Actor Robin Williams was struggling with a brain disorder that was not immediately diagnosed, causing many of the bizarre symptoms that sapped him of his vitality and ultimately led him to take his own life.

That’s according to a new biography, Robin (Henry Holt & Co.) by Dave Itzkoff that’s out this month and details the final stages of Williams’s life.

Williams was initially diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, but his behaviours in his last year were uncharacteristic of that malady, leading some to blame drugs or alcohol for his problem. Finally, a neuropathologist saw him and correctly diagnosed his affliction: diffuse Lewy body dementia. It is the second-most-common type of progressive dementia after Alzheimer’s disease, as protein deposits in the brain affect thinking, memory, emotions and body movements.

Williams began to cry uncontrollably, forget his lines, and suffer from a shuffling gait in his last days, according to the book. During the filming of Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb,” he reached a crisis point.

“He was sobbing in my arms at the end of every day. It was horrible. Horrible,” makeup artist Cheri Minns told author Itzkoff. “I said to his people, ‘I’m a makeup artist. I don’t have the capacity to deal with what’s happening to him.’ ”

When Minns suggested a return to stand-up comedy as a way out of his depression, Williams wouldn’t hear of it.  “He just cried and said, ‘I can’t, Cheri. I don’t know how anymore. I don’t know how to be funny.’ ”

After the failure of his short-lived 2013 television show The Crazy Ones, Williams’s health took a turn for the worse. He lost weight, his voice became tremulous, and he stooped.

Pam Dawber, his co-star from Mork & Mindy, had joined the cast of  The Crazy Ones in a last-ditch bid to raise ratings. She noticed big changes in Williams.

“I would come home and say to my husband, ‘Something is wrong. He’s flat. He’s lost the spark. I don’t know what it is,’ ” Dawber says in the book.

Initially diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease – a diagnosis which said he still had “10 good years” to live – Williams tried to right his health ship, checking into a rehab centre in hopes he could manage his illness.

Unfortunately, it was not a disease that could be overcome.

Poor communication has left this man and the staff in a distressed state. This is sad and unnecessary and Kalandra is working at increasing the knowledge of and supporting the Health Care Assistant.


Back to news/blog

Other articles

Read more

Dementia is an umbrella term used to describe a group of symptoms that affect how well our brains work. Dementia can affect anyone, and as people get older the chances of developing dementia increase. The most common form of dementia is Alzheimer’s disease – which around two-thirds of people with dementia have.

Published on 6th November 2018

Read more

What is your experience of drugs in New Zealand? The Global Drug Survey 2019 wants to know.

Published on 1st November 2018

Read more

A study conducted by University of Otago researchers has examined the prevalence of loneliness in the elderly community. Titled: Comparison of Psychosocial Variables Associated With Loneliness In Centenarian vs Elderly Populations in New Zealand, the study has been published in the international JAMA Open Network medical journal.

Published on 30th October 2018

Read more

125 years ago many, many women died in childbirth. That doesn't happen quite so much these days, but health remains a huge focus for women in this country. What Women Want marks 125 years since women in New Zealand were the first to win the right to vote. It is a show about the equality that women still seek and how it might be achieved. This is the fourth part of a four-part series on Stuff.

Published on 2nd October 2018

Get in touch

Latest news

Kalandra Education Group is registered by the New Zealand Qualifications Authority under Part 18 of the Education Act 1989

Copyright © 2018 Kalandra Education Group

Website crafted by bocapa