Meeting Robin Williams

To the Editor: I first met Robin Williams during a private breakfast in San Francisco honoring the Queen of England and Prince Phillip in 1983.
Aug 20, 2014

Only 35 invited guests were permitted to attend, and, as the senior military officer in the Bay Area, Vice Adm. Charles E. Larkin and his wife were invited. Since I was his aide, I held all the protocol and invitations knowledge in my hand and in my head, so I was alongside the admiral and his wife wherever they were invited.

Once the breakfast started, I held my position by the wall, as I stood in my formal garb, and noticed a guest approaching me — it was Robin Williams, and his pregnant wife, Valerie. He stared glaringly at me and, he said in a comedic voice, “You moved! I saw you move!” I was taken aback and also star struck, so I smiled and said politely, “Why yes, I did” — knowing he meant that I was previously frozen in my space to avoid notoriety, but managed to position myself next to a large portrait of some famous San Francisco figure of old times dressed in military garb. Obviously, he thought I was too still and too similar to the portrait when I moved suddenly from my spot.

We continued the conversation about weather and my duties as aide, but he moved in and out of comedic voices and his common hand gestures, and it was hard to follow if he was serious or not in the discussions.

My impressions when I heard of his death reminded me of a show that pulled apart the brain of famous creative people and showed the difficulty that type of person has in controlling their creative side and their daily actions. I believe Robin Williams was that kind of person — so talented with sporadic offerings of his comic wit and humor.

Mike Smith
Spring Lake
(Retired Coast Guard commander)

 

Comments

Barry Soetoro

I sat next to Rodney Dangerfield on a flight to Las Vegas in 1992. He joked about the cheap Scotch whisky that Northwest Airlines served onboard.

Lanivan

Did he still drink it?

Barry Soetoro

Yup....as did I but you probably already knew that.

Off topic: NWA flew a DC-10 on that route that went from DTW-MSP-LAS and then on to LAX. Of course they still served a meal in coach back then too...the bygone days of air travel.

Lanivan

Air travel has gone the brown bag route - stuffing granola bars and Twizzlers in our pockets to tide us over. (Not that we can't possibly go 2-3 hours without food)....

My famous person story, from 1992: Staying at a nice hotel, and assigned a room that last was inhabited by a rock star - Prince! Suddenly, finding a bag of something special tucked under a chair cushion. What could it be? A momento of this momentous occasion?.....A 1/2-eaten bag of Dum-Dum lollipops.

Tri-cities realist

Did you eat them?

Lanivan

.......Yes. 8^(

cvocvo

Once I sat in a booth previously used by Paul "Pee Wee" Ruebens. The waitress said he was a very nice guy but left only an average tip.

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