Sunday 16 June 2019

Tributes to Robin Williams pour in from President Obama and Hollywood elite from Spielberg to Steve Martin

Kashmira Gander

US President Obama led tributes to actor Robin Williams on Monday, after the 63-year-old was found dead at his home in the US state of California.

The President called the Hollywood star a "one of a kind".

Robin Williams
Robin Williams

His comments came after Susan Schneider, the actor's wife, called her husband one of the world’s “most beloved artists and beautiful human beings”.

Police suspect William’s death was a suicide caused by asphyxiation. Marin County Sheriff's Office added that an investigation into William's death is currently underway.

The star, who appeared in hugely popular films including Mrs Doubtfire and Good Morning Vietnam, was last seen alive at his home, where he lived with Schneider, at around 10pm on Sunday.

Williams shot to fame in the late 1970s as an alien in the US TV comedy series Mork And Mindy, but he won his Oscar as the therapist in the drama Good Will Hunting.

Read: Robin Williams had been grappling with severe depression  

"Robin Williams was an airman, a doctor, a genie, a nanny, a president, a professor, a bangarang Peter Pan and everything in between. But he was one of a kind. He arrived in our lives as an alien - but he ended up touching every element of the human spirit," Obama said in a statement, ITV News reported.

"He made us laugh. He made us cry. He gave his immeasurable talent freely and generously to those who needed it most - from our troops stationed abroad to the marginalised on our own streets. The Obama family offers our condolences to Robin's family, his friends, and everyone who found their voice and their verse thanks to Robin Williams."

Ms Schneider said in a statement on Monday: “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."

Her moving comments were echoed by stars who had worked with or knew Williams during his lengthy career.

Read: Robin Williams (63) found dead at his home in California 

Director Steven Spielberg said in a statement: "Robin was a lightning storm of comic genius and our laughter was the thunder that sustained him. He was a pal, and I can't believe he's gone."

Steve Martin, who appeared alongside Williams in a 1988 theatre production of Waiting for Godot, said: "I could not be more stunned by the loss of Robin Williams, mensch, great talent, acting partner, genuine soul."

Talk show host Ellen DeGeneres tweeted: "I can't believe the news about Robin Williams. He gave so much to so many people. I'm heartbroken."

Prolific TV and music writer David Wild praised Williams' unpredictable humour, "Writing for #RobinWilliams was a joyride. He took your joke, added ten better ones & was ALWAYS kind. A great artist & a lovely man."

Ben Stiller, the comedic actor from the generation following Williams', said a tweet was not enough to describe Williams' talents, "A tweet cannot begin to describe the hugeness of Robin Williams heart and soul and talent. This is so sad. #RobinWilliams"

Read: ‘He struggled, he was enduring inner conflict’ – Robin Williams' Irish sober-living coach 

The Wrap reports a lengthier statement from Stiller: “I met Robin when I was 13 at The Improv. I was there with my parents who were performing and it was crowded and I heard this voice behind me saying ‘Stay close to your mother you'll be safe! Stay close to your mother you'll be safe!’ I turned around and it was Robin. For a 13-year old who was a huge ‘Mork & Mindy’ fan it was sort of like the end of the world. I never forgot it.

"So working with him years later, I always had this little voice insides of me going, ‘You are acting with Robin Williams! This is the coolest thing ever!’ I never got over being a fan. I think most people my age have the same feeling — that he and Steve Martin and Bill Murray sort of represented what it meant to be funny.

“His kindness and generosity is what I think of. How kind he was to anyone who wanted to connect with him. And he could not help but be funny all the time. He would do something as long as it would keep you laughing. He made many, many film crews laugh out loud before the audiences ever saw it. He made such a big impact on the world. So there is the man, and his talent, and I think in his case both were extraordinary”

30 Seconds to Mars singer and film actor Jared Leto tweeted that Williams was "original" and "brave": "Thank you to the beautifully original + brave artist that is #RobinWilliams. You taught us how to stand on the edge, fearless, + shine."

Moments: Remember THAT Oscars speech? Robin Williams' most memorable moments  

Back to the Future actor Michael J Fox called Williams "kind" and a "genius": "Famously kind, ferociously funny, a genius and a gentle soul. What a loss. #RobinWilliams"

Musician John Mayer tweeted, "The first thing I ever wanted to be when I grew up was Robin Williams' inhabiting of Popeye."

Actor Neil Patrick Harris also tweeted his shock: "I am stunned and just reeling from the news of Robin Williams' death. He brought so much joy and heart to millions ... Just, wow."

Actress Minnie Driver who worked on Good Will Hunting, said, "My Heart's broken. Robin was a beautiful, kind soul. Can't bear that he's gone. So incredibly sorry for his family."

Comedian Jimmy Kimmel said on Twitter: "Robin was as sweet a man as he was funny. If you're sad, please tell someone."

Hollywood star John Cusack tweeted saying: "A big tenacious overflowing hyperkinetic eruption of compassion would be (the) best tribute to Williams."

Comedian Jay Leno had been close friends with Williams for years and said in a statement, “I saw him on stage the very first time he auditioned at the improv in Los Angeles, and we have been friends ever since. It's a very sad day.”

Quotes: The poetic superstar: Robin Williams' most poignant off screen quotes 

Danny DeVito was also friends with the star, directing him in his 2002 film Death to Smoochy. He said the news was "hard to take" and that he was "devastated" and his heart was "broken by the news".

The Wrap reported a statement from director Chris Columbus who helmed Robin Williams' films Mrs Doubtfire and Bicentennial Man in which he said, “To watch Robin work, was a magical and special privilege. His performances were unlike anything any of us had ever seen, they came from some spiritual and otherworldly place. He truly was one of the few people who deserved the title of ‘genius.’ … The world was a better place with Robin in it. And his beautiful legacy will live on forever.”

Click here for tributes, photos, videos and some of Robin Williams' best moments

If you have been affected by any of the issues mentioned in this article, you can contact the Samaritans on 116 123

View the story "#RIPRobinWilliams" on Storify

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