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    Posted August 14, 2014 by
    Plainsboro, New Jersey
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    In Memoriam

    I Met My Hero: And He Screamed in My Ear =)

    My name is Michael Villastrigo. I'm a New York Actor.
    Robin Williams was my favorite actor for a very long time- he'll always be very special to me.

    There are very few actors that I've seen that have completely bewildered me; that left me thinking about their performance for days, to months, to sometimes years afterwards; and as an end result, leaving me thinking: "I NEED to be able to do that someday."

    The first time was around the end of high school when I saw "The Fisher King" for the first (of many) time(s). I was amazed, and unfortunately for those around me I talked about it for month's. (I still talk about it.) In response to my blabbering, my friend let me borrow a box set of "Mork and Mindy" (hence, the attached photo) and I was, once again, completely blown away by Robin William's. Not just by how funny he was, but by the immense freedom he had. I think that's what really got hold of me. I began to study his films closely and ate up everything he did. I marveled at the man who could play absolutely anything.

    Of course, later on I discovered the work of other's, and was equally seized by actor's like Peter O'toole, Kevin Kline and Mark Rylance.
    I've been lucky enough to meet a few of those actor's. (on one occasion, even got to work with one)

    I'm grateful to say that one of the actor's I met was Robin Williams:

    It was during his very last comedy tour, "Weapon's of Self Destruction". I had two friend's that were going on a Wednesday night and had an extra ticket to get rid of, I was in college and it was a school night. I had quite a bit of homework to do, so of course, I did the responsible thing- I blew off everything and went to see his show!

    We were sitting in the back of the rear mezzanine of a broadway theater filled with people that were roaring with laughter. My two friends decided to challenge that deafening volume of the laughter with their own voices; about halfway through the show they counted down from three and screamed in unison "WE LOVE YOU!!!" Robin heard this and reacted immediately, and then proceeded to incorporate it into his routine.
    It was terrific. The show as a whole was great, and he was hysterical.

    Afterward's, my friends wanted to get autographs. So I, not so reluctant to tag along, followed them to the stage door. I don't remember how I felt when we were waiting. I imagine I was cold because it was Winter, and I imagine that I was very nervous.

    What I do remember is how calm I became when he came outside.

    It's a strange thing… you meet one of your heroes and you worry that your stomach will do backflips, or that you'll puke on them, or you'll be so nervous that you won't be able to speak. Well the latter was the state my friends were in, yet I was dead calm. I watched him greet fans and sign autographs in a very kind, low-energy, soft-spoken manner. I knew all at once that he was just a normal guy. A normal guy that was exhausted after performing his ass off. It put me at peace.

    My friends were planning to tell him that they were the one's who screamed at him during the show, but when he came around they were too nervous to do anything but hold out they're programs for an autograph.

    As he turned to walk away, I decided to tell him.

    "Hey Robin!" I said loud enough that he turned around startled;
    "These two were the ones who screamed at you earlier!"

    He walked back toward us with a puzzled look. He was scanning their faces and you could tell he was trying to recall who they were, or what we were talking about.

    My one friend then managed to get up the courage to speak.

    "We said 'We Love You'"

    At this he lit up:


    Then, his jaw dropped like a nutcracker and he spoke loudly( and in one breath)


    I told him his set was great, then he looked at me and asked-

    "Are you a comic?"

    I replied,

    "I'm an actor"

    He lit up again, and with a bigger smile than before said-

    "That's wonderful!"

    I then had a short but delightful conversation with him about being an actor, and moreover, being a young actor in New York.

    At the end of it I thanked him and joked "You're show was great, the only downside is that these two blew out my eardrum when they screamed at you."

    He then grinned and asked,

    "Which ear was it?"

    I pointed to my right ear…

    Robin then took a slight step toward my left ear, popped open his mouth and made this sound:


    After screaming (not directly into but very close to) my ear, he stepped back chuckling,

    "Now you're deaf in both, just like me!"

    And with that he walked away smiling.

    I'm going to remember that for the rest of my life. I didn't get to really know him well, but I have a feeling I have a pretty good idea of his character based on that one night! He was a marvelous actor, an extremely funny man, but also genuine, soft spoken and kind. He was one of my heroes.
    The world has been greatly affected by this man's life, for the better too, I think. My only regret is that future generations won't get to see new work created by this wonderful man. That being said, we'll always have the tremendous films he left behind- I know for a fact that my future kid won't grow up without watching "Aladdin", "Mrs. Doubtfire", and when he gets old enough- "The Fisher King".

    On Inside the Actor's Studio, Jame's Lipton always asks his guests: "If there is a heaven, what would you like God to say to you when you arrive?" When Robin William's was asked this, he said "I don't know, I just hope that there's laughter there. If heaven exists, I think it would be great to know that laughter also exists there."

    Well Robin, if laughter wasn't up there before, I'm sure it is now. Thank you for your work, for affecting my life, and giving laughter to millions of people. Rest in Peace Mr. Williams.
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