WASHINGTON (CBSDC) — Like many around the world, I sat for hours last night trying to process the death of Robin Williams, a comedian and actor who was masterful at both crafts.
Eventually, I realized being rendered speechless by his death wouldn’t translate well into formal written public commentary, so I’m reserving that burden for my friend, entertainment reporter Kevin McCarthy, who’s had the good fortune of having interviewed Mr. Williams on multiple occasions.
“It literally took my breath away,” McCarthy said, processing the news in real time to 106.7 The Fan’s Bill Rohland Monday evening. “I honestly could not even breathe for a second, because he was one of the greatest actors of all time. And I was lucky enough to meet him a couple times and just kind of share some wonderful conversations with the man. I’m just shocked.”
“I mean I knew there were elements in his life that weren’t perfect, but I just didn’t know it would ever come to this,” he said.
“It’s definitely a devastating blow to Hollywood in general, but also anybody because he was a man who wasn’t just amazing on-camera; he was also an incredible human being off-camera. He would travel to Iraq and Afghanistan and entertain the troops, and that, to me is like … people who use their celebrity for good, I love that about people. And we’ve lost one of the greatest actors of all time.” (Listen in full below)
I reached out to Kevin, requesting he collect his thoughts and emotions for a more formal statement.
Here’s what he returned, uninterrupted, which he’s also since duplicated on Facebook.
“Not only was Robin Williams one of the best actors of all time, he was also one of the few actors who mastered the art of comedy AND drama. Williams commanded such a brilliant presence on and off screen with some of the most memorable characters in cinematic history. The majority of my childhood laughs came from watching his films whether it was ‘Aladdin,’ ’Jumanji’ or my personal favorite, ‘Mrs. Doubtfire.’ That’s why it was so mind-blowing to watch him in dramatic roles. If you haven’t seen ‘One Hour Photo,’ I highly recommend it! INCREDIBLE performance.
I loved that Williams used his ‘celebrity’ for good. Through the USO, he spent a lot of time in Iraq, Afghanistan and Kuwait entertaining the troops. He fully understood that his presence and laughter could bring so much joy.
I will always cherish the wonderful conversations we had; including the interview where we both admitted we had crushes on animated characters! I told him mine was Jasmine from ‘Aladdin,’ and he said his was Jessica Rabbit. He is one of the few comedians who was always ON. I’ve met many comedians who are never as funny in-person as they are on-screen. He was even FUNNIER in-person, and was completely tuned in when you were interviewing him.
The beauty of being an actor is that your work will live on forever. His work will be passed down from generation to generation. I can’t wait to have children of my own and show them “Aladdin” for the first time. His performances were timeless and touched the lives of all ages. Williams was nominated for four Academy Awards and won for Best Supporting Actor for “Good Will Hunting.” If it were up to me, he should have been nominated and won for ‘Mrs. Doubtfire.’
RIP Mr. Williams. Thanks for all your incredible work.”