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

More than many other topics, addiction is surrounded by myths and misinformation. Substance abuse is a hugely emotional issue and opinions on the issue vary widely. While this is to be expected, it is dangerous when opinions on such a life-impacting issue are based on information that is less than factual. Here we will discuss and dispel some of the most common myths associated with drug abuse and addiction.

Published on 17th July 2018

Read more

Come see us on the 18th of July at 10 Pioneer St, Henderson. We look forward to your visit.

Published on 9th July 2018

Read more

New research suggests the number of strokes could increase 40% over the next decade and urgent action is needed to manage the burden

Published on 3rd July 2018

Read more

Care and Support workers began receiving their new wage rates from 1 July 2017

Published on 19th June 2018

Get in touch

Fill out the enrolment form and email it to us at enquiries@kalandra.ac.nz

Download Enrolment Form

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