In an absolutely heartbreaking development, Robin Williams has committed suicide. One of the great screen and stand-up comedians, Williams was 63. His death has been confirmed by his press reps, who issued this statement: “Robin Williams passed away this morning. He has been battling severe depression of late. This is a tragic and sudden loss. The family respectfully asks for their privacy as they grieve during this very difficult time.”
His wife, Susan Schneider, also issued this statement: “This morning, I lost my husband and my best friend, while the world lost one of its most beloved artists and beautiful human beings. I am utterly heartbroken. On behalf of Robin’s family, we are asking for privacy during our time of profound grief. As he is remembered, it is our hope the focus will not be on Robin’s death, but on the countless moments of joy and laughter he gave to millions.”
Related: Robin Williams: An Appreciation
Where to begin, when such an electric talent takes his life? Williams’ improvisational skills were unsurpassed, but he has talked about his struggles with depression. In 2011, he was candid in a TV interview with Charlie Rose, saying, “You can be the most brilliant guy in the world and still be upset, not handling life well.”
We are working on a tribute of this remarkable and iconic star of everything from Mork And Mindy to Aladdin to Mrs. Doubtfire. An Academy Award for 1997’s Good Will Hunting and Oscar nominations for The Fisher King, Dead Poets Society and Good Morning, Vietnam. Other standout performances included The World According To Garp, Moscow On The Hudson, Hook, Patch Adams, and Jumanji. His electric wit and impish wit led him to become one of the biggest and highest-paid stars in Hollywood; his star power was so great that when he went through a dispute with Disney over using him to sell merchandise after paying him scale ($75,000) on a movie that grossed more than $200 million, the studio bought him a Picasso painting to make things right. When he left CAA with his former manager after the rep Mike Menchel was poached by Mike Ovitz’s AMG, CAA refused to do business with Ovitz. That pretty much cooked the goose of the former CAA head. That is how much Williams meant during his prime.
Most recently, Williams was reprising his role as Teddy Roosevelt in December’s Night At the Museum: Secret Of The Tomb, after playing Dwight Eisenhower in Lee Daniels’ The Butler. Prior to his death, Williams had completed work on two additional forthcoming films. He stars as the patriarch to a family of misfits opposite Joel McHale and Lauren Graham in Merry Friggin’ Christmas, which Phase 4 opens November 7 in limited release. He’ll also voice Dennis the Dog in the sci-fi comedy Absolutely Anything directed by Terry Jones of Monty Python, likely to debut next year.
Williams also made his return to series television last year in CBS’ The Crazy Ones. His rise began in television, when he played Mork on two episodes of Happy Days, which led to the hit ABC spinoff series Mork & Mindy in 1978. By the time that series ended in 1982, Williams was well on his way to feature stardom. He had less luck in his trumpeted small-screen return in The Crazy Ones. After a big start positioned with The Big Bang Theory and heavy promotion (he was joined by Buffy The Vampire Slayer‘s Sarah Michelle Gellar), the single-camera series lost steam. It was still in the running for a renewal, but the show wasn’t growing its audience and the network ultimately cancelled it in May.
Here is the Marin County Sheriff’s official statement:
“On August 11, 2014, at approximately 11:55 am, Marin County Communications received a 9-1-1 telephone call reporting a male adult had been located unconscious and not breathing inside his residence in unincorporated Tiburon, CA. The Sheriff’s Office, as well as the Tiburon Fire Department and Southern Marin Fire Protection District were dispatched to the incident with emergency personnel arriving on scene at 12:00 pm. The male subject, pronounced deceased at 12:02 pm has been identified as Robin McLaurin Williams, a 63 year old resident of unincorporated Tiburon, CA.
“An investigation into the cause, manner, and circumstances of the death is currently underway by the Investigations and Coroner Divisions of the Sheriff’s Office. Preliminary information developed during the investigation indicates Mr. Williams was last seen alive at his residence, where he resides with his wife, at approximately 10:00pm on August 10, 2014. Mr. Williams was located this morning shortly before the 9-1-1 call was placed to Marin County Communications. At this time, the Sheriff’s Office Coroner Division suspects the death to be a suicide due to asphyxia, but a comprehensive investigation must be completed before a final determination is made.
“A forensic examination is currently scheduled for August 12, 2014 with subsequent toxicology testing to be conducted.”
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