Robin Williams' Death: What Was The Beloved Actor Addicted To?
Robin Williams, who charmed audiences in both comedies and dramas in his storied career on TV and in film, died in an apparent suicide on Monday after a lengthy battle with depression and addictions to alcohol and cocaine.
Robin Williams' Addictions
Six weeks before his tragic passing at the age of 63, Williams had voluntarily checked himself into a rehab facility in an effort to maintain his sobriety.
"After working back-to-back projects, Robin is simply taking the opportunity to fine-tune and focus on his continued commitment, of which he remains extremely proud,” Williams rep told TMZ of the actor’s stay at the Hazelden Addiction Treatment Center near Lindstrom, Minn. Williams remained at the facility for several weeks.
Williams has not been shy in discussing his addictions over the years, which he first attempted to tackle in the 80s following his success on Mork & Mindy. At the time, he’d been indulging in binges on booze and cocaine, but received a wake-up call after the death of his friend and fellow comedian John Belushi.
“Cocaine for me was a place to hide. Most people get hyper on coke. It slowed me down,” Williams told People magazine in 1988. “The Belushi tragedy was frightening. His death scared a whole group of show-business people. It caused a big exodus from drugs. And for me, there was the baby coming. I knew I couldn’t be a father and live that sort of life.”
About 20 years after Williams quit everything cold turkey, the demons of addiction were back. Consequently, in 2006, Williams checked himself into rehab in an effort to combat the underlying problems that led to his addictions.
“There was still, in the background, this voice, like, ‘Psst,’ ” he told the The New York Times upon getting out of rehab. “So when I relapsed, I went back hard. The one thing I hadn’t dealt with was, how honest do you want to live?”
Williams further explained his relapse in an interview with Diane Sawyer on Good Morning America:
“It’s the same voice though that … you’re standing at a precipice and you look down, there’s a voice and it’s a little quiet voice that goes, ‘Jump,’ " Williams told Sawyer. "The same voice that goes, ‘Just one.’… And the idea of just one for someone who has no tolerance for it, that’s not the possibility.”
Williams will be, and should be, remembered more for his contribution to comedy and film and charitable organizations and to people’s lives in general, than for his addictions. The actor did, however, while promoting World’s Greatest Dad, address his own thoughts on the “modern grief industry” – something his character uses to parlay his own local fame in the movie. "Well, I think people want it. In a weird way, it's trying to keep hope alive,” he told The Guardian, adding, "You just try and keep it in perspective; you have to remember the best and the worst."
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