Robin Williams Figured Out How to Lift Christopher Reeve’s Spirits After Tragic Accident
It is believed that Williams contributed to Reeve's will to live after his devastating injury.
Despite Robin Williams’ lifelong battle with depression, he made his life’s work all about cheering people up. That was the case with his friend and former Julliard classmate, Christopher Reeve.
When Christopher became paralyzed, Williams went to visit him and once at the hospital, he got it in his head to pretend to be a Russian doctor. Reeve’s eyes lit up when he realized the mysterious doctor was Williams.
“I came in as either a Russian gynecologist or a Russian proctologist,” Williams recalled in a later interview.
Reeve had no idea it was Robin Williams at first due to the scrubs and mask Williams was wearing.
“I said ‘If you don’t mind, I’m going to have to put on rubber gloves and examine your internal organs,’” Williams said, affecting the accent he’s used that day.
“I kind of said, ‘Oo, look at the size of this baby’, and I saw he started to laugh because his eyes lit up. Then he knew it was me,” he explained.
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The laughter Robin Williams brought to the ICU that day was one of the things that made Reeve decide he wanted to go on living.
Christopher Reeve’s horse-riding accident
Christopher Reeve, who is best known for playing ‘Superman,’ was an avid horseback rider. He began taking part in competitions in the 1980’s. Despite some horse-riding accidents over the years, Reeve participated in his last event on May 27, 1995.
When Reeve’s horse refused a jump, it knocked the actor out of the saddle.
Reeve’s fall sent him headfirst into a fence, breaking his neck and spinal cord. The resulting injury left Reeve a quadriplegic and for years he was unable to breathe for any length of time without a respirator.
Such a sudden loss of mobility and freedom for an active person understandably caused Reeve to become depressed. Robin Williams making him laugh again was likely one of the greatest gifts Reeve and his family received during their extensive time at the hospital.
Christopher Reeve lived for almost another decade in spite of his injuries but passed away due to complications on October 10, 2004.
Robin Williams’ mental issues
Robin Williams spoke frequently about his issues with substance abuse over the years. He often joked about it in his stand-up routines and in interviews. However, his other silent battle was his struggle with depression.
It’s not surprising. Many people who experience clinical depression keep it to themselves. Robin Williams was no different.
His depression was later compounded with the onset of Parkinson’s disease. Williams ultimately took his life while his family was away from home on August 11, 2014. RELATED: Robin William’s Son Zak Opens Up About His Father’s Passing
Reeve would certainly be sad to have learned his friend that cheered him up so much couldn’t do the same for himself. One can imagine he would have also understood the feeling of hopelessness Williams was experiencing.
That Robin Williams was able to give that hope and laughter to Christopher Reeve and countless others during his life is a testament to his life.