HBO’s ‘Robin Williams: Come Inside My Mind’ Reveals the Troubled Soul of a Comic Genius

© HBO

David Letterman recalls when he first saw Robin Williams perform at The Comedy Store in Los Angeles in the 1970s. “In my head, my first sight of him was that he could fly because of the energy,” Letterman says. “It was like observing an experiment. All I could really do was hang onto the microphone for dear life. And here was a guy who could levitate.”

Williams’ otherworldly ability to make people laugh often masked his own suffering. He dealt with addictions, failed relationships, a heart ailment and a brain disease that likely contributed to his suicide in 2014.

HBO presents the original documentary Robin Williams: Come Inside My Mind July 16 at 8pm ET/PT, an intimate look at the life and career of one of the world’s greatest entertainers. His story is told through clips of his films, TV appearances, standup shows and interviews. Those close to him who shared their memories in the documentary include Letterman, Billy Crystal, Eric Idle, Whoopi Goldberg, Steve Martin and Pam Dawber.

O Captain! My Captain!

Reflections from Robin Williams: Come Inside My Mind:

“We knew that whatever it was Robin was doing, we weren’t going to get close to that. And we were frightened that, ‘Oh, my, maybe we’ve come out here at exactly the wrong time when everything was changing and all we had were our stupid jokes.’” — David Letterman on The Comedy Store in the 1970s

“My dad said, ‘Well, why don’t you want to watch Happy Days anymore?’ I said, ‘There’s no spaceman on it.’ He went to the writers’ room on Happy Days and said, ‘Scotty wants a spaceman!’ And all the writers rolled their eyes.” — Scott Marshall, son of producer Garry Marshall, on the origin of Mork From Ork

“I said, ‘If that ever happens to you, I will find you and kill you first.’ And he said, ‘Dawbs, that’s never gonna happen to me.’” — Pam Dawber, after informing Williams of John Belushi’s drug overdose death

“Everybody wanted something from him. I had no agenda. I just liked him.” — Billy Crystal

“It was vital for him to have an audience. It was hilarious, but it was a need. Very needy for him to communicate and be funny.” — Eric Idle

“He was like the light that never knew how to turn itself off.” — Lewis Black

About Ryan Berenz 1972 Articles
Devotee of Star Wars. Builder of LEGO. Observer of televised sports. Member of the Television Critics Association. Graduate of the University of Wisconsin. Connoisseur of beer. Consumer of cheese. Father of two. Husband of one. Scourge of the Alaskan Bush People. Font of Simpsons knowledge. Son of a Stonecutter.