9 Things We Recently Learned About Robin Williams

Eva Rinaldi

Robin Williams was incredibly talented as both an actor and comedian, but there are many things that the average fan doesn’t know about his life. While he was funny, he was also kind. While he was funny, he also suffered from depression, yet that’s not what caused him to take his own life.

Scroll down to discover 9 little known things about Robin Williams’ life.

  1. He Stole Jokes

    Williams admitted that he stole jokes, but he didn’t do it intentionally. He would often go to comedy clubs to hear other comedians perform, and later, when he was performing and doing improv, sometimes something he heard another comedian say would slip out of his own mouth during his performance. Williams said that if a comedian confronted him about stealing a joke, he would apologize and pay him for the joke.

  2. He Committed Suicide Because of Dementia Not Depression

    While Williams did in fact suffer from depression, it’s not as widely known that he also suffered from a form of dementia known as Lewy body dementia. According to the Mayo Clinic, this form of dementia causes “visual hallucinations and changes in alertness and attention.” Williams was diagnosed with dementia about a year before he committed suicide, and he was diagnosed with Parkinsons about 3 months prior. If he hadn’t ended his own life, doctors only expected him to live about three more years.

  3. He Tried to Cheer Up Steven Spielberg

    When Steven Spielberg was filming “Schindler’s List,” Williams would call him every week to try to cheer him up. Spielberg explained that Willaims would “do 15 minutes of stand-up on the phone. I would laugh hysterically, because I had to release so much.”

  4. He Visited Christopher Reeve in the Hospital

    In 1995, actor Christopher Reeve fell off a horse and became paralyzed. Williams was the very first person to visit him at the hospital. He put on medical scrubs and pretended to be Reeve’s proctologist. The gag made Reeve laugh and know that it was all going to be okay. The two had been friends since the 1970s when they attended Juilliard together.

  5. He Was With John Belushi the Night Before Belushi Died

    Belushi had been drinking and was hanging out with a drug dealer. Williams visited him at the Chateau Marmont and invited him to visit his ranch in Topanga Canyon. Belushi died of a drug overdose in his sleep just a few hours after Williams left his hotel.

  6. He Prevented Oprah from Outing Nathan Lane

    In 1996, Williams and Lane appeared on Oprah Winfrey’s show to promote the film “The Birdcage.” At this point, Lane’s parents and many people in the theater community knew that Lane was gay, but he wasn’t yet ready to tell the world. When Winfrey tried to bring up the topic during the interview, Williams intentionally diverted the conversation.

  7. Disney Gave Williams a Picasso

    In the 1990s, Williams was paid about $8 million for each film, but he made an exception for “Aladdin.” He agreed to be the voice of the genie for only $75,000 as long as Disney didn’t use the character in advertising such as toys or merchandise. Disney did use the genie to promote the film, and when they found out Williams was upset about it, they sent him a Picasso worth about $1 million to try to make things right.

  8. He Wanted to Play Hagrid in “Harry Potter”

    The casting for “Harry Potter” was British only. Even though Williams wanted to be in the film and even called to ask to be in the film, he was turned down because he was an American.

  9. His Daughter Is Named After a Video Game Character

    Back in the 1980s, Williams admitted to playing a certain video game for many hours. He said the game was “Zelda,” which could mean that it was either “The Legend of Zelda” or “The Adventure of Link.” Either way, when his daughter was born in 1989, he named her Zelda after the video game character.