His unusual request to film companies who wanted to work with him shows how deeply he felt for people who needed help.
It's been long since the beloved actor passed away but his fans are still in disbelief and share stories of his kindness and humor to date. He was not only a gifted actor and comedian but he also was a deeply sympathetic human being who did his best to help people in need.
His witty one-liners from his stand-up comedy gigs and iconic movies are still referenced frequently. While a lot has been said and written about his empathetic nature, a story shared by Brian Lord, a fan of the actor, is incredibly touching.
In his blog, Brian wrote a story about a strange request from the Dead Poet's Society actor. He explained how his company had signed Robin Williams for an event and one of his rider requests was nothing like he had come across in the industry. A rider request form is usually a list of things an artist would need during an event. This includes their technical needs, backstage support, even the kind of water they prefer to drink. But this incredible artist has the most unique of requests.
"I was very surprised by what I found. He actually had a requirement that for every single event or film he did, the company hiring him also had to hire a certain number of homeless people and put them to work," writes Brian.
Being used to vainer requests in the past, he did not expect this, especially from an A-lister. He wrote:
"Years ago I learned a very cool thing about Robin Williams, and I couldn’t watch a movie of his afterward without thinking of it. I never actually booked Robin Williams for an event, but I came close enough that his office sent over his rider. For those outside of the entertainment industry, a rider lists out an artist’s specific personal and technical needs for hosting them for an event- anything from bottled water and their green room to sound and lighting requirements. You can learn a lot about a person from their rider. This is where rocks bands list their requirement for green M&Ms (which is actually a surprisingly smart thing to do). This is also where a famous environmentalist requires a large gas-guzzling private jet to fly to the event city, but then requires an electric or hybrid car to take said environmentalist to the event venue when in view of the public."
"I’m sure that on his own time and with his own money, he was working with these people in need, but he’d also decided to use his clout as an entertainer to make sure that production companies and event planners also learned the value of giving people a chance to work their way back. I wonder how many production companies continued the practice into their next non-Robin Williams project, as well as how many people got a chance at a job and the pride of earning an income, even temporarily, from his actions. He was a great multiplier of his impact. Let’s hope that impact lives on without him. Thanks, Robin Williams- not just for laughs, but also for a cool example."
Ricky Gervais, an actor and stand-up comedian, also revealed how the Academy-Award winner always wanted to make everyone happy, "I did a benefit gig with him and there were loads of new comedians that we hadn't heard of, and he spent the whole night at the side of the stage watching them — you could hear him laughing louder than anyone — and they were just blown away. He was a legend. Amazing. It's really sad."
Ricky, the creator of After Life, highlighted how kind the legendary star was in his interview with the Huffington Post, "Even when he wasn't well, he would just try his best to make you laugh — you could see it was a chore almost but he'd absolutely love it."