Robin Williams was talented in so many ways, but perhaps his greatest gift was his ability to bring joy to people. These feel-good stories about Mr. Williams are sure to touch your heart.
I was an extra in Dead Poets Society, and at the end of our last day of shooting (which happened to be New Year’s Eve), he decided to come into the auditorium where the extras (400 kids) were being kept and he entertained us for a solid 20 minutes. It was such a sweet thing to do — I’m sure he was tired and wanted to be with his family, but it was unforgettable for all of us. I got to meet him again and told him how much I appreciated what he did on set, and he said, ‘Hey, I appreciate what YOU did.’ Just a kind, sweet man.
Having lived in the San Francisco Bay area almost all of my life, there are MANY stories of Robin Williams’ generosity. There was a family who had just come from their grandma’s funeral, and they stopped at a donut shop for a snack and coffee. One could tell that they were upset by their conversation about cleaning out their grandma’s belongings from her nursing home — after a while, the man in the next booth (his back to them) got up and introduced himself, and it was Robin Williams! He asked if he could join them and mentioned he had overheard their conversation — he asked them what kind of person their grandma was like, and what kind of things she enjoyed doing. After just a few minutes, he had them laughing and celebrating her life, and when he left, he paid for their donuts and coffee.
When I was 6 months old, I got a really bad case of pneumonia and almost died. My family and I were in the hospital around Christmas time, and Robin fucking Williams walked into the room, talked with my parents and older brother, and gave me a toy. He did that for all of the children in the hospital, and that’s how the man spent his Christmas — he literally hid from the press because he didn’t want it turning into a huge media event. What a stand-up lad.
I met Robin Williams after a performance of Bengal Tiger in the Baghdad Zoo — he was very quiet, but happy to sign autographs and take pictures with us. He saw a young boy standing next to me and froze, then a smile appeared on his face — it was like a light switched on in him. Robin started doing voices and making jokes (he even did shtick from Aladdin) to get the boy to laugh, and it worked like a charm! The boy started roaring with laughter (as did the rest of us) — it was incredible to get to see both the performer and the person in that one encounter. It’s a memory I’ll always cherish.
I was at the airport in the Bahamas with my entire family about 35 years ago — my grandmother, who was 80 years old and quite shy, caught Robin Williams’ eye from her chair when he walked by. She called out, ‘Oh, I just love your work!’ (which was very out of character for her) — then he crouched down, patted her hand, and talked to her for about five minutes. She introduced him to all of us, and he smiled and was very patient. I’ll never forget it because it made her so happy.
When he was filming something in Toronto, he ‘worked’ in our store around Christmastime selling PC video games because he was bored and looking for something to do. He asked customers what they were into, and then went back to our LAB and showed them the games. 85% of the people he dealt with had no idea who he was and just assumed he was a nerd, but when someone did notice, he was super cool and said, ‘Shhhh, this is our secret!’ Since he was staying at the hotel behind our store, we would see him all the time — he used to walk past my now-wife and say, ‘Hi, gorgeous!’ with his Canada Goose hoodie zipped up like Kenny from South Park.
I met Robin Williams at the Sundance Film Festival at a midnight showing. My boyfriend was off somewhere, so I was just sitting in my seat by myself, looking around — I finally turned around and sitting exactly two rows behind me was Robin. I smiled so big that he started laughing, and he said, ‘Well, hey there! Nice to see you!’ and I just said ‘Hiiiiiiiiiiiii.’ After that, whenever I turned around, he would say, ‘Peekaboo!’ or something random, and gave me a heart-melting smile (it was like being smiled at by God, I am not exaggerating). He had a gift of making a person feel like they were the most important person in the world, and at that time, I really needed that. I am so fortunate to have had that experience.
Robin Williams was the nicest person I’ve ever met in the course of the celebrities I’ve encountered. He was at an event I attended as a guest — on the fly, he agreed to get up and do a half-hour set of stand-up for nothing in return. After his performance, he was trying to get some water outside — it was probably close to 100 degrees, and he got stopped at least 40 times. He stayed all evening, spoke to every single person who wanted to chat with him, and was the perfect celebrity guest — he took pictures, smiled, and signed autographs for every single person there.
He had been flying from base to base in Afghanistan doing shows for the troops. It was about 9 p.m. when he did his show for us (which didn’t end until 11 p.m.), and he stayed up another hour taking pictures, signing autographs, and making jokes. Before he left, he asked if I enjoyed the show, and when I said yes, he said, ‘Good, ’cause you seemed extra sad today.’ I worked in the trauma hospital and lost three people that day — I watched his standup shows as part of my treatment for survivors guilt when I got home.
I met Robin Williams 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 really him. The man stood up on the edge of the pool and looked over at us, and it was him! He was wearing swimming paddles on his hands, so after we waved, he immediately went into character and clapped the paddles together — he 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 of 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.
I was putting my snowboard boots on and Robin Williams happened to be sitting next to me putting his on, too. I was 14 at the time and only knew him as Mrs. Doubtfire, so I whispered to my mum: ‘Mum, it’s Mrs. Doubtfire!’ He started laughing and talking to me in Mrs. Doubtfire’s voice, and quoting the movie — then he started doing voices and quoting lines from his other movies. It was such a surreal moment, and he was a super-nice guy.
I’ve read a story on [the internet] about a person who was in a line and had a baby in a stroller who was laughing and giggling like mad. When they turned around to figure out why, they saw that Robin Williams was behind them making silly faces at their baby.
A friend of mine was cycling along the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina, and a person rode up to his side on a bicycle and asked how his ride was going. My friend looked over to see who asked him this, and it was Robin Williams peddling along with a huge grin on his face. They exchanged words about the weather, and Williams got off at the next exit and wished him a nice day.
I lived in Lethbridge in Alberta, Canada at the time, and I guess he was in town shooting the film RV. I went to the same comic book store every Saturday for a weekly tournament, and when I walked in, I bumped into Robin Williams! And when I say I bumped into him, I mean literally — I wasn’t watching where I was going, and I was halfway through apologizing before I realized who he was. He told me not to worry about it, and proceeded to sign everyone’s comics, receipts, and random scraps of paper in the comic store. Before he left, he bought a solid $100 worth of comics for his son!
Back in the ’90s, when I was around 3 or 4, my mom and I ran into Robin Williams at an aquarium. His son and I were looking at the same tank, and he ended up chit-chatting with my mom for a bit (just casual stuff about parenthood — I don’t even think she acknowledged his celebrity). She said he was really warm and down-to-earth, and came across as a ‘regular,’ loving dad spending time with his kid. The only part of the encounter I remember was when my mom told me that he was Genie from Aladdin once he had left to check out another exhibit with his son — it blew my little mind! Even though I was too young to really be aware of any of it, it still makes me happy to think I had a small interaction with him.
I was an extra and worked with Robin on License to Wed, and I can confirm that he was a truly beautiful, kind, warm, and loving spirit. Truly, he was so, so wonderful. He absolutely lit up the room and made you feel important and seen when he really didn’t have to — I’ll never forget it!
My dad drove Robin Williams once and it was very last-minute. My dad didn’t even know he would be driving him until he got in the car, and then my dad was like, ‘No way!’ and Robin Williams responded saying, ‘Yes way!’ My dad told him, ‘Man, my kids love you so much’ and Robin said, ‘And you tell your kids I really love them, too!’ He really was a great person.
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