Marin County Sheriffs: Robin Williams Death Was Suicide By Hangi - Fox 2 News Headlines

ADVERTISEMENT
Bookmark and Share

Marin County Sheriffs: Robin Williams Death Was Suicide By Hanging

Posted: Updated:
San Fernando, CA -

(FOX 11 /AP) He was the funniest guy in the room, something that made it all the harder for friends and fans to accept that beneath that reservoir of frenetic energy and seemingly endless good humor resided demons so dark they could push Robin Williams to suicide.

It was no secret that the Oscar-winning actor had suffered for years from periodic bouts of substance abuse and depression - he made reference to it himself in his comedy routines. But word that he had killed himself Monday at his San Francisco Bay Area home left both friends in the Hollywood community and neighbors in the quiet neighborhood of Tiburon that he called home equally stunned and grief-stricken.

"It was so sudden and he was such a great guy and it's such a loss to the whole community," said Daniel Jennings who lived across the street from Williams in the quiet neighborhood where the actor was often seen riding his bike and stopping to talk to neighbors. One thing he never did, residents said, was act like a celebrity.

"He was really nice to all the neighbors," Daniels said. "Really appreciated his kindness."

He was last seen alive at home about 10 p.m. Sunday, according to the Marin County coroner's office. Shortly before noon, the Sheriff's Department received an emergency call from the home, where the star of "Good Will Hunting," "Mrs. Doubtfire," "Good Morning, Vietnam" and dozens of other films was pronounced dead.

Sheriff's officials said a preliminary investigation determined the cause of death was suicide due to asphyxia. Williams was 63.

From Bob DeCastro:

There was a huge outpouring of sadness on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Fans throughout the day brought flowers, candles, and left messages to say their final farewells to comedic legend Robin Williams.

Williams burst onto the scene in the late 1970s as the loveable alien in the TV classic, 'Mork and Mindy'. His frenetic energy on full display in movies like 'Good Morning Vietnam' and ‘Mrs. Doubtfire'.

But beneath the smiles was an inner turmoil. Williams battled depression and substance abuse. He had recently checked into a treatment center to help keep his sobriety in check. Shortly before noon Monday, the Marin County Sheriff's Department received a 9-1-1 call about a man unresponsive at his home. Williams was pronounced dead at the scene.

Sheriff officials say the preliminary investigation determined the cause of death was suicide, due to asphyxia.

Williams was nominated for the academy award four times. His first and only win, was for his role in the 1997 drama, 'Good Will Hunting." Artist, husband, father. The last picture Williams posted on his Instagram account was to wish his daughter Zelda a happy 25th birthday.

Last night, his daughter paid tribute to her father. Along with a poem, she added the words, “I love you. I miss you. I will try to keep looking up."

Williams leaves behind a wife, a brother, three children, and two stepsons.

"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," said Williams' wife, Susan Schneider. "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."

Williams had been battling severe depression recently, said Mara Buxbaum, his press representative. Just last month, he announced he was returning to a 12-step treatment program he said he needed after 18 months of nonstop work. He had sought treatment in 2006 after a relapse following 20 years of sobriety.

Williams joked about that fall off the wagon during a comedy tour, saying, "I went to rehab in wine country to keep my options open."

Likewise, when word spread about his struggles with drugs in the early 1980s, Williams responded with a joke that for a time became a catchphrase for his generation's recreational drug use: "Cocaine is God's way of telling you you are making too much money."

His struggles never seemed to affect his talent.

From his breakthrough in the late 1970s as the alien in the hit TV show "Mork & Mindy," through his standup act and numerous hit films, the short, barrel-chested Williams ranted and shouted as if just sprung from solitary confinement. Loud, fast and manic, he parodied everyone from John Wayne to Keith Richards, impersonating a Russian immigrant as easily as a pack of Nazi attack dogs.

He was a riot in drag in "Mrs. Doubtfire," or as a cartoon genie in "Aladdin."

He could do drama, too, winning his Academy Award as an empathetic therapist in the 1997 film "Good Will Hunting."

He won Golden Globes for "Good Morning, Vietnam," `'Mrs. Doubtfire" and "The Fisher King."

Other film credits included Robert Altman's "Popeye" (a box office bomb), Paul Mazursky's "Moscow on the Hudson," Steven Spielberg's "Hook" and Woody Allen's "Deconstructing Harry."

"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," Spielberg said.

More recently, he appeared in the "Night at the Museum" movies, playing President Theodore Roosevelt in the comedies in which Ben Stiller's security guard has to contend with wax figures that come alive and wreak havoc after a museum closes. The third film in the series is in post-production, according to the Internet Movie Database.

In April, Fox 2000 said it was developing a sequel to "Mrs. Doubtfire" and Williams was in talks to join the production.

Williams also made a short-lived return to TV last fall in CBS' "The Crazy Ones," a sitcom about a father-daughter ad agency team that co-starred Sarah Michelle Gellar. It was canceled after one season.

As word of his death spread, tributes from inside and outside the entertainment industry poured in.

