One of the finest eulogies for Robin Williams was written years before his untimely death by one of his closest friends, fellow actor Christopher Reeve.
In 1995, Superman star Reeve was facing a life or death situation as he prepared to undergo an operation at the University of Virginia Medical Center to reattach his skull to his spine following a devastating horse-riding accident.
With his chances of survival rated just 50/50, Reeve later told Barbara Walters that he ‘wanted to die’ until his despair was lifted by an unexpected visit from his old friend Williams.
Closer than brothers: Robin Williams and Christopher Reeve attempt to hail a taxicab in New York City in 1981. The pair shared an enduring friendship until Reeve’s death in 2004.
After Reeve’s horse-riding accident in 1995, he revealed it was his good friend Williams paid him a surprise visit that raised his spirits in his darkest hour.
In his 1996 autobiography Still Me, Reeve recalls how Williams showed up at the hospital pretending to be an eccentric Russian proctologist who was going to perform a rectal exam on him.
‘I lay on my back, frozen, unable to avoid thinking the darkest thoughts,’ wrote Reeve.
‘Then, at an especially bleak moment, the door flew open and in hurried a squat fellow with a blue scrub hat and a yellow surgical gown and glasses, speaking in a Russian accent. He announced that he was my proctologist and that he had to examine me immediately.
‘My first reaction was that either I was on way too many drugs or I was in fact brain damaged,’ wrote Reeve.
Reeve and Williams pose backstage at the People’s Choice Awards in March 1979 as they both started to enjoy success with Superman and Mork and Mindy respectively.
‘For the first time since the accident, I laughed. My old friend had helped me know that somehow I was going to be okay.’
By then the pair were indeed old friends, having first met more than 20 years before as roommates at the prestigious Julliard School in New York City.
In 1973 the budding actors were the only two students accepted to the advanced program at the school. In several classes, they were the only students.