Inside The Final Days Of Robin Williams

A recent biography titled “Robin” explains the last moments of the forever missed actor Robin Williams. Written by New York Times’ culture reporter, Dave Itzkoff, the book describes the devastating impact his passing had on those who know him, as well as the decline his mental health had taken in the last days. Let's find out more. 

Image Credits: Getty Images / Peter Kramer | Actor Robin Williams appears onstage during MTV's Total Request Live at the MTV Times Square Studios on April 27, 2006 in New York City.

Image Credits: Getty Images / Peter Kramer | Actor Robin Williams appears onstage during MTV's Total Request Live at the MTV Times Square Studios on April 27, 2006 in New York City.


THE SOURCES OF THE BOOK

In May 2018 Dave Itzkoff, a renowned culture reporter from the New York Times, and a massive fan of Robin Williams released a biography that would change the way everyone sees Robin’s passing. Tracing the last few months of the actor’s life, Itzkoff gathered the input of those closest to William’s in order to describe how it all happened. 

Image Credits: Getty Images / Harry Langdon | Actor and comedian Robin Williams poses for a portrait circa 1999 in Los Angeles, California.

Image Credits: Getty Images / Harry Langdon | Actor and comedian Robin Williams poses for a portrait circa 1999 in Los Angeles, California.

Compiling the reports and perspectives of William’s closest friends and colleagues, Itzkoff tried to give a perspective of what the actor went through before the time of his passing. With the help of Billy Crystal, Pam Dawber, Zak Williams, Alex Mallick-Williams, Cheri Minns, Mark Pitta, Cyndi McHale, and Wendy Asher, Itzkoff shared what we were all trying to discover. 

Image Credits: Getty Images / Theo Wargo | Comedian Robin Williams accepts an award onstage at The Comedy Awards 2012 at Hammerstein Ballroom on April 28, 2012 in New York City.

Image Credits: Getty Images / Theo Wargo | Comedian Robin Williams accepts an award onstage at The Comedy Awards 2012 at Hammerstein Ballroom on April 28, 2012 in New York City.


THE BEGINING OF THE END

Even though it might have come as a surprise to many, as Robin Williams was known to be as the ever-happy comedic soul, the truth is that in the months (and years) before his death, his life had been spiraling downward. From health conditions to professional challenges, those around Robin were able to see how these things impacted him.

Image Credits: Getty Images / Bruce Glikas / FilmMagic | Susan Schneider and fiancee Robin Williams pose backstage at the hit play "Bengal Tiger at The Baghdad Zoo" on Broadway at The Richard Rogers Theater on June 15, 2011 in New York City.

Image Credits: Getty Images / Bruce Glikas / FilmMagic | Susan Schneider and fiancee Robin Williams pose backstage at the hit play "Bengal Tiger at The Baghdad Zoo" on Broadway at The Richard Rogers Theater on June 15, 2011 in New York City.

Being one of Hollywood’s most renowned actors, his filming career had come to a hiatus, and even though he tried his luck in a television sitcom, it did not make the cut in terms of audience ratings. Not only that, but he was still not over his divorce, and his new life with Susan Schneider was not what he expected.

Image Credits: Getty Images / Arnaldo Magnani | Actor Robin Williams, his son Zak, and his wife Marcia Garces arrive for the premiere of the film "Death to Smoochy" March 26, 2002 in New York City.

Image Credits: Getty Images / Arnaldo Magnani | Actor Robin Williams, his son Zak, and his wife Marcia Garces arrive for the premiere of the film "Death to Smoochy" March 26, 2002 in New York City.


THE TWO ANGELS OF DEATH

“Robin was losing his mind and he was aware of it. Can you imagine the pain he felt as he experienced himself disintegrating?” Susan Schneider wrote in an editorial for “Neurology”. In May 2014 Robin William’s received the news that would change his life forever - he was diagnosed with a health condition but it is possible he was misdiagnosed. 

