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I never met Robin Williams. I came close to intervewing him a few times, and I did have the pleasure of interviewing his delightful daughter, Zelda, for an indie film, WERE THE WORLD MINE, in which she gave a wonderful performance.
I did, however, have a brush with Robin Williams and in retrospect, it’s a perfect memory. It was 1983 and I was at the old Mason Street Cinema, which is now a night club, waiting to see the newly released MONTY PYTHON’S THE MEANING OF LIFE with a few friends. Over at the pinball machine in the lobby, as one of my friend pointed out, was Robin Williams. He was wearing what I remember as a sort of navy-blue sailor outfit, and he was dancing boisterous attendance on a heavily pregnant woman with whom he was obviously very much in love. We couldn’t hear what they were saying, but then again, we didn’t need to. Their faces were shining. Now that he’s gone, I love that memory, and wanted to share the beauty of that moment.
As luck would have it, I live near the Mrs. Doubtfire house here in San Francisco, and as the news broke that Robin had left us, an impromptu shrine began to form. This being San Francisco, the police took a hand in controlling traffic so that pedestrians who wanted to say a last goodbye could have a moment, and drivers who wanted to continue on their way would not be hindered. I don’t usually seek these sorts of memorials out, but I was drawn to this one, and I’m glad I went, The heartfelt tributes, flowers, mementos, notes written on cards or scratched on the sidewalk in chalk by his fans were more eloquent and more moving than anything else I’d seen or have seen since. Here are a just a few.
From all accounts, was a sweet, gentle, if troubled, man who brought laughter as well as poignant truths about the human condition, At the risk of being trite while speaking from the heart, we will miss him, but be forever grateful that he was here for a little while and shared his shining soul with us.