Robin

Dave Itzkoff. Holt, $30 (544p) ISBN 978-1-62779-424-4
According to this perceptive biography from Itzkoff (Mad as Hell), comedian Robin Williams was a man driven by a deep need for adulation and acceptance. Itzkoff introduces Williams as a brilliant, imaginative child left to his own devices in a sprawling mansion in the suburbs of Detroit, then describes his sometimes contentious relationship with his Ford executive father, his time in a community college drama department, his training at Juilliard (where he met lifelong friend Christopher Reeve), his breakthrough role on Mork and Mindy, and his long movie career. Along the way, readers meet the people who sustained him for much of his life, in particular the comic Billy Crystal, who perhaps knew him best, and his second wife, Marsha, who for years supervised much of his professional life. Nevertheless, Williams was consumed with misgivings about his stature as a star, a doubt that found expression in drug and alcohol abuse, and in his struggle to find film projects that could harness his manic talents. Itzkoff goes into detail on the debilitating illness (Lewy body dementia) that some of those close to Williams believe caused the comedian to commit suicide in 2014. Meticulously sourced and comprehensive in scope, Itzkoff’s work gives Williams’s many fans a rare glimpse of the man behind the celebrity. (May)
Reviewed on: 03/19/2018
Release date: 05/15/2018
Compact Disc - 978-1-4272-9697-9
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