Over the course of four decades, Robin Williams left an immeasurable impact in movies and television and as a standup comic on stages around the world. Since the surprise announcement of his death, the actor and comedian's many friends from every field in which he worked have been paying tribute. Read their remembrances here.
"Robin and I were great friends, suffering from the same little-known disease: depression. I never could have expected this ending to his life, and to ours with him. God bless him and God bless us all for his life! I cannot believe this. I am overwhelmed with grief. What a wonderful man/boy and what a tremendous talent in the most important art of any time – comedy! I loved him."
"So sad to think about this. Hard to speak. Hard to say. Hard to take. All I can think about is what a joy he was to be with. I'm devastated. I'm sending my love to his family and everyone who loved him. My heart is broken by this news."
Robert De Niro:
"I'm stunned, beyond saddened."
"His kindness and generosity is what I think of. How kind he was to anyone who wanted to connect with him. And he could not help but be funny all the time. He would do something as long as it would keep you laughing. He made many, many film crews laugh out loud before the audiences ever saw it. He made such a big impact on the world. So there is the man, and his talent, and I think in his case both were extraordinary."
Nathan Lane (via Time):
"I feel I have to say something more than just 'heartbreaking and shocking,' which everyone has said and I feel as well, but something a little more personal. Thus the following: One day in 1995 while riffing in the character of a snobby French toy store owner, Robin made me laugh so hard and so long that I cried. It seemed to please him to no end. Yesterday, I cried again at the thought that he was gone. What I will always remember about Robin, perhaps even more than his comic genius, extraordinary talent and astounding intellect, was his huge heart — his tremendous kindness, generosity and compassion as an acting partner, colleague and fellow traveler in a difficult world. My heartfelt condolences to his wife and family."
Meryl Streep (via Today):
"It's hard to imagine unstoppable energy stopped. He was such a generous soul."
President Barack Obama:
"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."
"It is a deep sorrow and a huge loss. I'm in complete shock. I send my condolences to his family. Robin was a unique and brilliant star who forever changed the face of comedy."
"I feel stunned and so sad about Robin. I'm sad for the world of comedy. And so very sad for his family. And I'm sad for Robin. He always lit up when he was able to make people laugh, and he made them laugh his whole life long – tirelessly. He was one of a kind. There will not be another. Please God, let him now rest in peace."
"The world has lost a special soul. Robin touched our hearts, he gave us laughter, he gave us joy, he made us think about the impossible. I'm blessed to have been able to walk inside his universe. He forever changed this world with his presence. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family and to all those who hold him dear."
Chris Columbus (director, Mrs. Doubtfire, Nine Months, Bicentennial Man):
"We have lost one of our most inspired and gifted comic minds, as well as one of this generation's greatest actors. To watch Robin work was a magical and special privilege. His performances were unlike anything any of us had ever seen, they came from some spiritual and otherworldly place. He truly was one of the few people who deserved the title of 'genius.' We were friends for 21 years. Our children grew up together, he inspired us to spend our lives in San Francisco and I loved him like a brother. The world was a better place with Robin in it. And his beautiful legacy will live on forever."
"To see Robin perform was an experience. He was more than a comedian. He was a comedy force of nature. I remember hearing that Robin was once doing a press junket in Germany. One of the reporters asked him, 'Why is it that Germany is not known for comedy?' Robin answered, 'Well, you killed all your funny people.' I laughed out loud when I heard that. I thought, how sick and how wonderfully truthful." (To read the rest of Gottfried's remembrance, click here.)
"Robin Williams could have tapped anyone in the western world on the shoulder and told them he felt down and they would have told him not to worry, that he was great, that they loved him. He must have known that. He must have known his wife and kids loved him, that his mates all thought he was great, that millions of strangers the world over held him in their hearts, a hilarious stranger that we could rely on to anarchically interrupt, the all-encompassing sadness of the world. Today Robin Williams is part of the sad narrative that we used to turn to him to disrupt." (To read Brand's full tribute, click here.)
