- Posted August 11, 2014 by
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Robin Williams' secret act of kindness for a dying fan
Her name was Jessica Cole. She had a brain tumor, she had weeks left to live, and before she died she wanted to meet Robin Williams. “I don’t know if I’ve ever met a bigger fan of Mrs. Doubtfire in my life,” her father, Mark, remembers with a chuckle.
Thanks to the Make-A-Wish Foundation, a secret visit was arranged. No one was allowed to know because the actor didn’t want any publicity. But Jessica was too frail to fly to California, where the actor was filming “House of D” at the time. So Robin Williams paid out of his own pocket to fly a private jet to her house.
“It must have cost $30,000, $40,000,” says Cole.
When Robin Williams arrived, Jessica, who was suffering from memory impairments, had a bit of trouble recognizing the actor. But as soon he threw out some Mrs. Doubtfire impressions, she lit up — and a friendship was born.
“He made her feel very special all day; it was just one on one.” says Cole. “He did a lot of funny Mrs. Doubtfire scenes that she enjoyed. He was cracking my daughter Jessica up… he really wanted to spend time with Jessica."
As the day wore on, the pair relaxed in easy chairs and watched Carolina Panthers games. Jessica taught Robin Williams how to play card games he didn’t know, like Secret Seven. And he continued to tell jokes to make her laugh.
“He was very funny,” recalls Cole. “He was like that all day long… I couldn’t believe it. I felt very privileged that he came to spend the day with her like that. It was the most moving thing I’ve ever seen in my life."
That afternoon, Williams got the call that friend and fellow actor Chirstopher Reeve had passed away. “He stayed a little longer and apologized for having to go," says Cole.
“After he left, Jessica had some trouble piecing it all together, but then the next day it seemed a little more clear, and she really appreciated it. She passed away about two weeks after."
“When I heard the news today that Robin died, I cried for half an hour like a little girl. Just thinking about the compassion that he felt for my daughter… you don’t meet very many good people like that."
-- Wilfred Chan, CNN Producer
10 years ago my 13-year-old daughter died of a brain tumor. Her Make-A-Wish was to meet Robin Williams (She watched Mrs. Doubtfire a hundred times).
His assistant called us a couple of months before she passed and invited her to the set of House of D. She was too sick to make the trip, so to our surprise Mr. Williams at his expense chartered a jet and flew to our Greensboro, N.C. home one Sunday and spent the day watching football and playing cards with my daughter Jessica.
It was such a beautiful thing for this wonderful man to take time from his busy schedule to spend this time with her. He was with us when he received the call that his friend Christopher Reeve had passed. I will be eternally grateful to him. Rest in Peace