Robin Williams: Goodbye Vietnam

Robin Williams as Adrian Cronauer in the movie, "Good Morning, Vietnam"
Robin Williams as Adrian Cronauer in the movie, “Good Morning, Vietnam”

Robin Williams,the manic comedy actor who rose to fame as Mork on “Mork & Mindy” and starred in many films, including portrayal of the Air Force disc jockey in “Good Morning, Vietnam,” died of apparent suicide in California Monday.

A comedian with many demons and battles with cocaine and alcoholism after 20 years of sobriety, Williams battled “severe depression” and returned to rehab this year in an attempt to regain control over his substance addictions.

“You’re standing at a precipice and you look down, there a voice and it is a quiet voice that says ‘Jump,’ ” he said after returning to rehab in 2006.  “There’s the same voice that goes ‘just one more.’  The idea of just one for someone who has no tolerance for it.”

Williams checked himself back into the Hazelden Treatment Center in Minnesota this past July but continued to battle depression as well as substance abuse.

Williams won an Oscar for a supporting role in “Good Will Hunting” and was honored with many nominations, including his portrayal of the wise-cracking Armed Services disc jockey Adrian Cronauer who uttered the now famous “Good Morning, Vietnam,” in Saigon in the 1960s.

Cronauer, who ran Channel 27 in Roanoke after military service before attending law school late in his life and serving in the Pentagon under President George W. Bush, now lives just outside of Troutville in Boetetourt County with his wife. I knew Adrian and Jean Muse Cronauer from the Channel 27 days and stayed in touch over the years.  They lived in the same condo building in Arlington during our times working in Washington in the 80s, 90s and early 2000.

“Robin’s portrayal of me was much more manic,” Cronauer said.  “He was a true madman and a master of his craft.”

President Barack Obama paused Monday to remember Williams.

“Robin Williams wa an airman, a doctor, a genie, a nanny, a President, a professor, a bangarang Peter Pan and everything in between,” Obama said. “But he was one of a kind.  He arrived in our lives as an alien — but he ended up touching every element of the human spirit.  He made us laugh.  He made us cry.  He gave his immeasurable talent freely and generously to those who needed it at most — from our troops stationed abroad to the marginalized on our own streets.”

Williams tried a return to television series work last fall with the CBS series, “The Crazy Ones,” but the network canceled the series in its first season.

Hew died at 63.

Former Armed Forces disc jockey and lawyer Adrian Cronauer
Former Armed Forces disc jockey and lawyer Adrian Cronauer

 

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