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  • I worked with Robin Williams once in the early days of my radio career. He was focused, funny, and professional. I interviewed him on my show at KBBW a closed circuit station broadcasting out of the old Playboy Building on Sunset Boulevard in the heart of Hollywood. It was a teaching facility run and staffed by a seasoned group of radio and television veterans with deep insider connections in every realm of the entertainment business. We were given full benefit of their connections as they brought in both industry legends and hot young newcomers to train us student broadcasters. Workshops were run by guys like Tom Brokaw, Ed MacMahon and Art Hannes. Our program director and general manager had become fans of Robin as he worked the comedy clubs around town that spring. Impressed with his lightning fast wit and rapid fire delivery they thought he'd be the perfect fellow to test the mettle of their students live on the air. We were informed of a new feature to run on each air shift where our producers would bring in random subjects for off the cuff interviews. For his turn on my show Robin assumed the persona of a 5 year old, Nietsche quoting, child genius. He talked circles around me. He kept everyone in the studio laughing. He was the hottest young comic in L.A., had recently taped his first appearance on Happy Days which hadn't aired yet and he'd never been in a radio station. The news wire blew his mind. After he expressed his wonder at the technological marvel of it he stood there reading the stories hot off the press riffing on the news of the day, spontaneous, unrehearsed and wicked funny. He hung out at KBBW for a few days appearring on every air shift as a different character for each interviewer. Robin Williams was friendly and talkative off mic, and seemed at times a bit reserved. He was extremely focused, sharp and quick witted on the air. At the time I thought of asking him if he wanted to go up to the roof and smoke a joint but decided against it. Now I wish I had. He created an impressive body of work. We didn't stay in touch over the years. But I watched his career with more than passing interest. We had crossed paths. We talked and laughed together. I felt an affinity with him. He created an impressive body of work. But. I was only able to watch a few episodes of his TV show last year. It was strained, contrived and unfunny. I sense he was beset by vicious demons. I'm saddened by the desperate loneliness of his death. Safe in his home, surrounded by family and friends and the trappings of his success Robin was so subsumed by the pitiless blackness of depression he was unable or, finally, unwilling any longer to seek solace from others or cry for help. It may be his soul was bigger than a man's ought to be. He brought joy and laughter to a dark troubled world. As his friend Terry Gilliam said, "The gods have him now. Fuck them."

    Photo by Poole- Cyndi King at the North Rim of the Grand Canyon on the day of Harmonic Convergence, summer 1987-
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