Death in Hollywood: Williams, Robin, Dead at 63 (Suicide)

The brilliant film and TV comedian Robin Williams was found dead on Monday. He was 63.

The cause of death is believed to be suicide via asphyxiation, according to the coroner’s office in Tiburon, Calif. He was found in his home.

According to his publicist, who confirmed the news, the actor had been battling depression of late and recently entered 12-step rehab stint for drug abuse.

His wife Susan Schneider said in a statement, “I am utterly heartbroken. On behalf of Robin’s family, we are asking for privacy during our time of profound grief. As he is remembered, it is our hope the focus will not be on Robin’s death, but on the countless moments of joy and laughter he gave to millions.”

The Marin County Sheriff’s Office received a 911 call from Williams’ residence on Monday at 11:55 a.m. reporting the actor had been found unconscious and was not breathing. The paramedics arrived shortly after at 12 p.m. and pronounced him dead at 12:02 p.m.

Williams was last seen alive by wife at 10 p.m. on Sunday night.

An autopsy is scheduled for Tuesday, Aug. 12, at the Marin County Coroner’s Office.

Williams is best known for both comedic and dramatic roles in movies including “Good Will Hunting,” for which he won a Best Supporting Actor in 1997. In addition, he won several Emmys, Golden Globes.

Williams’ film career was bookended by TV roles including his breakout role on the ABC sitcom “Mork & Mindy” in 1978. He returned to TV on CBS last season, “The Crazy Ones.”

Born in Chicago to a former model and an auto-industry executive, Williams graduated from Juilliard School in 1973. His career exploded in the late 1970s on the strength of both his stand-up comedy act and “Mork,” which channeled his antic stream-of-consciousness style into the role of an alien on Earth.

He took his career to the next level with a bevy of lead parts in critically acclaimed movies beginning in the late 1980s, including “Good Morning, Vietnam,” “Dead Poets Society” and “The Fisher King.” All of them garnered Oscar nominations but it wasn’t until his supporting turn in “Hunting,” from a screenplay by Ben Affleck and Matt Damon, that he earned his only win, in 1998.

For all his success as a comedy star, “Hunting” proved Williams had a flair for dramatic roles as well in his role as a nurturing psychotherapist. Williams also scored in another dramatic role as a man of medicine, playing neuroscientist Oliver Sacks in the 1990 movie “Awakenings.”

But Williams will be remembered best for the parts that exhibited his improvisational comedy chops, which he delivered with near manic intensity. His genius for over-the-top characters was displayed in the early 1990s everywhere from the cross-dressing nanny in “Mrs. Doubtfire” to even animated roles, like the genie in “Aladdin.”

He is survived by his wife and three children.