Philly recalls Robin Williams

Posted: August 13, 2014

YESTERDAY'S death of Robin McLaurin Williams - "an airman, a doctor, a genie, a nanny . . . and everything in between," according to President Obama - shocked and pained the world.

And Philadelphia mourned as well.

From local anchors to elected officials, the City of Brotherly Love showed just that last night on Twitter, on Instagram and in interviews.

Celebrity photographer HughE Dillon, who also works in New York City, took many a picture of the actor/comedian out and about in the Big Apple and walking down the red carpet at awards ceremonies. Williams had a home in Greenwich Village.

"I bet everyone is heartbroken," Dillon said last night. "He was a very nice guy. So super fan-friendly. So super with photographers."

Williams always took time to stop by photographers' row on the red carpet, grabbing their cameras and clicking away to take shots of the lensmen, Dillon said.

And Williams connected with the photogs, asking about their families and their personal lives. The actor knew Dillon by name along with other photographers he saw frequently, Dillon said.

"He was aware of life in general. He talked to us like we were people," Dillon said. "He knew we were doing a job."

"It was always a pleasure when he came to do the red carpet," he said.

CBS3 anchor Ukee Washington was at a loss for words last night - "something Robin never was," the newsman said in a statement.

In February, Washington filmed a small cameo for the finale of "The Crazy Ones," a CBS comedy starring Williams and Sarah Michelle Gellar. Washington played a TV reporter in the May episode, which wound up being the show's last. Network executives canceled the show in the same month.

"What a talent . . . what a caring man," Washington said. "I was honored to experience his genius during many interview sessions . . . and he related to me . . . as he did for all he met.

"My deepest sympathy to his family and friends in and out of the industry," Washington added. "He will be truly missed and never forgotten."

City Councilman Jim Kenney expressed sadness over Williams' death but recounted the good times in a series of tweets.

"There was one man who could make me laugh out loud uncontrollably, that same person made me cry tonight. RIP Robin Williams. So sad!" Kenney wrote.

Reached by phone later, the councilman said he burst into tears when he saw the news last night.

"He must have been living a terrible existence for him to take his own life at 63," Kenney told the Daily News.

" 'Hook.' 'The Birdcage.' He was awesome," Kenney said, calling the latter film "one of the funniest movies ever."

"Tonight Show" bandleader and Philly native Questlove rode an elevator with Williams during the 2001 Grammys - and was impressed with Williams' Roots knowledge.

After that, any time Questlove met up with Williams "he tried to top his trivia knowledge on all things Roots associated," he recalled. "Simply because he knew that meant everything to me.

"May his family find peace at this sad time. I will miss Robin Williams. #RIP."

- Staff writer Morgan Zalot contributed to this report.

On Twitter: @ReginaMedina


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