Celebrity

Robin Williams's Widow Reveals The Actor's Last Words In An Emotional Interview

It's been a little over three years since the world lost beloved actor, comedian, and philanthropist Robin Williams, but not a day passes by without someone bringing up his name and the impact he had on the world.

The entertainer, who endured a lifelong battle with mental illness and substance abuse, was only 63-years-old when he was found dead inside his home after hanging himself.  

While his fans have come to know him as one of the most talented and funniest screen legends, to his family he was so much more than that.

Robin was a loving husband to his wife, Susan Schneider, and a doting father to his three children, Zachary, Cody, and actress Zelda Williams.

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As you can imagine, it took a while for the family to publicly address their loss. Nearly a year after her father's death, Zelda opened up in an interview with Today.

"People should remember what they want to remember of him. Who am I to guide what their childhood memories are of watching his movies," Zelda said.

She continued, "I have mine [memories] and they are mine and I love that. And they are private and lovely and perhaps very different, but who knows what the difference is. They have their memories. They should enjoy them. They're not going anywhere. The world, as I said, keeps spinning, but that doesn't mean that he was never on it."

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She said she was "taking it one step at the time," and won't be questioning why Williams took his life.

However, prior to Zelda's chat with Today, her step-mother, Susan Schneider, had broken her silence in an emotional interview with Good Morning America, just three months after Robin's untimely death.

In her first interview since her loss, Susan opened up about Robin's illness and his final words to her.

Contrary to the popular belief that Robin took his life because he suffered from manic-depression, Susan revealed that her husband actually suffered from Lewy body dementia (LBD).

She described the disease as "chemical warfare in the brain" and that "no one could have done anything more for Robin."

Lewy body is a form of difficult-to-diagnose dementia with symptoms such as slowed motor function, depression, and hallucinations.

"It was not depression that killed Robin," Susan insisted. "Depression was one of let’s call it 50 symptoms and it was a small one."

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The widow told GMA that in the months leading up to his death, Robin struggled a lot, and she heartbreakingly watched him "disintegrate" right before her eyes.

She went into details about the time she found her husband on the bathroom floor bleeding from wounds after hitting his head.

When asked what had happened, he wasn't able to explain and simply replied, "I miscalculated."

“My best friend was sinking,” Susan tearfully admitted.

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Susan also shared the last words her husband said to her before he died on August 11, 2014.

"I was getting in bed and he came in the room a couple of times and he said, ‘Goodnight, my love,’" Susan recalled. "And then, he came back again. He came out with his iPad, and he looked like he had something to do. And that was like, ‘I think he’s getting better.’ And then he said ‘goodnight, goodnight.’ That was the last.”

She also had a message for those who loved and cared for Robin.

“I just want everyone to know that… everyone did the very best they could," she said. "This disease is like a sea monster with 50 tentacles of symptoms that show when they want. And we can’t find it until someone dies definitively. There is no cure."

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Susan is still spreading awareness for the rare brain disease, and serves on the Board of Directors for the American Brain Foundation.

Last year, she penned a heartbreaking essay titled "The Terrorist Inside My Husband's Brain." In the candid piece, she wrote about Robin's final few months and how the disease took over his life.

In the essay, Susan also revealed that before Robin died, they spent the day doing "all the things we love," and "it was perfect - like one long date." She was hopeful it was a sign that he was getting better, but unfortunately he would take his life that night. She confessed that "Goodnight, my love," his final words, "still echo through my heart today."

Robin may have left the world too soon, but there's no doubt that he will ever be forgotten. His legacy is being carried on by his children, and they have been doing a stellar job thus far.

While Robin cemented his legacy in acting, he was also very well known for his philanthropic contributions.

The actor was involved with a number of causes including the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation, Comic Relief, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, the Livestrong Foundation, the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation, among others.

He was an advocate for the homeless, and pushed for the Homeless Prevention and Revitalization Act to be passed in the early 90s.

"The important debate isn’t about how many people are homeless," Robin said at the time. "But rather, how to help those who are. We must provide comprehensive social services in order to help homeless people live dignified, productive lives."

His altruism did not end there.

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Robin was also involved with the United Service Organization (USO), and through them he was able to perform for our troops in 13 different countries, according to Fox News.

In addition to being a part of many official campaigns, Robin would also take time out of his day to visit sick children and spread some joy.

"His humor brought bright smiles and laughter to our patients and families and his generosity deeply touched the hearts of all who knew him," St. Jude Children's Research Hospital said in a statement following his death.

His impact will be hard to replicate, but his children have been working hard at being as charitable as their father was.

Zachary, affectionately known as Zak, is continuing the actor's philanthropic work, but he's doing it in his own way.

After the passing of his iconic father, Zak started to look for ways to give back, and that's when he began to take interest in prison rehabilitation programs.

He teamed up with an inmate named Curtis "Wall Street" Carroll, who is serving a life sentence, to teach prisoners at the San Quentin State Penitentiary, in California, the value of financial literacy, and financial independence.  

The work they've been doing is very important because a lot of street crime, including drug dealing, in the United States is motivated by money.

Zak and his team believe that if people are financially literate, the chances of them being involved in illegal activities are lowered.

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"Spending time at San Quentin, giving back, and trying to add value to people's lives is something that's been very helpful for me personally," said Zak.

The enrollment in the program has been so high that there's currently a waiting list. This is clearly a sign that what they've been teaching is working.

"If I had a drug problem, or an alcohol problem, I would go to NA, AA, but I have a money problem. ... I believe that financial education is the cure for guys who are chasing money where they're willing to kill a guy for 20 bucks," Wall Street told CNN.

It seems like Robin's charitableness was infectious, because his daughter has also made a commitment to give back to the community, and she's starting off with a large donation.

While appearing on the Today show in 2017, 25-year-old Zelda revealed that she would be making a $50,000 donation to the Challenged Athletes Foundation (CAF), a group her father worked with.

The donation was presented to Robin's former triathlon teammates, Ironman Scott Tinley and Paralympian Rudy Garcia-Tolson, who are from the CAF. The sum was to be put towards a fund created by the organization in the memory of the late actor.

"He’s done charity as long as he had the wherewithal and the ability to do it," she explained. "That was what his favorite thing, other than comedy, really was."

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"I will do everything else in my (decidedly less athletic) power to continue Dad's legacy and support the charities he loved that I've watched firsthand change thousands of lives," she wrote on Instagram.

Zelda, who was named after Princess Zelda from the Legend of Zelda game series, is still actively raising funds for various causes.

In an attempt to raise money for the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation, a group that awards grants for mental illness research, the actress held a live stream of the new Legend of Zelda game, Breath of the Wild.

It's unclear what other philanthropic events she has planned for the near future, but we're sure it's something that will make a difference and make her later father proud.

Williams may be gone, but with a legacy like his, he surely will never be forgotten.

What was your favorite memory of Robin Williams?

Awa has been writing for Shared for 3 years. She is a serial snacker who unapologetically loves celebrity gossip. Drop her a line at awa@shared.com.