Foods Robin Williams Used to Eat And His Surprising Lifestyle Habits
The passing of beloved actor and comedian, Robin Williams shocked many people. Indeed, he created timeless movie moments in a plethora of films from Mrs. Doubtfire and Aladdin to Good Will Hunting and Jumanji. No wonder Williams holds a special place in so many hearts.
On August 11, 2014, authorities announced that Robin Williams perished in his home. A spokesperson later noted that the 63-year-old actor had been “battling with depression.” The comic, however, was quite candid about his struggles with alcoholism, mental health, and the sudden death of his friend John Belushi. He always seemed to persevere, and no one expected him to join the list of celebrities that went too soon.
Williams leaves behind a legacy that is rich with kindness, generosity, and laughter.
He supported the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation, Comic Relief, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, the Livestrong Foundation, and the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation.
Indeed, Williams spread his wealth with many worthy causes.
But it was about more than money. Everyone from people on Reddit to celebrities have fond memories about Robin Williams’s diet and kindness. His legacy lives on.
It all began with Williams benefitting from the kindness of his friends.
Sharing Is Caring
He left, however, in 1976 before receiving his degree.
And in the ’70s, Williams struggled. Even though his parents provided for him during childhood, as a new artist, Williams didn’t always have enough money to buy food.
In 2013, Williams revealed how he got through those uncomfortable times.
According to an interview from Reddit, Reeves kept the Mrs. Doubtfire actor fed. The men were roommates. Williams went on to say Reeves was “literally feeding me because I don’t think I literally had money for food or my student loan hadn’t come in yet, and he would share his food with me.”
Williams Paid It Forward
The departed actor made an impression on most people he encountered. He lit up rooms. In a conversation with Eater, restauranter Mario Batalli confirmed this fact.
He gushed about how Williams.
Apparently, the actor was a favorite customer at the restaurant. “Robin Williams used to come in with Billy Crystal, and they would walk in and literally the whole dining room would listen to them kibitzing back and forth,” Batali explained.
At the end of every meal, Williams left something extra.
“[He] would always go to the bar and get two bottles of champagne, pour a glass for every chef in the kitchen, and bring it back to them, Batali continued. “And of course, you will follow him forever because of that.”
Before Acting, He Worked As A Busboy
When the Julliard School had summer breaks, Williams would travel to San Fransico, CA. The West Coast became the actor’s second home after his parents moved from Michigan.
And he seemed to love the Golden State.
Like a lot of actors, Williams made supplemental income by working in a restaurant. He served at The Trident in Sausalito, CA. And he may have been the most charismatic busboy in the house.
He was no stranger to restaurant life.
Williams stayed in food service for quite some time. For about three years, between 1974 and 1976, Williams worked at The Trident.
He lived off of tips.
And the establishment has many loving anecdotes and throwback photos from the actor’s time there. What we wouldn’t give to meet Williams in a restaurant!
He Had A Thing For Late Night Donuts
On Reddit, one user recounted a time when they bumped into Robin Williams at a donut shop. The Redditor’s family members were all in San Francisco, CA, to mourn the tragic loss of two loved ones.
After the funeral service, the family went into a random donut shop.
And the Redditor shared:
We all went inside, and lo and behold, Mr. Robin Williams was there, sitting in a booth eating a couple [of] donuts and drinking some coffee. He noticed our well dressed, solemn-looking crew walk in, and pretty quickly after we sat down to eat the delicious treats, he came over.
Williams made everyone’s night a little better.
The Redditor went on to say:
I couldn’t tell you what they laughed about, but I remember seeing my parents laugh and smile for the first time in weeks. My dad remembered that so fondly. He always said it was exactly what he had needed in that time, and that he appreciated the way Robin Williams went about it…
The actor didn’t want recognition.
It wasn’t that he was a celebrity, he was just being a nice guy who saw a bunch of sad folks and realized he could probably make a difference. And he did.