Image Credits: Getty Images / Scott Gries | Actor Robin Williams appears onstage during MTV's Total Request Live at the MTV Times Square Studios on November 14, 2006 in New York City.

Image Credits: Getty Images / Scott Gries | Actor Robin Williams appears onstage during MTV's Total Request Live at the MTV Times Square Studios on November 14, 2006 in New York City.

After William’s final medical examination, doctors found he was suffering from a different illness that was also incurable. “My husband was trapped in the twisted architecture of his neurons and no matter what I did I could not pull him out,” Susan wrote. “He kept saying, ‘I just want to reboot my brain.”

Image Credits: Getty Images / Jim Spellman / WireImage | The Williams Family(right to left)Robin Williams, daughter Zelda, wife Marcia, son Cody and son Zac at the Tribeca Performing Arts Center in New York City, New York.

Image Credits: Getty Images / Jim Spellman / WireImage | The Williams Family(right to left)Robin Williams, daughter Zelda, wife Marcia, son Cody and son Zac at the Tribeca Performing Arts Center in New York City, New York.


HOW THE LACK OF WORK AFFECTED HIS WELLBEING

Another issue that became far too common in the years leading to Williams' passing was the lack of purposeful work. In fact, it seemed that most of the projects he was getting involved with were not lucrative, and seemed to be too focused on one particular topic - death.

Image Credits: Getty Images / Kevork Djansezian | Actor Robin Williams accepts the Favorite Scene Stealing Guest Star award during the 35th Annual People's Choice Awards held at the Shrine Auditorium on January 7, 2009 in Los Angeles, California.

Image Credits: Getty Images / Kevork Djansezian | Actor Robin Williams accepts the Favorite Scene Stealing Guest Star award during the 35th Annual People's Choice Awards held at the Shrine Auditorium on January 7, 2009 in Los Angeles, California.


THE DECLINE OF ROBIN WILLIAMS’ PROFESSIONAL LIFE

That same year, Williams joined another project, that not only was based in morbid comedy but was also extremely unsuccessful. “The Angriest Man In Brooklyn” was an indie film in which Williams plays a lawyer that is diagnosed with an illness... It received terrible comments from the viewers and the film critics. 

Image Credits: Getty Images / Peter Kramer | Actor Robin Williams appears onstage during MTV's Total Request Live at the MTV Times Square Studios on April 27, 2006 in New York City.

Image Credits: Getty Images / Peter Kramer | Actor Robin Williams appears onstage during MTV's Total Request Live at the MTV Times Square Studios on April 27, 2006 in New York City.

In one particular scene from the movie, Williams’ character has a dramatic scene near the Brooklyn Bridge. He then speaks with the doctor who had (you guessed it) misdiagnosed him. It had come to a point where Williams’ professional life was getting too mixed up with his real life.

Image Credits: Getty Images / Jason Kempin | Robin Williams attends the CW, CBS And Showtime 2013 Summer TCA Party on July 29, 2013 in Los Angeles, California.

Image Credits: Getty Images / Jason Kempin | Robin Williams attends the CW, CBS And Showtime 2013 Summer TCA Party on July 29, 2013 in Los Angeles, California.


THE REASON BEHIND THE PERSISTENCE TO WORK IN BAD MOVIES

Long story short, “There are bills to pay,” Williams answered. “My life has downsized, in a good way. I’m selling the ranch up in Napa. I just can’t afford it anymore.” Even though he still had quite a comfortable amount of money to live off, the actor said he had “Lost enough. Divorce is expensive.”

Image Credits: Getty Images / Michael Caulfield | Actor Robin Williams poses for a portrait during the 35th Annual People's Choice Awards held at the Shrine Auditorium on January 7, 2009 in Los Angeles, California.

Image Credits: Getty Images / Michael Caulfield | Actor Robin Williams poses for a portrait during the 35th Annual People's Choice Awards held at the Shrine Auditorium on January 7, 2009 in Los Angeles, California.


