'The saddest person I ever met': Sam Neill says late Robin Williams was 'gigantically funny' yet 'deeply depressed'

'The saddest person I ever met': Sam Neill says late Robin Williams was 'gigantically funny' yet 'deeply depressed'
Sam Neill remembers 'Bicentennial Man' co-star Robin Williams in his recent memoir (Brendon Thorne and Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

OTAGO, NEW ZEALAND: Sam Neill remembers legendary comedian Robin Williams warmly since he collaborated with him on the 1999 film 'Bicentennial Man'. In his most recent memoir, 'Did I Ever Tell You This?' published on March 21, Neill, 75, reflected on their time spent together. Neill recalled the "great chats" that they had while visiting each other's trailers.

In spite of being at the peak of his career and coming off his Oscar win for 'Good Will Hunting', Neill was surprised by how "inconsolably solitary and deeply depressed" his 'Bicentennial Man' co-star Williams was in 1999. The 75-year-old Kiwi of Irish descent wrote in his new memoir, "He had fame, he was rich, people loved him, great kids - the world was his oyster." Neill continued writing, "And yet I felt more sorry for him than I can express. He was the loneliest man on a lonely planet," per Daily Mail.


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'Irresistibly, outrageously, gigantically funny'

Neill remembers Williams as "irresistibly, outrageously, irrepressibly, gigantically funny." The two-time Emmy nominee claimed Williams was "the saddest person I ever met" and he "could sense the dark space inside" but "as soon as he flung open the door, he was on." Neill wrote: "Funny stuff just poured out of him. And everybody was in stitches, and when everybody was in stitches, you could see Robin was happy."


Comedian/actor Robin Williams appears on
Comedian/actor Robin Williams appears on "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" at the NBC Studios on October 14, 2004 in Burbank, California (Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

Williams committed suicide on August 11, 2014, at the age of 63. Three months prior to his suicide in August 2014 at the age of 63, Williams—who was just one Tony short of achieving elite EGOT prestige—had been misdiagnosed with Parkinson's disease, whereas, he had Lewy body dementia. The Chicago-native comedian is survived by his spouse Susan Schneider, along with his three children from his two previous marriages: son Cody, 31, daughter Zelda, 33, and son Zak, almost 40.


Actor Robin Williams (R) poses with sons Cody and Zack, wife Marsha and daughter Zelda at the screening of
Actor Robin Williams (R) poses with sons Cody and Zack, wife Marsha and daughter Zelda at the screening of "House Of D" during the 2004 Tribeca Film Festival May 7, 2004 in New York City (Evan Agostini/Getty Images)

'My dad's struggles with depression'

William's son Zak remarked on 'The Dr Oz Show' in 2020, "I was acutely aware of my dad's struggles with depression, it manifested in addiction at times, and he took great lengths to support his well-being and mental health, especially when he was challenged. It was something that was a daily consideration for him."


"The main thing for me was noticing how he went to great lengths to support himself while he could show up for others. It was clear that he prioritized his mental health throughout most of his life, at least that I experienced with him," Zak continued.

'Did I Ever Tell You This?'

Speaking of health issues, Neill recently finished writing his 416-page memoir, after discovering that he had stage 3 angioimmunoblastic T-cell lymphoma. 'The Twelve' actor, who has 1.1 million social media followers, claimed in his book trailer, "I was diagnosed with a very rare form of cancer and that left me with a lot of time on my hands. I wasn't able to work and I was stuck on my own in my flat and I decided I would start writing." "It was a dark time for me last year but writing the book also had a sort of therapeutic effect in that I found myself very grateful for so many things. And that light came into sharp relief against the darkness. I'm glad I wrote it. It was good for me," added Neill in his memoir.



'When he wasn’t 'on', he was quiet & shy'

A few Internet users took to social media to comment on Neill's statement about the 'Dead Poets Society' star. One user said, "Agree. When he wasn’t “on”, he was quiet & shy. Worked with him at an annual non-profit event." Another social media user argued if it is appropriate to incorporate Williams' mental health struggle in the memoir, "I dont know that it's appropriate to write these things in memoirs."





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 Sam Neill says Robin Williams was 'saddest person' he ever met