Williams Was A Successful Restaurant Investor
The actor seemed to manage his money wisely. And one of his notable investments involved food. How so? Williams partially owned the San Francisco, CA, restaurant, Rubicon.
The establishment closed its doors in August of 2008.
The legendary San Francisco haunt had many celebrity investors, though. Robert DeNiro and Francis Ford Coppola both financially supported the venture.
In its heyday, Rubicon accomplished a lot.
It employed all of the best chefs, restauranters, and sommeliers. “For me, it was like opening my own restaurant,” Rubicon’s opening chef Traci Des Jardins remembered.
Jardins went on to say:
We had these brilliantly talented people – who were all just cooks then – and that fostered more talent coming through.
Williams Also Had Fun With Food On Film
Bridges, a restaurant in Danville, CA, provided the memorable setting for the big reveal scene in Mrs. Doubtfire. One of the actor’s most celebrated roles made this Chinese restaurant a part of cinematic history.
And Williams makes things a little spicy.
In this particular scene, the Robin Williams character spikes a dish with an extra helping of cayenne pepper. Mrs. Doubtfire also takes off the mask and shocks everyone.
How did Bridges feel about being featured in a Robin Williams film?
The restaurant enjoyed the proximity to Williams and Hollywood overall. In fact, a poster signed by Robin Williams hangs prominently in the eatery.
It wasn’t all smooth sailing, though.
According to The Pleasanton Weekly, the restaurant had to close for an entire month during the filming period in the early 1990s.
He Got In A Few (Imaginary) Food Fights
Anyone who’s seen the 1991 film, Hook likely remembers this outrageous food scene. Williams (who plays Peter Pan) engages in an imaginary food fight. The screen lights up with his presence as well as bursts of colors and lashings of cream.
An actor from the movie shared his experience on Reddit.
“I was the youngest Lost Boy in, Hook with Robin Williams,” Thomas Tulak wrote. And when a Reddit user asked about the consistency of the Never Food, Tulak responded, “[The food] was SOO goopy! It was whipped cream with food coloring.”
We wonder if anyone secretly had a bite.
He Went On A Date At A Cafeteria
Robin Williams 1992 film, Toys, is a little more somber than the similarly titled, Toy Story. It’s as if Willy Wonka meets Mattel in this fever-dream-like movie. During the film, though, Williams’s character goes on a date at the workplace cafeteria.
The movie was a flop.
This scene still warms our hearts, though. Toys may have overdosed on whimsy, but we still love Williams’ anti-artificial sugar rant.
The Actor Had A Charming Moment In A Chinese Restaurant
In, The Fisher King, a movie with a little less whimsy, Robin Williams brilliantly acts in a dinner sequence at a Chinese restaurant. This sprawling scene includes dumplings, noodles, cokes, and lots of happy slurping. And in it, while chowing away, the actor is at his best.
And just how natural of an actor was Robin Williams?
He didn’t even need to fake eating to nail this scene. The actor went in like a pro and cleaned the plate.
Williams freestyled the scene.
According to Eater, Williams thought of his lines in the moment. He improvised. There’s a little flirting with chopsticks and minimal talking, but the scene is enough to make us crave some Szechwan cuisine.
Outside Of Movies, Williams Fixed Awkward Dinners
One Reddit user recounted how Williams saved the day. “I went to dinner with my father and a couple of his co-workers at a fancy Italian restaurant,” they wrote. “About halfway through the meal, a few of the co-workers got drunk and started to scream at the waiter in Italian. In response, the waiter, and eventually a few other workers, joined in and were screaming back at the co-workers.”
And only one person seemed capable of ending the chaos.
Robin Williams stepped in, and his humor put everyone in a better mood. We’re hardly surprised.
The Redditor went on to note:
In between all of them came Robin Williams gesticulating wildly and screaming mock Italian at both sides until they calmed the hell down. [They] started to laugh at Robin Williams and his antics instead.
When the then-18-year-old Reddit user went to thank Williams, he received some words of wisdom.
