Actor Sam Neill Described Late Costar Robin Williams As The ‘Loneliest Man’

Mar 28, 2023 by apost team

Trigger Warning: This article contains mentions of suicide that may be troubling for some readers.

Robin Williams is remembered as an extraordinary actor and comedian who could walk into any room and have the people inside laughing within minutes, no matter what the original atmosphere was. He is remembered for his exceptional improvisational skills and unique brand of comedy that charmed audiences of all ages.

He first rose to fame with his breakout role in the sitcom "Mork and Mindy" and is also remembered for dozens of films including "Popeye," "Aladdin," "Dead Poets Society," "Mrs Doubtfire," "Flubber" and "Good Will Hunting." He earned many accolades throughout his career, such as an Academy Award, two Primetime Emmy Awards, two Screen Actors Guild Awards, six Golden Globe Awards and five Grammy Awards.

Overall, Williams was a multi-faceted performer who easily earns a spot in the echelon of actors who have shaped Hollywood in irreversible ways. He was an incomparable talent, and his influence will undoubtedly be felt for decades to come. 

Williams had a unique way of connecting with people of all backgrounds and people continue to share stories of how he personally touched their lives and made them better even today. His passing in 2014 left people all over the world reeling and in shock, even more so as details of his depression and personal troubles surfaced in the wake of it. 

Now, revered New Zealand actor Sam Neill — who starred with Williams in "Bicentennial Man" — has opened up in his new memoir, "Did I Ever Tell You This?" about the times they shared and the way he felt Williams was "the loneliest man."

Robin Williams (2006), (Peter Kramer/Getty Images)

The world was in shock when it was announced that on Aug. 11, 2014, Williams had taken his own life at the age of 63. The actor and comedian was known for making people laugh, so it was difficult to grasp that he had been struggling with depression. 

After it was initially announced that he'd been diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease, an autopsy later found that Williams was actually suffering from an undiagnosed and severe case of Lewy Body Dementia, a debilitating brain disorder that affects movement, mood, thinking and behavior. Dr. Dan Kaufer, director of the UNC Memory Disorders Program, expanded on the diagnosis in an interview with ABC:

"Lewy body dementia is a complex disorder with many different presentations. You can see very dramatic effects in thinking emotions and behavior," he said.

Even nearly a decade on, Williams' death is still one that both fans and fellow celebrities struggle to grasp. Neill, known for his work in the "Jurassic Park" franchise, shared the screen with Williams in 1999's "Bicentennial Man," in which the latter played an android that wants to become more human. 

In his new memoir, Neill talked about the times he shared with Williams, including the "great chats" they had in their trailers during filming. But despite being incredibly funny, he could sense the late actor was lonely and struggling.

"We would talk about this and that, sometimes even about the work we were about to do," wrote Neill. He added that Williams "was irresistibly, outrageously, irrepressibly, gigantically funny," and the "funniest person" he'd ever worked with. However, he was also "the saddest person I ever met."

Sam Neill (2017), (Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images)

"He had fame, he was rich, people loved him, great kids — the world was his oyster. And yet I felt more sorry for him than I can express. He was the loneliest man on a lonely planet," Neill wrote.

Neill remembered that Williams seemed "inconsolably solitary, and deeply depressed," and added he "could sense the dark space inside" when he was with him.

But Williams was a true professional in every sense and "as soon as he flung open the (trailer) door, he was on." Perhaps, his comedy was something that helped him cope with the darkness he felt. Neill explained:

"Funny stuff just poured out of him. And everybody was in stitches, and when everybody was in stitches, you could see Robin was happy."

The late actor's son Zak Williams opened up on "The Dr. Oz Show" in 2020 about his father's mental health struggles. 

"I was acutely aware of my dad's struggles with depression, it manifested in addiction at times," he said

Zak added: "The main thing for me was noticing how he went to great lengths to support himself while he could show up for others. It was clear that he prioritized his mental health throughout most of his life, at least that I experienced with him."

Back in February 2023, Sally Field, Williams' co-star from "Mrs. Doubtfire," remembered the late actor fondly on the SAG Awards red carpet: 

"I mean, Robin was Robin. He was everything he seemed to be: a generous, loving, sweet, geniously talented man."

Field added that she missed Williams and said he should've been there alongside her.

"We all miss him. He should be growing old like me, for God's sakes. I hate it that he isn't here," she said.

Meanwhile, Neill revealed in his memoir that he has stage three blood cancer. He wrote: "The thing is, I’m crook. Possibly dying. I may have to speed this up." 

Zachary Pym Williams, Robin Williams (2012), (Kevin Mazur/WireImage)

What do you think about Sam Neill describing Robin Williams as "the saddest person" he ever met? Would you have guessed that was the case? Let us know your thoughts, then pass this on to any fans of the comedian so they can read about it too.

If you or anybody you know is struggling with depression or suicidal thoughts, please visit to find your local suicide prevention hotline. The hotlines provide 24/7, free and confidential support for you or your loved ones, and best practices for professionals. 

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