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Robin Williams masked depression with veil of comedy, say friends

Published on Aug 14, 2014 8:52 AM
 
A file picture taken on Nov 11, 1995, in Universal City, shows US actors Robin Williams (right) and Billy Crystal taking part in the HBO's Comic Relief VII to raise money for the nation's homeless. From an eccentric alien to an animated blue genie, a loveable British nanny and a fatherly therapist, actor Robin Williams used his multi-layered brand of comedy to make people laugh. -- PHOTO: AFP

LOS ANGELES (REUTERS) - From an eccentric alien to an animated blue genie, a loveable British nanny and a fatherly therapist, actor Robin Williams used his multi-layered brand of comedy to make people laugh.

But behind the boyish exuberance and hyperactive energy was a sensitive man who lived to perform in front of a crowd, friends and colleagues of the actor said following his death from an apparent suicide on Monday.

While the Oscar-winner's death came as a bolt from the blue to the public, the actor's longtime friend and fellow comedian Bob Zmuda said he was not "totally shocked" by the news.

Zmuda, the founder of the charity Comic Relief for which the actor had helped raise more than US$70 million (S$87 million), said that Williams had difficulty connecting with people off-stage and that even those who knew him well were unaware of how severe his depression was.

 
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