A COMMON TOPIC ON THE JOBS HE WAS TAKING: CRAZINESS

Along with the morbid comedic projects we mentioned before, he was also taking part in “The Crazy Ones”. According to Williams, this was “a regular job. Day to day, you go to the plant, you put your punch card in, you get out. That’s a good job.” However, the critics were not too keen on his performance.

Image Credits: Getty Images / Kevin Winter | Comedian/actor Robin Williams appears on "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" at the NBC Studios on October 14, 2004 in Burbank, California.

Image Credits: Getty Images / Kevin Winter | Comedian/actor Robin Williams appears on "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" at the NBC Studios on October 14, 2004 in Burbank, California.

“Williams seems exhausted. So is this show,” one said. However, his friend Dawber, who was also part of the cast, commented “I did that show only because I wanted to see Robin. Not because I thought it was a great show. I thought it was such the wrong show for Robin, and he was working as hard as he could.”

Image Credits: Getty Images / Jim Britt / Walt Disney Television | Actor Robin Williams.

Image Credits: Getty Images / Jim Britt / Walt Disney Television | Actor Robin Williams.


FRIENDS COULD SEE HOW LIFE WAS TREATING HIM

Dawber continued about how she felt seeing Robin. “The couple of episodes I saw, I felt so sorry for him, because he was just sweating bullets. He was sweet and wonderful and loving and sensitive. But I would come home and say to my husband, ‘Something’s wrong. He’s flat. He’s lost the spark. I don’t know what it is.’”

Image Credits: Getty Images / Caroline Schiff | Actor Robin Williams in a promotional portrait for the Search for the Cause campaign, which raises funds for cancer research.

Image Credits: Getty Images / Caroline Schiff | Actor Robin Williams in a promotional portrait for the Search for the Cause campaign, which raises funds for cancer research.


ROBIN’S LIFE AT HOME WAS NOT BETTER

Apart from the struggles in his professional life, his personal one was not any different, and his love life, in particular, was causing some waves in his happiness. Robin was initially married to Marsha, and their relationship was very different from the one he had with his new wife, Susan.

Image Credits: Getty Images / Kevin Winter | Actor Robin Williams arrives at the premiere of Magnolia Pictures' "World's Greatest Dad" at The Landmark Theater on August 13, 2009 in Los Angeles, California.

Image Credits: Getty Images / Kevin Winter | Actor Robin Williams arrives at the premiere of Magnolia Pictures' "World's Greatest Dad" at The Landmark Theater on August 13, 2009 in Los Angeles, California.

Marsha would take charge of the domestic life, from decoration and housekeeping to organizing social events, ensuring that Williams was surrounded by stimulating friends. Susan, on the other hand, had always been extremely independent, thus not taking on the responsibilities of Robin’s day-to-day. By doctors’ orders, the couple also had separate rooms. 

Image Credits: Getty Images / Rick Diamond | Comedian Robin Williams performs at Chastain Park Amphitheater in Atlanta Georgia. May 10, 1986.

Image Credits: Getty Images / Rick Diamond | Comedian Robin Williams performs at Chastain Park Amphitheater in Atlanta Georgia. May 10, 1986.


“HELLO DARKNESS, MY OLD FRIEND”, HOW WILLIAMS’ FRIENDS SAW IT COMING

Even though the ending was not expected, some friends of the actor did come forward explaining how they saw how his mental health was deteriorating. In fact, his son Zak commented “I’m kicking myself for not visiting him during that time.” 

Image Credits: Getty Images / Kevin Winter | Presenter Robin Williams speaks onstage during the 65th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards held at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on September 22, 2013 in Los Angeles, California.

Image Credits: Getty Images / Kevin Winter | Presenter Robin Williams speaks onstage during the 65th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards held at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on September 22, 2013 in Los Angeles, California.

