Robin Williams could light up the screen like no other. In the late 1970s and early ’80s, the larger-than-life actor took Hollywood by storm with his career-making turn as the lovable extraterrestrial Mork on the hit sitcom Mork & Mindy. The role propelled him to superstardom and won him his first Golden Globe Award. He went on to charm critics and fans alike with spirited performances in films like Good Morning, Vietnam and Mrs. Doubtfire

Behind the scenes, however, there was a darkness that few knew about. Robin — who tragically took his own life at age 63 in August 2014 — was battling a serious addiction to drugs and alcohol. In a new episode of Vice TV’s Dark Side of Comedy, former pals reveal things got so bad that the stand-up couldn’t go on stage without using cocaine. Fellow comedian Allan Stephan says a panicked Robin once asked him for drugs before getting on stage for a stand-up set. “He said, ‘Know anyone with any blow? I have to go on and I can’t go on without any blow.’” As an insider tells Star: “Robin needed to be ‘on’ all the time. He didn’t think he’d be any good without drugs. It wasn’t true, but that’s what he believed.”  


The Academy Award winning actor got caught in a vicious cycle of using cocaine and alcohol. “I was crazy back then — working all day, partying all night,” he said in 1988. In one harrowing moment, another former Robin friend, Mike Binder, remembers that the Dead Poets Society star snorted a gram of cocaine within minutes at a comedy club. “It was like, 8:15 p.m. at night,” Mike revealed. “I was like, ‘Robin, you did the whole gram?’ He was like, ‘It was an accident, I’m sorry.’ With drugs, he was a monster.” 

Robin Williams ‘Felt Hopeless’ Over Parkinson’s Diagnosis Prior to Death

As an insider recalls, “Robin would show up to shoot Mork & Mindy looking like a trainwreck.” According to the show’s director, Howard Storm, the Chicago native would often arrive to set still under the influence. “He hadn’t slept all night. He was snorting coke, and if you snort coke, in order to come down you drink booze,” he told the author of the 2018 biography Robin. “He was out all night and screwing everybody in town.”


When Robin’s good friend John Belushi died from an overdose in 1982, it was a huge wake-up call — they’d been partying together the night before the Saturday Night Live star’s death. “It sobered the s–t out of me,” Robin later said. He got clean and focused on work and his three kids (Zachary, 40, Zelda, 34, and Cody, 31). He blamed a 2006 alcohol relapse on “fearfulness and anxiety,” and completed another stint in rehab in 2014. “He was sober, but his problems didn’t ever really go away,” says the insider. 

He fell into a deep depression when he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s (an autopsy determined it was Lewy body dementia). “Robin was scared and couldn’t deal with what was happening to him,” says the insider. “He was exhibiting symptoms like paranoia, confusion, mood swings and had trouble walking, and he felt hopeless.” Nine years after his death, those closest to him remain heartbroken. “We remember him as the funniest, most humble guy,” says the insider. “He had the biggest heart.”

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