Busy Working, Robin Williams Fought Demons

Busy Working, Robin Williams Fought Demons

People pause by a bench at Boston's Public Garden, Tuesday, Aug. 12, 2014, where a small memorial has sprung up at the place where Robin Williams filmed a scene during the movie, "Good Will Hunting." Williams, 63, died at his San Francisco Bay Area home Monday in an apparent suicide. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
People pause by a bench at Boston’s Public Garden, Tuesday, Aug. 12, 2014, where a small memorial has sprung up at the place where Robin Williams filmed a scene during the movie, “Good Will Hunting.” Williams, 63, died at his San Francisco Bay Area home Monday in an apparent suicide. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

 

LOS ANGELES (New York Times) — Peering through his camera at Robin Williams in 2012, the cinematographer John Bailey thought he glimpsed something not previously evident in the comedian’s work. They were shooting the independent film “The Angriest Man in Brooklyn,” and Mr. Williams was playing a New York lawyer who, facing death, goes on a rant against the injustice and banality of life.

His performance, Mr. Bailey said Tuesday, was a window into the “Swiftian darkness of Robin’s heart.” The actor, like his character, was raging against the storm.

That defiance gave way on Monday to the personal demons that had long tormented Mr. Williams. With his suicide at age 63, Mr. Williams forever shut the window on a complicated soul that was rarely visible through the cracks of an astonishingly intact career.

Given his well-publicized troubles with depression, addiction, alcoholism and a significant heart surgery in 2009, Mr. Williams should have had a résumé filled with mysterious gaps. Instead, he worked nonstop.

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