“There are bills to pay. My life has downsized”
As many stunned movie lovers around the world struggled to comprehend what could have led the successful actor and comedian Robin Williams to take his own life when he seemed to have it all, it has emerged that he was grappling with money worries.
The Mrs Doubtfire star was quoted as saying in September last year: “The movies are good, but a lot of times they don’t even have distribution. There are bills to pay. My life has downsized, in a good way. I’m selling the ranch up in Napa. I just can’t afford it anymore.’
The Mail reports that after making his name as the eccentric and beloved alien on 1970s TV hit Mork and Mindy, Robin transferred his attentions to Hollywood with a stream of box office hits.
But after acclaim and an Oscar, the movie career started to dry up and the actor signed up for CBS show The Crazy Ones, a small-screen comedy about a ‘renowned and slightly unhinged’ advertising genius/madman.
While undoubtedly a coup for the network – CBS President Nina Tassler called him ‘the biggest get of the season, actually many seasons’ and ‘one of the defining comedy voices of our time’ – Robin was quick to admit he took the gig for cash.
The star’s off-the-cuff joke to the room of TV executives, it turned out, was not so funny – in fact, he was being serious. Behind the grin, Robin was dogged by ‘serious money troubles’ from two divorces that had prompted him to put a Napa home up for sale, and was struggling with depression.
In September 2013, Robin told Parade magazine: ‘The idea of having a steady job is appealing. I have two [other] choices: go on the road doing stand-up, or do small, independent movies working almost for scale [minimum union pay].
‘The movies are good, but a lot of times they don’t even have distribution. There are bills to pay. My life has downsized, in a good way. I’m selling the ranch up in Napa. I just can’t afford it anymore.’
In a bizarre coincidence, it emerged that the BBC broadcast an episode of Family Guy about Robin Williams and a failed suicide attempt just minutes before it was revealed that the actor had been found hanged.
The ‘Viewer Mail #2’ episode was shown on BBC Three between 11.25pm and 11.45pm on Monday – with the death announced by Reuters news agency at 11.56pm.