Robin Williams spent his final days in torment – sobbing behind the scenes as he struggled to remember ‘how to be funny’. One colleague, a make-up artist called Cheri Minns, told the New York Post that he suffered a break down while filming.
“He was sobbing in my arms at the end of every day. It was horrible. Horrible,” she said in Dave Itzkoff’s eagerly-anticipated biography, Robin.”At night I was on my computer, looking up, ‘How to deal with a paranoid’ so that I wouldn’t say the wrong thing.”I said to his people, ‘I’m a makeup artist. I don’t have the capacity to deal with what’s happening to him.'”
And when she tried to convince the star – who didn’t realise he was battling an incurable brain disease – to return to stand up to rebuild his confidence, she said “He just cried and said, ‘I can’t, Cheri. I don’t know how anymore. I don’t know how to be funny.'”
The controversial new book that sheds devastating light on the star’s private health battles which led up to his subsequent suicide in August 2014, aged 63.
As well as suffering a dramatic lapse in memory, which frequently saw him forget his lines, he also developed an array of other symptoms including insomnia, heartburn, indigestion, loss of his sense of smell and trouble urinating.
In 2014 he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease, although an autopsy would later reveal he was actually suffering from Lewy body disease – a degenerative and incurable condition that causes dementia and affects motor functioning.
Detailing his symptoms in a piece for medical journal Neurology, she described how the once vivacious star, “had a slow, shuffling gait. He hated that he could not find the words he wanted in conversations.
“He would thrash at night and still had terrible insomnia. At times, he would find himself stuck in a frozen stance, unable to move, and frustrated when he came out of it. He was beginning to have trouble with visual and spatial abilities in the way of judging distance and depth.
“His loss of basic reasoning just added to his growing confusion.”