It was only after his death that the news of his philanthropic activity was revealed.
Editor's note: This article was originally published on December 6, 2022. It has since been updated.
It has been seven years since the movie industry lost one of the best talents they ever had—Robin Williams. The Jumanji actor died by suicide in 2014, after a long battle with LBD and depression, and friends, family, and fans still miss the stellar actor. Apart from his contagious smile and his absolutely wonderful work, the actor also had a heart that overflow with kindness.
There are scores of celebrities that engage in philanthropic activities. While for most it could be merely a PR stunt, but for Williams, it was something he yearned to do. However, he wanted to do it quietly, because he didn't want any attention that came with it. This is why many of his compassionate deeds only came to light after his untimely demise.
Shortly after Williams' death in August 2014, it was revealed that between 2004 and 2008 the Dead Poets Society actor secretly raised almost $50,000 for a food bank in Seattle. Speaking to USA Today just days after Williams' death, Mike Cervino, a volunteer at the West Seattle Food Bank said everyone there was having a hard time dealing with his death. "It's threefold, actually. One because he was a great comedian. Two, because he donated here, and three because people really rely on that here."
Editor’s note: This article was originally published on December 8, 2021. It has since been updated.
The food bank revealed that back in 2004, Williams performed stand-up comedy at the Showbox nightclub in Seattle and donated all the proceeds from the show to the organization. "I was just astounded. Robin Williams is the type of person who really understands there are a lot of people who are really, really struggling," Executive Director Fran Yeatts said about the actor's generous contributions.
Williams went on to donate the proceeds from shows in 2007 and 2008 as well, raising nearly $50,000 for the organization, added Yeatts. The actor's donations couldn't have come at a better time for the food bank, the economy was collapsing and they were desperate for any help that came their way just to stay afloat.
His kindness and generosity inspired millions around the world, but it really made a difference in the life of people, including food bank volunteer Bill Bacon, who had to struggle with bipolar disorder and understood the darkness that consumes you when depression takes over. He chose to remember the actor for the way he lived his life rather than how he ended it.
"In spite of the problems that some people have, they can still aspire to great things. I think Robin Williams is a classic example of that," he said. Bacon isn't the only one to have seen the real side of Williams up close. Aaron Ellis, another volunteer at the food bank met the actor in 2004. He recalled how Williams openly admitted his shortcomings and was willing to relate to a regular guy from West Seattle. "He was this real guy, this regular Joe that had the same issues," said Ellis, who like the actor, suffered from depression and addiction.
"He said it was an honor for him to be able to do these things, to give back. That meant the world to me. It solidified my sobriety to this day," said Ellis.
Though it's been over a decade since that memorable meeting, Ellis is still sober. Now, all he wants is for people battling depression to reach out for help and hope when they do, society will lend a helping hand instead of judging them. "I realize it makes no sense, but it's what happens. This is our reality," he said at the time.
Cover Image Source: Getty Images | Photo by Carlo Allegri