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    Posted August 16, 2014 by
    marciarhea
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    In Memoriam


    The Magic of Robin Williams

     
    It hit me like a swift punch in the gut. Robin Williams unexpectedly passed away this morning. My son shared the sad news from his iPhone. My husband and I stared at each other in shock and disbelief.

    Throughout the day as the tributes poured in, my mind kept drifting back to the NATO conference in Las Vegas called ShoWest (now CinemaCon). In 1997, my kid cousin, her friend and I attended the industry trade 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 began to unfold, the conference offered more than we could ever imagine! So many great moments and meetings, but one moment stood out from all the rest. One evening, in a room full of show biz greats, Robin Williams with his good friend 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 spontaneous one-liners kept rolling off Robin Willliams and bouncing onto his straight man Billy Crystal. The comedic energy between the two actors circled around us like pure magic!

    To our pleasant 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 the "powers to be" were about to extinguish the flame of magic, Robin Williams kept the rapid fires going. Egged on by then Warner Brothers Chairman Terry Semel, Robin Williams proceeded to roast Mel Gibson and George Clooney in the grand 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 treasured gift that night...the timeless gift of laughter.

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