Movies - TV
Robin Williams Left A Lasting Impression On The Wires Creator David Simon
By JEREMY SMITH
Robin Williams made a guest appearance as a father coping with the murder of his wife on the NBC drama “Homicide: Life on the Streets.” While his guest star role was to help boost interest in the show, it also gave David Simon, a young writer who would eventually create HBO’s “The Wire,” a chance to observe the genius performer’s process up close in an experience he would never forget.
Williams’ commitment to his emotionally distraught character trying to comfort his sons struck Simon. In Dave Itzkoff’s biography of the star, “Robin,” Simon said, “The crazed, manic stand-up routines, the machine-gun witticisms, and impersonations — all of it was on hold as he tried to live in the shattered soul of a husband and father who had just lost his wife to sudden, implacable violence.”
In between setups, Simon witnessed the actor lighten the grim mood with his zany antics, but the writer was fascinated by how Williams got back into character. Simon shared with Itzkoff that “He caught sight of Robin in a hallway, ‘using the few remaining minutes before filming to face the wall and reacquaint himself with whatever horror he was trying to channel.”
Simon continued, “He was sweating, too, as if it had taken all he had to rise to that warm summit and provoke such laughter. To my great surprise, his face was that of an unhappy man, and I retreated, saddened and surprised by the thought.” That episode was one of the week's most-watched shows, and Williams’ received an Emmy nomination for his performance.