Devastating news from the Marin County Sheriff: Academy Award-winning actor, comedian and longtime Bay Area resident Robin Williams is dead at age 63. The actor, who publicly battled substance abuse issues and was recently admitted to a "renewal center" in an effort to maintain his sobriety, was found by members of his family this morning in his Tiburon home, the victim of an apparent suicide. Williams' publicist, Mara Buxbaum, confirmed the news and said the actor had recently been battling "severe depression."
This is upsetting news for the generations of fans that loved, laughed and grew up with the star, as well as many Bay Area residents, who have proudly claimed Williams as an adoptive native son. From his early sitcom antics on his breakout hit Mork and Mindy to the roles in films including Good Morning, Vietnam, The Dead Poets Society and Good Will Hunting, San Franciscans have long had a sense of sharing the triumphs with the entertainer. The house that Williams' shared with his family for many years in the Sea Cliff district of San Francisco was famous to local children for its dinosaur topiary peaking above the garden wall like the playful friend we all imagined Robin Williams to be.
Williams' talent was truly multi-dimensional, from the lightning-fast comedy that propelled him to fame to the iconic San Francisco-set drag comedy Mrs. Doubtfire, which remains a hallmark for millennials who saw the film as children. Where is Sean, Williams' unconventional therapist in Good Will Hunting, who comforts a young Will? Where is his Tex Avery-witted Genie from Aladdin to grant us a final wish? Or the loving gay father of The Birdcage to help us "keep it all inside?" Where is our one last comforting whisper in Mrs. Doubtfire's gentle Scottish lilt?