David M. Russell/CBS
In the last year of his life Williams had returned to a starring role on TV for the first time since Mork and Mindy, playing Sarah Michelle Gellar’s advertising-exec dad in the CBS sitcom The Crazy Ones, but the show was canceled in May 2014 after one season. During filming he lived alone in an apartment in Los Angeles.
“I’m kicking myself for not visiting him during that time,” his son Zak was quoted in Itzkoff’s Robin. “Because I think that was a very lonely period for him. In retrospect, I feel like I should have been there, spending time with him. Because someone who needs support was not getting the support he needed.”
When the show was in the works, however, there was a lot of excitement and hopes for its success, considering its co-leads. “He is a legend,” Gellar gushed about Williams to E! News in 2013. “Think about it: Greatest stand-up comic of all time, Academy Award winner and nicest man on the planet.”
“It’s like if Gandhi did stand-up,” Williams quipped.
When he died, Gellar joined the rush of former co-stars, friends and fans paying tribute, writing on social media, “My life is a better place because I knew Robin Williams. To my children he was Uncle Robin, to everyone he worked with, he was the best boss anyone had ever known, and to me he was not just an inspiration but he was the father I had always dreamed of having.”
The Buffy the Vampire Slayer star continued to pay tribute in later years, posting on what would have been his birthday in 2019, “Grief takes everyone on a different path. On my journey, I have finally reached the point, where when I think of you, instead of the rush of hot tears, I feel a huge smile spread across my face.”
Which had to have been what Williams would have wanted.