Itzkoff described Williams as polite, soft-spoken, and gentle. This is in stark contrast to the characters Williams’ portrayed in his prolific movie career, such as Genie in Alladin and Adrian in Good Morning, Vietnam.
“Even by the time I got to know him, which was later in his career and his stardom trajectory, he knew that everybody knew who he was. And I think he wanted to try and protect himself from that a little bit.”
The writer said that Williams wanted to give people the “Robin Williams experience” personally, but was always careful to guard himself off from others.
According to the biographer, not everyone got 100 percent of who he was. He explained that he kept a part of himself hidden from everyone those who were close to him.
“Almost everybody in his life, whether it was wives, children or friends who had known him going all the way back to grade school, everybody felt like they knew aspects of him, facets of him.”
Williams is best recognized for his comedic roles and his ability to do unique character voices. However, he was equally talented in more serious projects, such as Dead Poets Society.
Fans honored Williams today, taking to social media to post touching tributes to him.
“#RobinWilliams Remembering the sweet soul that would have been 69 years young today,” one user tweeted.
“Missing my hero #RobinWilliams on what would have been his 69th birthday. You know he would have had a field day with that. Rest in peace, Robin,” another wrote.
“Today would have been Robin Williams 69th birthday! The world misses you immensely!” another fan lamented.
Born on July 21, 1951, he was 63 when he passed away. Williams died on August 11, 2014, by suicide.
A year later, his widow, Susan Williams said that it was not depression that killed her husband, according to The Guardian. He was suffering from a brain disease known as diffuse Lewy body dementia. Three months before he passed, Williams was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, and the revelation that he had Lewy body dementia was only made after his autopsy. His widow believes that depression was one symptom of many and that it was the brain disease that ultimately led her husband to suicide.
Last month, Ben Stiller called for the Theodore Roosevelt statue in New York to be replaced with one of Williams, who co-starred with Stiller in Night at the Museum.
If you or someone you know is in crisis, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741741. For readers outside the U.S., visit Suicide.org or Befrienders Worldwide for international resources you can use to find help.