David Steinberg (comedian):
"Robin Williams and I went on stage together for six months last year, playing theaters across the country. Besides seeing his brilliant improvisational mind in action, every night was the pleasure in just getting to know him and his generosity and spirit. He looked after Jonathan Winters and put him on his TV shows. He would drive to Santa Barbara weekly to make sure Jonathan was ok. A comic genius looking after another comic genius. Robin looked after everyone. If only he would have looked after himself."
Bob Zmuda (Comic Relief founder, via CNN):
"I'm still in shock. You can't believe it, because he was so lively. Knowing Robin on a personal level – I knew Robin before he was a star – it makes sense what happened. When you were with him alone, he had no social skills. He couldn't handle it. I knew this man for 35 years, and yet it was like I was in an elevator with a stranger. There had to be two people in the room, and then you were an audience, and then he came alive. When you're that high and performing and was bipolar, the highs are highs and the lows are lows, and there's nothing sadder than when a comedian is by himself and has to face the demons. Unfortunately I believe that is what happened."
"I've never known a sweeter, brighter, more considerate person than Robin. Robin's commitment as an artist to lifting our mood and making us happy is compared to none. He loved us all and we loved him back."
Billy Crystal (via Twitter):
"I, along with my entire family am devastated by the passing of Robin Williams. I am truly blessed to have worked with my friend not only as an actress, but as a director. There will never be anyone like him; he truly was one of a kind. My thoughts and prayers are with his family. RIP Robin Williams."
"Heartbroken. Thanks chief, for your friendship and for what you gave the world. Robin had a ton of love in him. He personally did so much for so many people. He made Matt and my dreams come true. What do you owe a guy who does that? Everything. May you find peace, my friend."
Matt Damon (via TooFab):
"Robin brought so much joy into my life and I will carry that joy with me forever. He was such a beautiful man. I was lucky to know him and I will never, ever forget him. I truly hope the people in the media can find it within themselves to give his family some privacy during this horrible time."
Bill Maher (via Time):
"His style, when it came on the scene, looked completely new to people, and in many ways it was. He was fast and furious, and I think there's something else that's behind there that you can't really quantify or define, but you could just tell there was a humanity in Robin Williams. He seems like a genuinely nice guy, like a good person who cares and tries to give back to the community. Some people, you get the impression that they're putting on an act all the time. I didn't get that impression with Robin Williams." (To read more, click here.)
Jim Norton (via Time):
"There is simply no way Robin could have understood the way the rest of us saw him. And there is simply no way he could have understood how much respect and adoration other performers had for him. At least I hope he couldn't have understood. Because it's too sad to think that maybe he did understand, and it just wasn't enough anymore." (To read more, click here.)
"My heart is broken at the loss of our friend Robin Williams. I say our friend because he was a friend to all. The only thing that outshined the immensity of his genius was the enormity of his heart. He always embraced you with his generous, infectious spirit. His extraordinary artistry will live forever, and if you had the great privilege of his warm embrace you too will forever have been blessed by Robin. Rest in peace my friend. We will miss you deeply."
Jeff Bridges (at the press conference for The Giver, via Paste):
"I just want to acknowledge the fullness of life – the joy and the sadness that is in store for us all. I'm filled with both today as I was last night learning of my dear friend Robin's passing.... Just before I came down [to the press conference], I'm looking out my window to Central Park, my favorite part about New York, and I'm remembering the last scene of me and Robin [in The Fisher King] out there at 4 o'clock in the morning. Nude! Naked! And Robin's just wild and free. He's just, 'Let the wild pony dance!' and rubbing his butt on the grass, saying, 'You know why dogs do this? Because they can!' So wild. I just had to share that with you because that's what's going on so strongly and how much I miss him and I'm sure you guys do, too. What a gift he was to all of us." (To read more, click here.)