Tuesday, August 12, 2014

“No matter what people tell you, words and ideas can change the world.” —Robin Williams

When I was writing in Hollywood in the seventies, I had a friend who did sound, operated the Foley if you know what that means.  Anyway, my friend lived in a cheesy little apartment building in West Hollywood just a few blocks down from the famous Chason’s restaurant where chili cost $9.00 a bowl—a small fortune then.  So my buddy, who was also named Charles, and I would go to a place called Barney’s Beanery where the chili was only $1.00 a bowl.  Living right above my friend in his cheesy apartment building was a comedian and TV actor named Robin Williams.  Whenever he heard us going out, he would call, “Headed to Barneys?”  If we were, he always wanted to come along, although we were not too happy about it.  This guy was always “on” doing comedy bits with everyone and everything.  Barney’s Beanery had pool tables and sometimes a rough crowd, but that didn’t stop Robin from doing comedy schtick with the pool balls and cues and making the bikers mad.  More than once, we had to flee without having lunch and Robin would be laughing all the way back to the apartment.  He was doing “Mork and Mindy” then and could afford something much better but he knew the show was a novelty and wouldn’t last, so he lived cheaply and invested his money in real estate (a very good thing it turned out).  Because my friend was named Charles as was I, Robin called me Chucky, the only person in the world to ever call me that and I hated it which only made him use it more.  We ran into each other many times over the next couple of years, and he would always hug me and say, “Chucky, my man, are you lucky today?”  Well, Robin, today I’m not lucky.  Today I’m saddened by the fact the world doesn’t have you in it anymore.  You made me laugh, and you made me run for my life on more than one occasion, but you were always you, through and through.  I wanted to be like that.  Maybe now what you see with me is what you get.  It wasn’t always so.  Even though I haven’t seen you in person in over thirty years,  I will never forget our times together, and I will never forget the legacy you have left behind.  You gave a whole lot of money to UNICEF, Amnesty International, and the Andre Agassi Foundation for Education (the same Andre Agassi whose quote I used in a recent blog).  You and Marsha also founded the Windfall Foundation to raise money for even more charities.  You made the world a better place.  You will be missed by millions, and I will be among them.  Rest in peace, my friend.
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