April 16, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

Looking Back: An Interview With Robin Williams About Jakob The Liar

The news that Robin Williams had died by his own hand at the age of 63 was shocking. Es­pecially since he hanged himself in order to end whatever intense psychological pain he was in. Depression is a terrible disease, and saps the strength and hope from a person. It is especially poignant for me, because while it is not in the in­terview, he and I did discuss the black humor in a scene in the movie, where Jakob’s good friend tries to kill himself by hanging, and Jakob cuts him down, yelling, “If you commit suicide, I’ll kill you!”

Just a week before I saw the movie, I had used that precise black humor on my husband as they were wheeling him into the operating room in Hackensack. “If you die on the table, I’ll kill you!” I said, and gave him a kiss.

I looked at Williams and said, “Well, my par­ents were in the ghettoes, I must have gotten it from somewhere!”

Read carefully, and you will see that Robin Wil­liams thoroughly understood the depths of de­spair in the human condition. Like Seymour Philip Hoffman, living the lives, climbing into the souls and characters of others, was their profession. Liv­ing their own lives was nigh impossible because of their sensitivity and empathy for the pain and suffering of others. When it came to themselves, they were lost. And now we have lost them. But Robin Williams, in my heart, has earned a special place. This interview was done in 1999, when the movie, Jakob the Liar, premiered.

by Jeanette Friedman

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