He made us laugh. He made us think. He entertained us through TV, movies, recording work, live stage appearances and he amassed nominations and top awards for his body of work. He spent a lot of his time giving to others, especially the homeless. Only 63, he had so much left to offer, if only he could have conquered his demons. The same demons that he shared with a large segment of the homeless.

He was extremely talented. But he was all too human.

I will always treasure the times that I worked with Robin, his private shows just for the benefit of a few of us. But as funny as his goofing around, to make us laugh, was, I will remember most of all his conversing with us, person to person. He asked us questions about our work, about the Guthrie Theater, about our tour of VINCENT. He expressed his fondness for the people who work behind the scenes, and for theater, especially the Guthrie, and his admiration for Leonard Nimoy and the special feeling he had whenever he looked at a painting by Vincent Van Gogh. And we all talked about our families.

And we laughed about the problems he had caused us prior to his appearance at the Guthrie.

Like a true artist he used his gifts to help others escape, (if only for a short time), the day-to-day sameness of their lives, with the hope it would also give him some breathing room. As for me, I cannot think of Robin without thinking of Van Gogh. I first met him during a period of my life that was steeped in the life of Van Gogh. They both shared the demons in their minds, and they both finally got tired of the fight.

As Don McLean says in his song, VINCENT (STARRY,  STARRY NIGHT):

                        Now I understand

                       What you tried to say  to me

                      And how you suffered for your sanity

                     And how you tried to set them free

And although we will not have any future works of yours, we do have your past works. Thank you, Robin.


In a previous post,ROBIN – THE CRAZY ONE , I tell some stories of Robin in a much more happier light. I reread if and it took some of the sting out of today’s sad news.


9 thoughts on “R.I.P. ROBIN

  1. You remember Robin just as I thought he would be once he was backstage and out of the limelight. A man who could always make you smile – this makes his swan song so much harder to hear.

    His idol, Jonathon Winters had many of the same struggles.

    • Like you, GP, I was so happy to find that Robin was so much fun backstage. I only had the pleasure of working Jonathon Winters once. He was so polite backstage. Actually, shy. He’s always been one of my favorites.

  2. I encountered you only 5 seconds ago but when I saw a post about Robin; I knew there would be a unique touch. I took in your intro then,…. wait for it…. yes, you knew him personally too! Not house-visiting friends like Leonard Nimoy but what a career. To meet people most of us admire in a poster, or motion pictures. Thank you for this. You know by now he ended his life over a fatal illness not known in the media right away.

    I would add that although I love Leonard’s and Robin’s characters and work, I’m likelier to be a fan of people I respect. If someone strikes me as a yahoo, I can’t get into their music etc. Leonard and Robin have warmth that make me fond of them, as individuals first. I’m glad for you, that reading and writing continue to be your solace. Carolyn. http://cmriedel.wordpress.com/reviews-canadian/

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