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

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    A Tribute to Robin Williams


    Dear CNN, I tried to sign up for ireport, but I was unsuccessful, so I am e-mailing my tribute instead. Thank you for considering it... It hit me like a swift punch in the gut. Robin Williams unexpectedly passed away this morning. My son shared the sad news with me from his I phone. My husband and I stared at each other in shock and disbelief. The brilliant and beloved comedian was dead. Throughout the day as the tributes started pouring in, my mind kept going back to the NATO conference in Las Vegas called ShoWest (now CinemaCon). In 1997, my baby cousin, her friend and I attended the show to view the slate of Hollywood films being offered to the theater exhibitors. That year, my cousin managed a theater, and I contemplated a purchase of one. So, off we flew to Vegas to perform our due diligence and hopefully have some fun! As events unfolded, the conference was more than we could have imagined! So many great moments and meetings, but one moment stood out from all the rest. One evening, in a room full of industry greats, Robin Williams and Billy Crystal were introduced to the insider crowd. What happened next proved to be sheer delight to the ears of the conference attendees. A new film "Father's Day" was about to be released, and the one-liners kept rolling off Robin Williams and bouncing onto straight man Billy Crystal. The comedic energy between the two actors proved to be pure magic! To our surprise, the bit which lasted several minutes was totally improvised. The audience roared, and I remember that I have never laughed so hard in my life. My cousin and I locked eyes. The realization hit us hard. We were among the privileged few to hear this original routine. And just when we thought the flame of magic was extinguished; Robin Williams kept the rapid fires going. Egged on by then Warner Brothers Chairman Terry Semel, Robin Williams roasted Mel Gibson and George Clooney in the old style of the Dean Martin celebrity dinners. Good old- fashioned, stomach-doubling laughter... What a great sacrifice it is to expose yourself, put everything on the line like Robin Williams did for us. I am so thankful that I experienced his comic genius firsthand. Little did the comedian know that he gave me a gift that night...the timeless gift of laughter. Marcia Chandler Rhea 843-559-1028 Sent from my iPad

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