As the world continues to mourn the loss of a comedic genius in Robin Williams, the impact he made on people from all corners of the world is coming to light. One of those places where the legendary actor made was South Florida.
Williams and Miami Beach fit together like a glove. When the movie “The Birdcage” was put together with Williams in a starring role and set in Miami, both Williams and Miami Beach made an impact on each other.
Many of the scenes, and the movie overall, have turned a ramshackle location into a must-see tourist attraction.
“I was thinking about it when we are approaching the centennial of Miami Beach and how ‘The Birdcage’ was such a significant location,” said Graham Winick, who worked on set with Williams. “People still go to the Carlyle looking for the club that is the Birdcage.”
Williams returned to the beach in the mid-2000’s to film the movie “Old Dogs” with John Travolta and others. Fans and tourists were constantly on the set to try and get a look at their favorite stars or even get a quick interaction with them.
“We were concerned because we knew there would be a lot of people out to see the movie stars like John Travolta and Robin Williams,” Winick said. “They were wonderful, outgoing to all their fans. He (Williams) seemed very happy on set. Happy to have fans around. And for a performer, what more could you want?”
It wasn’t all fun and games for Williams in South Florida. Just five years ago, the then-57-year-old comedian had to cancel shows after he was put in the hospital due to heart issues. He was in the ICU after complaining of shortness of breath and chest pain.
The heart problems came in the middle of his 80-city one-man show called “Weapons of Self-Destruction” tour.
Williams battled drugs, alcohol, and depression throughout his life. He had beaten back the addictions once and had recently checked himself into another rehabilitation facility to as he described it, “fine tune” his recovery.
His comedic and acting genius stood tall over several generations of comedians and actors who continue to cite his stylings as inspirations for their own career. He brought light and joy into the hearts of millions who loved his work. South Florida held a special place for Williams’ career and the area held in the same high regard.
Robin Williams’ comedy, acting career, and passion for life will go on for years, but South Florida, and the world, have lost a legend.