanked him for defusing the situation, and did the usual “I love your work, It’s amazing to meet you” spiel and then he began to ask ME questions about my life, how I am, my age, what I wanted to do and was very friendly and caring. When I was walking away back to my dad he stopped me and said words I try to live by, “Kid, take a good look at those suits. Don’t try to end up like them. If you need booze or drugs to enjoy your life to the fullest then you’re doing it wrong.” –
2. Visiting The Troops
Last time I was in Afghanistan he came to visit the base I was at and did a show. What really stuck with me was he stayed hours after the show was over to meet everyone that stood in line. It wasn’t just saying hi and taking a picture either, he held a 5 to 10 minute conversation with everyone who waited to meet him and actually seemed to care. –
3. Recalling Fan Interactions
I remember when I first met Robin Williams back in 2004 when I was working retail at the Energy/Miss Sixty store on Melrose. He came in looking for underwear and purchased the leopard print in a large with matching tank top. Well I rang him up I told him how he had always been an inspiration of mine as an aspiring actor, and how much of a fan I was of his work. He was so humble and kind and gave me some great words of advice “never give up your dream” he said. I being a complete air head forgot to take the censor off the underwear and he set the alarm off as he exited the store so I ran out to him grabbed his bag and apologized. He laughed and told me not to worry about it.
Two years later I was lucky enough to attend the premier of “Man of the Year” at Mann’s Chinese Theater. I went to the after party at the Roosevelt and my friend encouraged me to go up to his table and congratulate him. I did and I told him how we met 2 years earlier and if he remembered me. He said off course I remember you “Am I beeping?” He was wearing the leopard print underwear that night! RIP Robin may you find eternal peace. –
4. Robin Williams Just Being Robin Williams
My uncle saw him jogging in Hawaii–he yelled out, “That’s Robin Williams!” Robin Williams heard him, turned around and screamed “Where!!!” Then continued on his run. –
5. Doing Improv With A Fan
My wife actually served him an odouls once at a place she worked at in California. He came back twice more and each time for a Lara bar cause he was hungry. She didn’t want to be one of those typical fans and freak out so she played it cool. When he came back the final time she started giving him crap about coming back so often and they actually started improving with each other(my wife is an improv comedy actress ) and they went back and forth for a few minutes and shared a laugh when it was over. I had to break the news to her and she took it pretty hard the rest of the day. Her only regret: feeling like she didn’t convey to him enough how much of an inspiration he was on her and how Much she looked up to him. She even feels guilty for it. Oh well sorry it wasn’t one of mine but I had to share my wife’s story. –
7. Going On Quiet Shopping Spree
I had an English teacher who worked at FAO Schwarz. For those of you who don’t know, it’s that toy store that was in the movie Big with the giant piano on the floor. One day while she was working, there was a guy who came in all disheveled and dirty looking with ratty clothes who looked homeless. The employees were all worried about him because they didn’t think that he would be there to buy anything, but my teacher decided to go up and see what he needed.
He said he was looking for some toys, and for the next hour she helped him pick out toy after toy. Finally he goes to pay, thanking her for being so kind to him. He pays with a card, and shows her ID with a clear picture and the name “Robin Williams”. He just winks at her, pulls out a pen, and gives her his autograph on the receipt. Robin Williams… what a guy. –
6. Dancing With This Redditor’s Grandma
Here’s a story that happened to my grandma about 20 years ago: She was visiting my uncle and aunt who lived in NYC at the time. They were all going to the hotel she was staying in. As she walked in the door, a man was coming out the exact same one. They both did the whole “we’ll both try to get out of the way by going the same way” back-and-forth dance for a few seconds. They both started laughing, and this gentleman said something like “it was a pleasure dancing with you Madame, but I must be on my way!” He smiled, gave her a little bow, and held the door for her.
My grandma went into the lobby, my aunt 5 seconds behind her. She asked my grandma “so…what were you and Robin Williams talking about?” Shocked, my grandma looked out the window to see the man she was just talking to getting into his limo. Turns out he was in town for a benefit and staying in the same hotel as my grandma! –
8. Cheering Up Hospital Guests
I know this’ll probably be buried, but I figured I write it anyway. I met Robin Williams a couple years back when I was in a Hospital. It wasn’t anything life-threatening, but I was prepped to go into surgery later that day. Some of the other kids and I were told that “a surprise celebrity” was coming to visit us, and we would get to spend the morning with them.
I was shocked and so freaking happy when I saw Robin Williams walk into the room. I had to wait 20 minutes before I could talk to him (we were in a circle, and each person got to ask him questions), but the wait was totally worth it. I can’t remember the actual questions I asked (I had a lot of drugs in my system at the time), but I do remember him patiently listening to everything I had to say. At that point in my life, not many people had given me the same courtesy. He was, and still is, one of the greatest people I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting. –
9. Just Goofing Around
I met Robin in 1992 when I was 11 years old. The pool scene in Mrs. Doubtfire was filmed at the pool where I used to swim as a kid. One night I was with a friend at the pool and we thought we saw Robin swimming. We kept a close eye on him from 100 feet away, trying to figure out if it was actually him. The man stood up at the edge of the pool and looked over at us. It was him! We waved. He was wearing swimming paddles on his hands, so he immediately went into character, clapped the paddles together, barked at us like a seal and waved back. He got out of the pool and walked over to us, where we gushed to him about our favorite films of his. Then he signed a couple autographs, we thanked him for his time, and he went off to the locker room. I’ll never forget that moment. What a cool and hilarious dude. –
Rest in peace, Robin Williams.
What is your favorite Robin Williams related memory? Share yours in the comments section.
MP Staff Writer, cinephile and resident Slytherclaw // UCLA Alumna // Follow me on Twitter: kristin_lai