When Aladdin needed help, he popped out of a lamp as a wisecracking genie. When he needed to grow closer to his kids after a divorce, he dressed in drag and took on an Irish accent. When stationed in Vietnam, he played rock and roll to boost the morale in that desperate part of the World.
It’s all pretend, of course. These are just movie roles, but the actor did one very real and miraculous thing that no one else can claim. Robin got The Man of Steel, in his darkest moment, to laugh after a tragic incident that robbed him of the ability to do so.
Robin Williams and Christopher Reeve met at Juilliard in 1973. While most people loathed their college roomies, Williams and Reeve got along just fine.
They went their separate ways, career-wise. Robin, the comedian. Reeve, the caped crusader. Still, they remained close friends, according to public record.
In 1995, Christopher was thrown from a horse, and became quadriplegic (and thus, lost the ability to control and feel everything below his neck). After days in the hospital, where he went in and out of delirium, the doctors told him he might never walk again.
Prior to this incident, he commanded the silver screen as the iconic Superman of the 70s and 80s, in addition to other leading roles. With such a booming career, nothing – no one – was out of his reach. He didn’t need super powers to feel like a super powered man. That’s just what he was.
After two decades of super stardom, what
woman door didn’t open for him? What godly meals of the World’s best chefs had he not tasted? What sands of the most secluded beaches of the World had he not yet walked on? He had the World in his pocket.
But on that hospital bed, Reeve contemplated suicide. A horse broke The Man of Steel.
Except Robin Williams didn’t let people break. Certainly not his friend. Before Reeve underwent surgery to see if they could reattach his skull to his spine, a ‘Russian proctologist’ came in, and said it was time for a rectal exam.
While this is the absolute last thing anyone would want to hear at a moment like that, Reeve laughed. There was Robin, impersonating a doctor in hospital scrubs with a heavy Russian accent, insisting that Superman submit to a needless ‘cavity search’.
Reeve later wrote in his autobiography, “For the first time since the accident, I laughed … My old friend had helped me know that somehow I was going to be okay.”
A quirky alien saved the hero from Krypton.
That’s what he was, above all else. A misplaced alien with a heart of gold (see the above clip from Happy Days). Rest in peace, Robin. Know more.