PITTSBURGH (KDKA/AP) – Robin Williams, a brilliant shapeshifter who could channel his frenetic energy into delightful comic characters like “Mrs. Doubtfire” or harness it into richly nuanced work like his Oscar-winning turn in “Good Will Hunting,” died Monday in an apparent suicide. He was 63.
Williams was pronounced dead at his San Francisco Bay Area home Monday, according to the sheriff’s office in Marin County, north of San Francisco. The sheriff’s office said the preliminary investigation shows the cause of death to be a suicide due to asphyxia.
Thursday Williams’ wife said he was in the stages of Parkinson’s disease and was sober at the time of his apparent suicide.
In a statement Thursday, Susan Schneider said that Williams was struggling with depression, anxiety and the early stages of Parkinson’s when he was found dead earlier this week..
The wife of the actor-comedian said he was not ready to share his Parkinson’s diagnosis publicly.
One of Robin Williams most iconic roles was portraying United States Air Force sergeant and disc jockey Adrian Cronauer in the film Good Morning Vietnam.
Cronauer is from Pittsburgh and now lives in SW Virginia.
Cronauer talked with Bill Rehkopf on the KDKA Afternoon News about his experiences and his memories of Williams.
“The British have a term is called gobsmacked,” Cronauer told NewsRadio 1020 KDKA, “I had a friend in Honolulu call me and she was very upset, she had just gotten the word and, she said have you heard? I said no what? So she told me and I was gobsmacked, I really was.”
Cronauer came up with the concept for the 1987 comedy about the war, which shocked everyone they could twist the events that occurred into the comedy genre. A lot of people do not realize how much the original idea was adapted before reaching the final product.
“I did a treatment for a TV sitcom I called Good Morning Vietnam but, nobody believed you could do a comedy about Vietnam. So a couple of years later I was still thinking in terms of television, I redid it as an idea for a movie of the week. This time a friends agent got it into Robin Williams hands and he read it and said ‘oh disc jockey a chance to do my comic shtick lets do it but only lets do it as a real movie-movie’,” Cronauer said.
Here more of his interview here: