I’ve lived in a big city and worked in movies for nearly ten years now. When I go home to visit old friends, I always get asked the same questions. What celebrities have you met? I hate this question, but I list a few names and just get it over with. But I do have one story that I’ve always loved, and today, I’ve cherished it.
I was 19, working to put myself through film school in an old movie theater. That night, I was working in concession. It was a busy night, because ‘Brothers Grimm’ had just come out and it was doing really well. The next person came up to my till, and it was Robin Williams.
What I noticed about him first was that he didn’t hide. He took the time to sign autographs for the people who came up to him. He shook hands with the people behind him. He ordered popcorn and a drink, and paid… in change.
Wait, what? I had to admit I thought it was kidding. he had a whole handful of change. He laughed, saying he had so much and he was trying to get rid of it. In person, he sounds just like he does on screen, like he’s always about to tell a joke. He rejoined his party, and went to up to see the movie.
When things had died down, I went to the box office to speak to the girl selling tickets. She said ‘you’ll never believe who just paid me using all nickles and dimes!’.
Throughout the years, I’ve met a good number of A list actors. I’m not trying to brag, but it does kind of go with the job. I’ve been disappointed, surprised and even overwhelmed. One of my all time favorite actors treated the people around him like servants, and i was crushed. But no Mr. Williams. While I only met him briefly, and it wasn’t during movie making, he was kind and funny. He took the time to be one of the people. He didn’t complain, he didn’t seem annoyed. He smiled and sat with the crowd.
I’ll always remember meeting him that day. I’ll always remember the movies of his I watched growing up. I’m incredibly saddened that he felt there was no way out. People have said ‘if I only had the chance to tell him what he meant to me.’ It wouldn’t have helped. Depression is something you simply can’t escape from. It’s something that eats at you, that affects your emotions on the deepest level. It’s something that makes you blind to the hundreds of people that love you.
My deepest sympathies go out to his family, most especially his children. I lost my father at about their age, and I know the affect it will have on them. This is truly a sad time.