Robin Williams remembered in heartbreaking story by Norm Macdonald

USMagazine, Tuesday, August 12, 2014, 1:15pm (PDT)
  • Following Robin Williams' unexpected death on Aug. 11, friends and fans of the actor have come forward to share their favorite memories of meeting and working with him during his decades-long career in showbiz. Among these personal anecdotes is Norm Macdonald's, a heartwarming story about their first encounter that exemplifies why Williams was so beloved, and why he will now be so missed.

    In a series of tweets on Aug. 12, each marked by the hashtag "#RIPRobinWilliams," "Saturday Night Live" vet Macdonald recalled running into the Oscar-winning comedian backstage at David Letterman's late-night show. Read his account below:

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    "It was my first stand-up appearance on Letterman and I had to follow the funniest man in the world.

    I was a punk kid from rural Ontario and I was in my dressing room, terrified.

    I was on the phone to a friend back home when the funniest man in the world ambled by.

    There was no one else on the floor. In shock, I told my friend who just walked by. Only the funniest man in the world.

    I guess he heard me say his name, cause in an instant he was at my side. 

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    He was a Jewish tailor, taking my measurements. He went down on his knees, asked which way I dressed. 

    I told my friend on the phone that the funniest man in the world was on his knees before me, measuring my inseam.

    My friend didn't believe me, so I said, 'Could you talk to my friend, sir?'

    The funniest man in the world took the phone and for ten minutes took my friend's Chinese food order.

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    I laughed and laughed and it was like I was in a dream because no one else was there. No one.

    The place was out of Moo Shoo Pork, and there was nothing he could do about it.

    He angrily hung up on my friend and I was about to thank him when he said I hadn't even tried the jacket on.

    Then the funniest man on earth dressed me, a complete stranger, and I remember he ended with a windsor knot. 

    He spoke mostly yiddish, but when he finished he was happy with his job and turned me to a mirror to present myself to me.

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    No one witnessed any of this. No one.

    The funniest man alive was in my dressing room a good half-hour and was far funnier than the set I had to do soon.

    All of a sudden it was 'had to.'

    When he left my dressing room, I felt alone. As alone as I ever remember feeling.

    Until today.



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