I wish I could share a bunch of meetings with Williams, but I really only had one.

It was an interview before one of his stand-up shows in San Diego. There was a crowd of about 20 waiting for him before he went inside that afternoon. He looked sad as he carried a suit over his shoulder. Yet he signed for everyone, and posed for pictures.

Even though I was doing the interview with him later, I thought I’d jump on the autograph at that moment. You never know with celebrities. They could be signing one minute, and an hour later, they’re “not in the mood.” Yet with Williams, that was rarely the case. I never, ever heard of him turning down anybody for an autograph.

I had him sign the box of my video for The World According to Garp, my all-time favorite movie. I had Amanda Plummer sign it when she was doing a play in town (her part in the film was small). John Lithgow signed it, and was rather pleasant. That was a relief, because he’s turned down autograph seekers over the years. He said, “Oh wow, you have other signatures on here.”

I’m still waiting to get author John Irving and Oscar nominee Glenn Close to sign it.

I remembered a studio had sent me a press packet for Death to Smoochie, and since I had a photo from that, after the interview I asked him to sign it. We joked about that movie tanking.

At one time I had a signed 8x10 from Mrs. Doubtfire. I got it from a friend that met him at a movie screening. Yet when a childhood friend was dating a woman whose favorite actor/comedian was Robin Williams – I told him he could give her the picture. She was thrilled. Little did I know…he was a nutjob. He’d show up at my house with accusations. One time he said, “Why were you so quick to give my girlfriend an autographed photo of Robin Williams? You collect autographs. Is it because you’re trying to sleep with her?”

I laughed and said, “Wouldn’t I have then given her the picture myself? Instead, I gave it to you…telling you that you could give it to her.”

When she broke up with him, he started following me around, convinced that she was seeing me. Smartly, she got a restraining order against him.

I guess that story is off the subject a bit. Anyway, when Autograph Magazine used to be something you could pick up in newsstands, I did stories about the best/worst celebrities at signing autographs. If memory serves, Williams made the list of “best” celebs. It seems usually comedians are good about autographs, but for anybody that saw the documentary Comedian…we saw Jerry Seinfeld snap at an employee of a comedy club that wanted a photo. Sure, it was right before Seinfeld went onstage, but still. Williams would’ve never done that. I think Williams would’ve grabbed the guy, took the photo, and started making jokes. He’d use the energy and interactions to improve his performance on stage.

He’s going to be missed. He was a big influence on the world of comedy. Luckily, we still have his comedy specials, as well as a few amazing movies in his large list. For many lucky autograph collectors, they have a signature, as well as a humorous story to share with their friends.

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Tags: Robin Williams, autograph, in-person, signature

Comment by Dom Vito Castiglione on August 13, 2014 at 9:28am

His girlfriend must have been a Perfect 10 knockout for him to act like that

Comment by Brian Burger on August 13, 2014 at 5:50pm

Great story Josh! I got to meet Robin February of 2013 and he quickly made his way in my top 3 celebrities that I've met. He signed everything anyone had and also took pictures with everyone before his show and was nice to everyone! The world is a lot less funnier today! His brilliance and uniqueness will never be seen again! Good Luck getting Glenn Close I am so looking forward to that post one day!!!!  

Comment by Mark Shull on August 13, 2014 at 6:12pm

I was fortunate enough to meet Robin in January of 2013. He signed a copy of his first comedy album and a copy of the Good Morning Vietnam soundtrack album. My daughter who was 7 at the time was with me and he signed 3 8x10s of the Genie - 1 for her and 1 for her two brothers. He also took the attached photo with us. I agree, the world is alot less funny.

Comment by Dan Gregory on August 13, 2014 at 8:33pm

Met him when he came to NZ and was lucky enough to be part of a small group that had lunch with him. He was a lovely guy, very funny but he could also talk about serious things and had some fantastic views and ideas. 

On top of that I think he signed for about 60 people, did not complain or get annoyed and spoke to everyone.

Such a great loss and a true legend. RIP Great man!

Comment by Mike P on August 13, 2014 at 10:52pm

Great stories, everyone.  Robin was a great comedian, and was very intelligent.  It is hard to find a celebrity that has patience with his/her fans and takes the time to sign and have a half-decent conversation; Williams was definitely one of those celebrities.  It is shame that sometimes the nicest of individuals suffer the most.  

 

Comment by Josh Board on August 14, 2014 at 11:37pm

Thanks for sharing all your stories, guys. Here's a more detailed piece I wrote for Fox 5 San Diego, where I do movie reviews: http://fox5sandiego.com/2014/08/12/robin-williams-was-t-s-garp-it-s...

Comment by Robert Babb on August 30, 2014 at 1:18pm

Josh! nice story as usual. I never met him but felt a little numb when I heard he passed! I sent ttm one time and got an autograph picture of him as Mrs. doubtfire. I do not now if it is authentic but I have heard he would sign a bunch of photos when he was on a flight some where just to kill sometime. What a class act he was!

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