Death Of A Comic Legend- Robin Williams’ Suicide
Robin Williams and his former nanny cum wife, Marsha Garces, were my customers at Charivari, a clothing store on 57th street, back in the late 80’s.
I’ll never forget helping him choose items, from the Yohji Yamamoto collection he loved so much, or getting down on my knees, to mark his pants for alterations. He was low-key, kind and warm.
It must have been a year later, when I literally ROLLED into them ,on the corner of 72nd and Columbus, as they were looking into the window at another one of the Charivari stores.
I roller skated right up to them, like they were my best friends in the world. “Hi, how are you, I exclaimed!”
Robin replied to me, “Great, I’m in town doing Waiting for Godot, with Mike Nichols.”
Of course, I knew that. What self-respecting unemployed actor wouldn’t?
“I’d give anything to see that show” I blurted.
To which he replied, “It’s all sold out”…something I had also known.
His wife Marsha Garces, reached into her waist pack, and held up a coveted ticket. “I have one for tonight,” she exclaimed.
“How much do you want for it,” I asked.
“How much have you got,” she prodded.
“Nothing, really. I’m broke. I’m a struggling actor at this time. I’m not working at Charivari any more.”
Robin and Marsha looked at each other. Marsha said, “Oh, here. Take it. Enjoy the show! Oh, and… you’ll be sitting next to one of Americas most foremost Producer- Directors, Stanley Kramer. Please don’t scare him.”
I took the priceless pass to a magical night at the theatre, and smiled ear to ear. We all hugged. “Thank you, I yelled, Break A Leg!”
Stuffing the paper into my waistpack, I skated off, back to my 26th studio apartment. I was screaming to myself that I couldn’t believe what was happening and this actor, was going to prepare.
Rolling into Shakespeare Books on Broadway, I proceeded to do my research. I wasn’t going for the wi-fi, or to look up IMDB on a computer in the cafe. There was no such thing. I had to look up who this Stanley Kramer was, in a book!
I memorized a long list of his movies, so I could rattle them off to him, and he would think me smart:-)
Perhaps he would even cast me in something!
Lincoln Center’s “Waiting For Godot” will remain one of my favorite plays of all time. I am so lucky, to have shared this experience with Stanley Kramer, my new bestie.
Kramer and I had some cranberry juices together, during intermission, and after the show, he took me backstage to meet Robin’s co-stars, Steve Martin, F. Murray Abraham, and Bill Erwin.
Robin Willams’ recent suicide has shaken me to my core, on so many levels.
The tragic circumstances of Robin Williams’ depression, and subsequent suicide, has churned up my own feelings, of our family’s loss, and the devastation that mental illness brings.
I’ll never forget that night, so many years ago. Sleeping soundly, next to my husband at the time, the loud and startling, ringing of the phone, woke me out of a deep sleep. I reached for it.
“Hi, Vicki. Put Steve on the phone,” said my father in law.
I woke up my husband, and handed it over the handset. “It’s your father.”
“Uh huh. Ok. We’ll be right there,” Steve said.
Where the hell were we going? What was happening?
Steve broke the news to me. My younger brother, Stewie, had killed himself. With a gun. He was only 18 years old.
Something else that I will NEVER forget, is being in my parent’s living room, during the wee hours of the morning, watching my sweet father, rock back and forth in his chair.
I’d never seen my dad cry before. How hard and long he cried.
Needless to say, this tragic event still haunts me to this day, so many decades later.
The death my suicide of the world’s beloved Robin Williams, has awoken my thoughts about the tragedies and sadness involved with mental illness.
Williams’ death has rocked me to my core, and forced me to take a good look, very deep inside myself.
The Chicken Or The Egg?
I’m making this long story very short, but only 4 months before Stewzer’s death, I almost died on the operating table, after giving birth by emergency C-section to a baby boy who only lived for 2 hours.
The months leading up to this, were horrific for my family. I had discovered in my 7th month of pregnancy, that the child I was carrying, had very little brain tissue ,and would probably not survive too long after being delivered.
1982 was not a happy time for the Weinerman family, and the suicide of my little brother in February 1982, was the icing on a big, and disgusting tasting cake.
My wonderful and adorable mother did her best, to turn this into a teachable moment. She became a volunteer for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, and tried to live with the pain of losing her child.
The Egg Or The Chicken?
But, back to me.
An obese teenager, weighing in at close to 190 pounds, I would come home from high school every day, and cried in bed.
Is that when my own depression started? Did it start when Stewzer left us? Or when I lost my baby?
I don’t know.
But, thanks to Dr. Phil, therapy, medications, and talking to other people, I at least, understand the depression…somewhat.
If you ask me, almost everyone I talk to, has some symptoms of mental illness . So many people self medicate with booze, pills, pot and sex and they don’t even recognize what they are going through.
Depression isn’t fun. Sometime it just appears, and often it can be situational. I just do the best that I can every day.
In short, I just want people to realize, that the cheerful outgoing person you see on stage, or at a party, just might be crying tears of a clown, when he or she, is home alone.
Thanks for reading my story. I hope this story sheds some light for someone else, or at least brings a tear to your eye. Please keep the conversation going about #depression, #mental illness, and #suicide.
Robin and Stewie. I miss you both very much. I am sorry you had to endure so much mental anguish, and sorry you have to leave this world so soon.