Robin Williams Helped Pay Struggling Comedian Jamie Kilstein's Salary: He Saw Me Through "My Darkest Moments"
To his fans, Robin Williams was Mrs. Doubtfire, Sean Maguire, Aladdin's Genie, and Mork. To his friends, he was a supporter in a time of need, a quick laugh, and a "thoughtful" and "soft-spoken" man. After the untimely death of the Oscar winner on Monday, Aug. 11, he continues to be memorialized by those closest to him in his life.
Comedian Jamie Kilstein was one of the many who considered the Good Will Hunting star not just an idol, but a mentor and friend.
"It's weird seeing everyone post about him, because you forget what a huge star he was when you got to know him," Kilstein, 32, said. "When you got to know him he seemed like the most humble and down-to-Earth guy."
It was recently revealed that Williams was dealing with the early stages of Parkinson's Disease before he committed suicide. He also had an ongoing battle with depression and anxiety, his wife Susan Schneider said in a statement.
Kilstein grappled with his own personal demons, but Williams was always there to pick him up. "Every time I struggled with addiction myself, or depression, or thought about quitting he would chat with me on the phone," he explained of the actor, who sought treatment for addiction in 2006. "I'd be sitting in my office and Robin Williams, in the softest voice, would just be helping me through it all. He would help me out of my darkest moments."
Williams even saved Kilstein's job. "My radio show Citizen Radio had a moment where we almost had to stop because we were getting kicked out of our space," the comedian recalled. "Robin heard about it through our mutual friends and called me, just saying, 'What do you need?' He made up the difference in my salary while we were struggling. Our inside joke was that we didn't have sponsors but we were brought by 'Robin Williams.'"
That was just the "kind of guy Robin was," the New York-based funnyman explained. "He was the first guy to send a note when Hurricane Sandy happened. The first. Just to check on me."
Kilstein's friendship with Williams began when the Oscar winner attended the comic's performance at The Punchline in San Francisco. "He came backstage and was just the most soft-spoken and thoughtful guy I had ever met," Kilstein said. "Immediately we were trading jokes and doing bits together. He was so full of joy. Then he went and sat down and watched my act, he was the first applauding at the end of every joke and just gave me an amazing energy. We went out to dinner after and remained in touch ever since."
Other tributes to Williams have been similarly emotional and full of praise. Williams' former Good Will Hunting costar Matt Damon called him "a beautiful man," while Ben Affleck added that Williams "had a ton of love in him" and "personally did so much for so many people."