Just a few months after his 60th birthday and a few weeks after his Parisian honeymoon, Robin Williams described his life as “pretty sweet.”
Less than three years later, the beloved comedic actor is dead, apparently by his own hand.
That sums up the mercurial nature of mental illness better than any eloquent words I could conjure.
Sheriff officials told The Associated Press that Williams, 63, committed suicide Monday by hanging himself with a belt at his San Francisco Bay-area home.
His widow, Susan Schneider, said in a statement Thursday that he was struggling with depression, anxiety and early-stage Parkinson’s disease. Just last month, Williams announced he was returning to a 12-step treatment program, according to the Associated Press, but Schneider said his “sobriety was intact” at the time of his death.
You didn’t have to peer too deeply into Williams’ frenetic comedy to see his darker side. After all, Williams referenced his troubles with substance abuse and depression in his uproarious standup routines.
During a November 2011 Los Angeles press conference to promote the animated film “Happy Feet 2,” though, Williams was all manic energy, funny voices and gracious compliments for his co-stars and director George Miller. He and fellow animation all-star Hank Azaria (“The Simpsons”) playfully pondered what it would be like if they competed in a voice-off and happily praised Miller’s unusual decision to have the cast record their voice-overs together rather than separately.
Williams joked about the joys of sharing a vocal booth with the voluptuous Sofia Vergara, quipped that a honeymoon in Paris at his age “don’t suck, either,” and pretended to keel over dead when someone asked how he liked being 60 — four months after the milestone birthday.
“Sixty’s pretty amazing. I mean, had a midlife crisis at 40, so this is pretty sweet. Sixty’s wonderful; I’m like, ‘I’m alive.’ It’s great; once you have heart surgery, it’s Me 2.0, so it’s pretty great. And I have a cow valve, which means I can s--- standing up now,” he said, cracking up reporters and his co-stars.
Williams is survived by Schneider, whom he married in October 2011, and his three children from his previous marriages: daughter Zelda, 25, and sons Zachary, 31, and Cody, 22.
He also leaves behind more than 100 television and film credits, including the upcoming movies “Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb,” “Merry Friggin’ Christmas” and “Absolutely Anything.”
Here are six of my favorite of Robin Williams films:
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