“Because I think that was a very lonely period for him. In retrospect, I feel like I should have been there, spending time with him. Because someone who needs support was not getting the support he needed,” he continued.

Image Credits: Getty Images / Harry Langdon | Actor and comedian Robin Williams poses for a portrait circa 1999 in Los Angeles, California.

Image Credits: Getty Images / Harry Langdon | Actor and comedian Robin Williams poses for a portrait circa 1999 in Los Angeles, California.


AN ARRAY OF MENTAL AND PHYSICAL SYMPTOMS 

“It was like this endless parade of symptoms, and not all of them would raise their head at once,” Susan commented on how his health quickly declined. “It was like playing whack-a-mole. Which symptom is it this month? ... We’re chasing it and there are no answers, and by now we’d tried everything.”

Image Credits: Getty Images / Jack Mitchell | Actor and comedian Robin Williams photographed in April 1984.

Image Credits: Getty Images / Jack Mitchell | Actor and comedian Robin Williams photographed in April 1984.

“He wasn’t feeling well, but he didn’t let on to me all that was going on,” Bill Crystal said. “As he would say to me, ‘I’m a little crispy.’ I didn’t know what was happening, except he wasn’t happy.” Another friend, Cyndi, commented, “I don’t think the people around him knew how to handle it and how to help him.”

Image Credits: Getty Images / Mark Davis / NBC / NBCUniversal | An image of the late Robin Williams appears while actor/comedian Billy Crystal speaks on stage during the 66th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards held at the Nokia Theater on August 25, 2014.

Image Credits: Getty Images / Mark Davis / NBC / NBCUniversal | An image of the late Robin Williams appears while actor/comedian Billy Crystal speaks on stage during the 66th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards held at the Nokia Theater on August 25, 2014.


THE PERFECT STORM

“Look, it’s the perfect storm. He had a physical condition that was manifesting. He knew there was something wrong with [him]. And two of his best friends—my late husband and Christopher Reeve—ended up [unhappy]” Cyndi continued. This certainly affected Robin. 

Image Credits: Getty Images / Michael Caulfield / WireImage | Actors Zelda Williams (L) and Robin Williams arrive at the premiere of Walt Disney Pictures' "Old Dogs" held at the El Capitan Theatre on November 9, 2009 in Hollywood, California.

Image Credits: Getty Images / Michael Caulfield / WireImage | Actors Zelda Williams (L) and Robin Williams arrive at the premiere of Walt Disney Pictures' "Old Dogs" held at the El Capitan Theatre on November 9, 2009 in Hollywood, California.

“So he’s thinking, O.K., I’m losing control ... I think he was just trapped,” she explained about how Williams had trouble handling his current state. According to those closest to him, there has been a steady decline in his health conditions for a long time before his passing. 

Image Credits: Getty Images / Bruce Glikas / FilmMagic | Ben Stiller and Robin Williams pose backstage at the hit play "Bengal Tiger At The Baghdad Zoo" on Broadway at The Richard Rogers Theater on April 3, 2011 in New York City.

Image Credits: Getty Images / Bruce Glikas / FilmMagic | Ben Stiller and Robin Williams pose backstage at the hit play "Bengal Tiger At The Baghdad Zoo" on Broadway at The Richard Rogers Theater on April 3, 2011 in New York City.


HOW THOSE CLOSE TO HIM SAW HIM GETTING AWAY

“I hadn’t seen him in about four or five months at the time, and when he got out of the car I was a little taken aback by how he looked. He was thinner and he seemed a little frail,” Cyndi commented on how she first saw him when a group of friends made plans to see a show.

Image Credits: Getty Images / Michael Loccisano | Actor/comedian Robin Williams attends the after party for opening night of "Bengal Tiger At The Baghdad Zoo" at Espace on March 31, 2011 in New York City.

Image Credits: Getty Images / Michael Loccisano | Actor/comedian Robin Williams attends the after party for opening night of "Bengal Tiger At The Baghdad Zoo" at Espace on March 31, 2011 in New York City.

