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Heartwarming Behind-The-Scenes Stories About Robin Williams

Updated September 4, 2020 36.2k votes 4.4k voters 101.7k views12 items

List RulesVote up the stories that make you really, really miss Robin Williams.

Robin Williams was one of those rare, tour-de-force performers who was able to bring a thousand characters to life - often in rapid succession. After his unexpected passing in 2014, celebrities and fans alike shared their love for the late comedian. 

According to those who worked with him, Williams's heart was as big as the characters he portrayed. Former costars have shared some heartwarming behind-the-scenes stories about Williams, from the time he put on an impromptu comedy show in a park to the time he wrote to a younger costar's principal to reverse her expulsion. Friends and family of Williams know that they ain't never had a friend like him. 

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    He Calmed Comedian Norm Macdonald's Nerves Before A 'Letterman' Set With A Yiddish Tailor Impression

    Comedian Norm Macdonald was just a burgeoning young comedian when he first met Williams. In a Twitter thread, Macdonald recalled his first time on the Late Show with David Letterman and how nervous he was to perform. He had to follow Williams's performance, and Macdonald was freaking out on the phone with a friend. Williams heard Macdonald talking about him, came into his dressing room, and started performing a variety of wild impressions:

    It was my first stand-up appearance on Letterman and I had to follow the funniest man in the world. I was a punk kid from rural Ontario and I was in my dressing room, terrified. I was on the phone to a friend back home when the funniest man in the world ambled by. There was no one else on the floor. In shock, I told my friend who just walked by. Only the funniest man in the world. I guess he heard me say his name, cause in an instant he was at my side. 

    He was a jewish tailor, taking my measurements. He went down on his knees, asked which way I dressed. I told my friend on the phone that the funniest man in the world was on his knees before me, measuring my inseam. My friend didn't believe me so I said, "Could you talk to my friend, sir." The funniest man in the world took the phone and for ten minutes took my friend's Chinese food order. I laughed and laughed and it was like I was in a dream because no one else was there. No one. 

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    While Filming ‘Hook,’ He Gave A Young Actor Who Loved ‘Dead Poets Society’ A Walt Whitman Poetry Book

    Dante Basco, who played the leader of the Lost Boys, Rufio, in Hook, was really excited to start filming the 1991 reimagining of the Peter Pan story. On the second anniversary of Williams's passing in August 2016, the former child star spoke to The Hollywood Reporter about how big of an influence Williams was on him - and how he encouraged his love of poetry:

    He was just a warm and welcoming spirit, and that, for me, will live forever... My favorite movie going into the film was Dead Poets Society, and we spent hours on end, away from everyone else, just getting ready in the morning, talking about poetry.

    He would bring in poems he wanted me to read, and I was writing poetry a lot. He ended up giving me Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass, this really beautiful leather-bound book for my wrap present, and I gave him a hat that said "Oh Captain, My Captain" that I got stitched up at a swap meet.

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    He Recommended That His Agent Sign Ethan Hawke, Williams’s Costar In ‘Dead Poets Society’

    Ethan Hawke appeared on Conan in September 2018. While speaking to host Conan O'Brien, Hawke reminisced about his time on set with Robin Williams for Dead Poets Society. Hawke talked about how Williams would tease him for being such a serious actor, and how that helped land Hawke representation:

    He'd be making fun of me, call me a wet rag, saying "Oh, Mr. Hawke doesn't think it's funny," and he would like, bow down and I'm like, "I'm just trying to stay in character dude, leave me alone!" And I really thought he hated me... and then, the movie ended, and I got this call and they said, "Hey, I'm Robin Williams's agent, and he says that you're really good and that you need an agent." And so Robin helped me get my very first agent, and he hooked me up. 

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    He Teared Up When The Producers Of 'The Crazy Ones' Surprised Him With A Former Costar

    He Teared Up When The Producers Of 'The Crazy Ones' Surprised Him With A Former Costar
    Photo: CBS

    Pam Dawber played Mindy alongside Williams's Mork on Mork & Mindy. Williams transitioned to the big screen after the show's run, and Dawber found herself slowly moving away from Hollywood. But when the producers of Williams's show The Crazy Ones approached her about a possible cameo in early 2014, she couldn't resist.

    The best part? Dawber and the producers surprised Williams with the cameo. The A.V. Club's Will Harris revealed that The Crazy Ones writer-producer Tracy Poust said Williams "got misty-eyed" when they told him Dawber had signed on for the show, to which she replied: 

    I don’t know what it is about the two of us, but I have just loved him on a very deep level. Robin is truly one of the kindest, most caring people I’ve ever met. He cares about all the younger cast members, and I’m so happy they’ve surrounded him with such talented kids. 

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