After news of Robin Williams' suicide broke on Monday, the combination of his pan-generational appeal and the major societal buttons pushed by his confessed struggles with depression and addiction drove an intense amount of media coverage.
The New York Times featured him on its front page in successive days. ABC commissioned all-Williams episodes of 20/20 and Nightline and Nightline went on to feature him the next night. Latenight host Conan O’Brien broke the news to his stunned studio audience in a pre-taping. Jimmy Fallon cried, calling Williams the “Muhammad Ali” of comedy. TMZ and other entertainment news websites saw traffic surges. With the exception of a widely denounced comment by Shepard Smith of Fox News, who later apologized for calling Williams a “coward,” and gritty, tabloid-style coverage by the Daily News, which drew some hisses, most of the coverage was laudatory and striking in its volume.
Among the outpouring were reactions from those in the industry, who took to Twitter and other online forums. Below is a sampling:
I could not be more stunned by the loss of Robin Williams, mensch, great talent, acting partner, genuine soul.
— Steve Martin (@SteveMartinToGo) August 11, 2014
“Robin Williams was an airman, a doctor, a genie a nanny, a president, a professor, a bangarang Peter Pan, and everything in between. But he was one of a kind. He arrived in our lives as an alien – but he ended up touching every element of the human spirit. He made us laugh. He made us cry. He gave his immeasurable talent freely and generously to those who needed it most – from our troops stationed abroad to the marginalized on our own streets. The Obama family offers our condolences to Robin’s family, his friends, and everyone who found their voice and their verse thanks to Robin Williams.”
— Statement from President Barack Obama
I can’t believe the news about Robin Williams. He gave so much to so many people. I’m heartbroken.
— Ellen DeGeneres (@TheEllenShow) August 11, 2014
Robin was as sweet a man as he was funny. If you're sad, please tell someone.
— Jimmy Kimmel (@jimmykimmel) August 11, 2014
Thank you to the beautifully original + brave artist that is #RobinWilliams. You taught us how to stand on the edge, fearless, + shine.
— JARED LETO (@JaredLeto) August 11, 2014
We mourn the loss of our friend Robin Williams, who always made us laugh and smile. pic.twitter.com/UOY8LTjVRA
— Sesame Street (@sesamestreet) August 11, 2014
Robin Williams was like no other ..To watch him create on the spot was a privilege to behold.. Robin you are an angel now !!! REST IN PEACE
— Henry Winkler (@hwinkler4real) August 11, 2014
"Robin Williams was a true force of nature whose remarkable body of work touched untold millions. He was sincere and generous and one of the most brilliant comedic minds ever to grace the planet. Very few achieve his exalted status. Our hearts go out to his family and friends, and to the entire comedy community for losing one of our own."
— Statement from Comedy Central
Just shared a moment of silence on the set for Robin Williams, a man who brought so much laughter, joy and healing to so many.
— Lena Dunham (@lenadunham) August 12, 2014
The world has lost a comic genius & huge talent. Interviewing Robin Williams was like taking the wildest roller coaster ride of your life.
— Katie Couric (@katiecouric) August 11, 2014
Please, people, do not fuck with depression. It's merciless. All it wants is to get you in a room alone and kill you. Take care of yourself
— Harvey Fierstein (@HarveyFierstein) August 12, 2014
— John Solberg (@JohnSolbergFX) August 11, 2014
“Robin Williams was a comedy giant, and although we only knew him personally for a season, he was warm, funny and a true professional. His cast and crew both loved him and loved working with him, and our hearts go out to his family and friends. He was one of a kind.”
— Statement from 20th Century Fox Television, Producer of “The Crazy Ones”
“I am deeply saddened to hear of Robin Williams’ death. He was a performer of limitless versatility, equally adept at comedy and drama, whether scripted or improv. With his incomparable manic style, he could appeal to adult sensibilities in a stand-up comedy routine or elicit giggles from children as the voice of Genie in “Aladdin.” Outside of his career, he used his considerable talents to raise money for charity. He was not only a talented man, but a true humanitarian. It’s such a tremendous loss.”
— Ken Howard, SAG-AFTRA President
Took a down elevator after an SNL show years ago with #RobinWilliams, he sang the "Girl from Ipanema" so everyone could hear Muzak.
— Brad Adgate (@badgate) August 12, 2014
Robin Williams made the world laugh & think. I will remember & honor that. A great man, artist and friend. I will miss him beyond measure.
— Kevin Spacey (@KevinSpacey) August 12, 2014
Absolutely stunned to hear the news about Robin Williams. It's unimaginable to me that we've lost such a genuinely funny and sweet man.
— Conan O'Brien (@ConanOBrien) August 12, 2014
When I was a kid Robin Williams was as much a superhero to me as Spider-Man, Batman, The Hulk.... A TRUE LEGEND. RIP Robin. Already missed.
— W. Kamau Bell (@wkamaubell) August 12, 2014
— Joel McHale (@joelmchale) August 11, 2014
O Captain! My Captain! Rise up and hear the bells. Rise up, for you the flag is flung, for you the bugle trills.
— Anna Kendrick (@AnnaKendrick47) August 11, 2014
Robin Williams ~ Vaya Con Dios my friend , I love you
— George Lopez (@georgelopez) August 11, 2014
I am so sorry about Robin. He was sweet and generous and kind as well as a comedic genius. This is just terrible news. #RIPRobinWilliams
— Craig Ferguson (@CraigyFerg) August 11, 2014
Thanks for the years of feel good laughter. RIP Robin Williams.
— Queen Latifah (@IAMQUEENLATIFAH) August 12, 2014
Today we lost a true artist. My prayers are with the family of Robin Williams. We are forever grateful for the joy he brought into the world
— Tony Robbins (@tonyrobbins) August 12, 2014
Oh Robin...Our hearts are broken. Rest in peace darling. We loved you.
— Goldie Hawn (@goldiehawn) August 11, 2014
RIP to my dear brother and friend Robin Williams. The world will miss the decades of laughter that you gave all of us.
— Quincy Jones (@QuincyDJones) August 11, 2014
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