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Matt Damon on Robin Williams: Ben Affleck and I Owe Everything to Him

One of America’s favorite movie stars has the late Robin Williams to thank for his career. 

Matt Damon, who starred with Williams in 1997’s Good Will Hunting, opened up to Katie Couric this week about the beloved actor, and credited Williams with his success in Hollywood. 

“Ben [Affleck] and I owe everything to him,” Damon, 43, told Couric. “He said yes to our movie and he got it made. I could never thank him enough. I look around at the life I have and how blessed I feel and so much of it started with him.”

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Damon and his longtime friend Ben Affleck penned the screenplay to Good Will Hunting and recruited the Mork & Mindy actor to appear alongside them in the Oscar-winning drama. Williams took on the celebrated role of Sean Maguire, a counselor who works with Damon’s character of Will Hunting. 

“I was shocked,” Damon continued to Couric of his reaction to the unexpected death of Williams, who committed suicide this past August. “I hadn’t been in touch with him and obviously he was battling severe depression.”

Robin Williams and Matt Damon in Good Will Hunting

Williams had kept his depression, as well as his diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease quiet, putting on a brave and humorous face as he continued his comedic and dramatic acting career.

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“I think it affected everybody in the country, actually,” Damon added. “We all felt like we knew him and that he was a part of our lives… I think everyone who wasn’t there with him at the end feels bad that they didn’t see it coming.”

The Monuments Men star added that he hopes some good can come out of the tragic death of Williams. 

“I hope that it can start a conversation in the country about depression and just how serious it is, and what an exceptionally powerful disease that it is,” he said. “I hope I become better at checking in with my friends. I hope that we, as a country, get better at checking in with each other.”

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Watch Damon’s interview with Couric in the video above. 

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