“He seemed quite [...] he’d just reach out and hold my shoulder and look at me like he wanted to say something,” she continued about how Williams behaved during dinner. “He hugged me goodbye, [...] and he started crying. I said, ‘What’s the matter?’ He said, ‘[...]I’m just so happy to see you. It’s been too long. You know I love you.’”

Image Credits: Getty Images / Kevin Winter / DMI / The LIFE Picture Collection | American comedian Robin Williams holds his son Zachary at the Comic Relief '87 charity event, Los Angeles, California, Novemeber 14, 1987.

Image Credits: Getty Images / Kevin Winter / DMI / The LIFE Picture Collection | American comedian Robin Williams holds his son Zachary at the Comic Relief '87 charity event, Los Angeles, California, Novemeber 14, 1987.


LOSING LIFE, ALL ALONE

“It was really difficult to see someone suffering so silently,” his son Zak said. “But I think that there were a series of things that stacked, that led to an environment that he felt was one of pain, the internal anguish, and one that he couldn’t get out of.”

Image Credits: Getty Images / U.S. Air Force / Vincent A. Parker | Comedian Robin Williams performs in front of a crowd of 2,500 during a brief visit to Incirlik Air Base October 14, 2002 in Turkey. Williams met with forward-deployed 39th Wing personnel and family members supporting Operations Northern Watch and Enduring Freedom.

Image Credits: Getty Images / U.S. Air Force / Vincent A. Parker | Comedian Robin Williams performs in front of a crowd of 2,500 during a brief visit to Incirlik Air Base October 14, 2002 in Turkey. Williams met with forward-deployed 39th Wing personnel and family members supporting Operations Northern Watch and Enduring Freedom.

“And the challenge in engaging with him when he was in that mind-set was that he could be soothed, but it’s really hard when you then go back into an environment of isolation. Isolation is not good for Dad and people like him. It’s actually terrible,” Zak continued about how his father would end up hiding from others.

Image Credits: Getty Images / Jack Mitchell | Actor and comedian Robin Williams photographed in April 1984.

Image Credits: Getty Images / Jack Mitchell | Actor and comedian Robin Williams photographed in April 1984.


THE CALM BEFORE THE STORM: ROBIN'S LAST WORDS

“He seemed like he was doing better, like he was on the path of something,” Susan commented. “I’m thinking, ‘O.K., stuff is working. The medication, he’s getting sleep.’" She mentioned that before going to bed, he told her "Goodnight, my love", his last words which "still echo through [her] heart today."

Image Credits: Getty Images / Hollywood Pictures | Actor Robin Williams.

Image Credits: Getty Images / Hollywood Pictures | Actor Robin Williams.

The next morning, August 11th, Susan noticed that Robin was still in his room as his door was closed, and she believed that he was still sleeping and “getting better”. However, when she noticed that it was too late and Robin still hadn’t come out of his room, she went to check on him and discovered what happened.

Image Credits: Getty Images / Bruce Glikas / FilmMagic | Robin Williams poses at the "Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo" Broadway cast photo call at The New 42nd Street Studios on February 16, 2011 in New York City.

Image Credits: Getty Images / Bruce Glikas / FilmMagic | Robin Williams poses at the "Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo" Broadway cast photo call at The New 42nd Street Studios on February 16, 2011 in New York City.

Robin Williams' passing shocked fans and friends across the world. Dave Itzkoff shared his last moments in the biographic novel titled “Robin”, bringing awareness to how it is important to notice the small details. The actor is dearly missed. Which Robin Williams film is your favorite? Leave us a comment and please be sure to click the share button! 

ⓘ The information in this article is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. All content, including text, and images contained on, or available through this ENG.AMOMAMA.COM is for general information purposes only. ENG.AMOMAMA.COM does not take responsibility for any action taken as a result of reading this article. Before undertaking any course of treatment please consult with your healthcare provider.

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