It has been a little over a week since the tragic death of Robin Williams. There has been an outpouring of sympathy around the world for this beloved comedian, and fans have taken to social media to share their grief and shock, and to show respect and love. Every news outlet has aired his interviews and clips of his movies, TV shows and stand-up comedy.
In these movies, and many others, Williams knew how to make a powerful connection with the other characters and with his audience. What was it that enabled Williams to connect with audiences and to be so loved?
As I watched the interview, I realized that it was not just his comic genius and his extraordinary gifts as an actor that made him so beloved. Robin Williams was a student of the human condition, and he not only had the ability to reach out to people, whether through his comedy or his dramatic roles, but he showed a genuine interest in others.
Before and after the interview, he had interacted with everyone on the set. From the crew who was filming the interview to the interviewer, he immediately made everyone feel comfortable. In fact, I happened to be the interviewer on that occasion, and I witnessed firsthand a true gentleman who engaged everyone in real conversations. My cousin, Brynie, who was accompanying me that day, will never forget his warmth and humility.
As I said to CNN’s, Christi Paul, during my segment on Sunday, I have interviewed many extraordinarily talented and famous people, but few combined GREAT talent with GREAT humility and GREAT kindness. The question is: Do each of us always treat others with great humility and great kindness? It truly is something to strive for.
Richard Moss said it so perfectly: “The greatest gift we can give each other is the quality of our attention.”