"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. 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 marginalized on our own streets," President Barack Obama said in a statement.

Born in Chicago in 1951, Williams would remember himself as a shy kid who got some early laughs from his mother - by mimicking his grandmother. He opened up more in high school when he joined the drama club, and he was accepted into the Juilliard Academy, where he had several classes in which he and Christopher Reeve were the only students and John Houseman was the teacher.

Encouraged by Houseman to pursue comedy, Williams identified with the wildest and angriest of performers: Jonathan Winters, Lenny Bruce, Richard Pryor, George Carlin. Their acts were not warm and lovable. They were just being themselves.

The death of Robin Williams has sent a shockwave through the comedy world...fellow comedian Christopher Titus was here to talk more about that. Titus called Williams 'The Beatles Of Comedy.' Click HERE to see the Good Day LA interview.

"You look at the world and see how scary it can be sometimes and still try to deal with the fear," he said in 1989. "Comedy can deal with the fear and still not paralyze you or tell you that it's going away. You say, OK, you got certain choices here, you can laugh at them and then once you've laughed at them and you have expunged the demon, now you can deal with them. That's what I do when I do my act."

He unveiled Mork, the alien from the planet Ork, in an appearance on "Happy Days" and was granted his own series, which ran from 1978 to 1982 and co-starred Pam Dawber as a woman who takes in the interplanetary visitor.

"I am completely and totally devastated," Dawber said in a statement. "What more can be said?"

Williams could handle a script, when he felt like it, and also think on his feet. He ad-libbed in many of his films and was just as quick in person. During a media tour for "Awakenings," when director Penny Marshall mistakenly described the film as being set in a "menstrual hospital," instead of "mental hospital," Williams quickly stepped in and joked, "It's a period piece."

Winner of a Grammy in 2003 for best spoken comedy album, "Robin Williams - Live 2002," he once likened his act to the daily jogs he took across the Golden Gate Bridge. There were times he would look over the edge, one side of him pulling back in fear, the other insisting he could fly.

"You have an internal critic, an internal drive that says, `OK, you can do more.' Maybe that's what keeps you going," Williams said. "Maybe that's a demon. ... Some people say, `It's a muse.' No, it's not a muse! It's a demon! DO IT YOU BASTARD!! HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!! THE LITTLE DEMON!!"

In addition to his wife, Williams is survived by his three children: daughter Zelda, 25; and sons Zachary, 31, and Cody, 22.



STATEMENT FROM HIS WIFE, SUSAN:
"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."
- Susan Schneider, wife

STATEMENT FROM 'MINDY', PAM DAWBER:

"I am completely devastated. What more can be said?!"

STATEMENT FROM HIS REP, MARA:
"Robin Williams passed away this morning. He has been battling severe depression of late. This is a tragic and sudden loss. The family respectfully asks for their privacy as they grieve during this very difficult time." -- Mara Buxbaum, press representative for Robin Williams

STATEMENT FROM PRESIDENT OBAMA:



THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 11, 2014

Statement by the President on the Passing of Robin Williams

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.  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 marginalized 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.


Statements from Garry Marshall regarding the death of Robin Williams

“Once, years ago, Robin and I were walking on the Paramount lot near the set of our show “Mork and Mindy.” It was very late at night and we were talking and walking. Robin loved to stay up late and always had more energy than any person anywhere, in any room. I said to him that night, “Do you think we will ever grow up?” And he said without missing a beat, “I'm afraid if I ever grow up, I won't be able to make a living.” Play was his passion and what drove him each day.”

“I will never forget the day I met him and he stood on his head in my office chair and pretended to drink a glass of water using his finger like a straw. The first season of “Murk and Mindy” I knew immediately that a three-camera format would not be enough to capture Robin and his genius talent. So I hired a fourth camera operator and he just followed Robin. Only Robin. Looking back, four cameras weren't enough. I should have hired a fifth camera to follow him too.”

“Robin was hands-down a comedy genius and one of the most talented performers I have ever worked with in television or film. To lose him so young at the age of 63 is just a tragedy. I will forever be in awe of his timing, his talent and his pure and golden creativity. He could make everybody happy, but himself. He was my friend and it is rare that you ever have a friend that is also a genius.”

                                                                                                      ####


Williams rose to fame with his role as the alien Mork in the TV series Mork & Mindy, then went on to establish a successful career in both stand-up comedy and feature film acting. His film career included such acclaimed films as Good Morning, Vietnam, Dead Poets Society, Awakenings, The Fisher King, Good Will Hunting as well as big movies like Popeye, Hook, Aladdin, Mrs. Doubtfire, Jumanji, The Birdcage, Night at the Museum, and Happy Feet. He was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actor three times, and he won the best supporting actor award for Good Will Hunting.  He also received two Emmys, four Golden Globes, two Screen Actors Guild Awards and five Grammy Awards.

Powered by WorldNow

WJBK-TV | Fox 2
16550 West Nine Mile Rd.
Southfield, MI 48075

Main Station: (248) 557-2000
Newsroom: (248) 552-5103

Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | New Terms of Service What's new | Ad Choices