Whether you remember him as wacky alien “Mork” from Mork & Mindy, unorthodox teacher John Keating in Dead Poets Society, or the ineffable “Mrs. Doubtfire” in the movie of the same name, there’s no denying that Robin Williams made a tremendous impact on the movie industry.
Williams wasn’t only an extraordinarily talented, versatile actor; he was a comedian, activist for literacy, women’s rights, and military veterans, and a lifetime philanthropist to boot.
We lost this wonderful human being in August of 2014 under tragic circumstances.
Williams’s cause of death remained ambiguous for some time, but the mystery has since been solved. Friends, family members, and medical professionals have come forward to uncover layer upon layer of the mystery surrounding Williams’s devastating diagnosis and the months preceding his death.
Williams was battling Lewy body dementia (LBD), a cruel, degenerative neurological disease with symptoms similar to those of dementia and Parkinson’s disease. In fact, Williams was originally misdiagnosed with Parkinson’s, which led to much confusion over his daily lived experience, and his prognosis.
ROBIN is up for a Goodreads choice award! Vote in the semi-finals today!https://www.goodreads.com/choiceawards/best-history-biography-books-2018
Author Dave Itzkoff has penned a new biography: “Robin.” The author chronicles the life, career, and experiences of the Hollywood funnyman, including a sympathetic treatment of Williams’s eventual diagnosis and long battle with poor health.
Williams appeared in director Shawn Levy’s comedy-adventure Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb in 2014, which was unreleased when he died. Itzkoff interviewed the film’s makeup artist, Cheri Minns, who was close to the actor during filming and remembered his struggle with declining health: “He was sobbing in my arms at the end of every day,” Cheri recalled. “It was horrible.”
Fans of Robin Williams gathered at our Montgomery Village store the other night to hear author David Itzkoff discuss Willliams’s amazing life. Itzkoff’s new biography, “Robin,” is a fresh and original look at a man whose work touched so many lives. pic.twitter.com/4W0AsZU7jy
— Copperfield’s Books (@Copperfields) May 24, 2018
Longtime friend and fellow comic actor Billy Crystal also came forward, describing a meeting with Williams around the same time: “When he got out of the car I was a little taken aback by how he looked,” Crystal revealed. “He … seemed a little frail. On occasion, he’d just reach out and hold my shoulder and look at me like he wanted to say something,” Crystal continued, explaining that Williams then reached out to hug him, and started to cry.
The New York Times explores the magic behind the Night At The Museum movies and the cast that brought them to life. Read more now.
Williams was struggling with tremors, impaired movement, problems with his speech, and even—perhaps more alarmingly—paranoia. He had not yet received a firm diagnosis. Both Williams and his partner, Susan Schneider, still believed he had Parkinson’s disease, but this wasn’t completely consistent with his symptoms. The couple was confused, and scared.
The world wished nothing but health, happiness, and the company of loving friends and family for the beloved actor in his time of greatest need, but sadly the end came all too soon. Williams took his own life on Aug. 11, 2014. It wasn’t until an autopsy was performed that the actor’s family learned that he had been suffering from Lewy body dementia (LBD) after all.
”The doctors, the whole team, was doing exactly the right things,” Williams’s wife, Susan, told People magazine. “It’s just that this disease was faster than us and bigger than us.”
However, Susan is determined that her husband’s struggle will count for something profound. The industrious activist is using Williams’s story to spread awareness of the rare, degenerative disease in the hope that increased visibility will prompt more accurate diagnoses and better outcomes for other sufferers in the future.
“This disease is like a sea monster with 50 tentacles of symptoms that show when they want,” Susan said. With the strength and determination of a woman who has witnessed the disease firsthand, plus a world of loyal fans who will keep his legacy alive, Robin Williams’s life will certainly be impactful for all the right reasons for many, many years to come.
Susan added, mirroring the kindness of her beloved, late husband: “And for [other Lewy Body Dementia patients] … they are not alone.”
Share this touching article with all the Robin Williams fans you know (that’s everyone, right?) and keep the influential actor and beloved comedian’s magnificent legacy alive.