And the actor was perfectly humble as well. “[I] did the usual ‘I love your work. It’s amazing to meet you’ spiel and then [Williams] began to ask me questions about my life,” the Redditor continued.
He also shared:
When I was walking away back to my dad he stopped me and said words I try to live by, “Kid, take a good look at those suits. Don’t try to end up like them. If you need booze or drugs to enjoy your life to the fullest then you’re doing it wrong.”
Williams Got Sober After The Birth Of His Son
Those weren’t just empty words. That advice likely came from a life well-lived. Robin Williams got sober after the 1982 passing of his close friend – actor John Belushi.
It was like an unfortunate wakeup call.
Belushi’s demise was tied to substance abuse, and Williams was with the actor the same day of the tragic loss.
Williams added someone to his circle around the same time, though.
His son was born around the same time as Belushi’s demise. During an interview with People in 1988, Williams shared:
The Belushi tragedy was frightening… His death scared a whole group of show-business people. It caused a big exodus from drugs. And for me, there was the baby coming. I knew I couldn’t be a father and live that sort of life.
His battle with alcoholism wasn’t easy.
Williams checked himself into Oregon’s Hazelden Springbrook treatment center in August 2006. After two months of treatment, he spoke to Dianne Sawyer about his battle with sobriety.
Very honestly, the actor told her:
It’s the same voice though that… you’re standing at a precipice and you look down, there’s a voice, and it’s a little quiet voice that goes, “Jump.” The same voice that goes, “Just one…” And the idea of just one for someone who has no tolerance for it, that’s not the possibility.
In another interview, he talked about falling off the wagon.
Williams was always surprisingly frank. In 2013, the actor shared:
One day I walked into a store and saw a little bottle of Jack Daniel’s. And then that voice – I call it the lower power – goes, “Hey. Just a taste. Just one.” I drank it, and there was that brief moment of “Oh, I’m okay!” But it escalated so quickly. Within a week I was buying so many bottles I sounded like a wind chime walking down the street. I knew it was really bad one Thanksgiving when I was so drunk they had to take me upstairs.
Amidst The Chaos, Williams Enjoyed His Quiet Moments
The actor was known to be a regular at, Arawan Thai Cuisine in Sausalito, CA. According to ABC, Williams ducked away to the local haunt with his wife quite often.
The restaurant paid tribute to him, too.
Photos of him flank the walls. “I can understand why this was Robin Williams’s favorite restaurant in Marin,” a reviewer on Yelp wrote. “Seeing pictures of him on the walls in the entryway warmed my spirit. I immediately felt at home and sent up a little prayer for his family.”
He Also Ate At Seafood Express
While recording for the Christopher Nolan film, Insomnia, in 2001, Robin Williams stopped by Seafood Express.
Obviously, the actor liked to dine at a variety of places.
Because of its prime location over the Portland Canal, near Hyder and British Columbia, the Seafood Express had access to fresh catches all the time. And the owner fondly remembered the day Williams and the Insomnia crew stopped into her shop.
Plus, the Seafood Express is housed in a converted school bus.
It serves burgers, chips, and fish. “I [also] do sauteed shrimp, I do a halibut burger,” restaurant owner Diana Simpson noted. “That’s what Robin Williams had… a halibut burger,” Simpson remembered. Williams stopped by for lunch, and his manners were apparently impeccable.
The bus is a celebrity in its own right.
Indeed, photographs of the bus are published in the New York Times. And a CNN reporter claimed that Seafood Express made the absolute best fish and chips.
He Spent Some Of His Final Moments At Dairy Queen
And we don’t blame him for visiting the ice cream parlor. Photos of the actor surfaced after he passed. And, in the snapshots, he poses with the DQ staff.
One particular employee talked about the experience.
Teenager Abby Albers posted her picture on social media. It was around 9:30 pm on a Sunday when Williams dropped by. “He was friendly,” Albers remembered. “He took pictures with us [and] had a small vanilla cone.”
The trip may not have been just about ice cream, though.
Williams purportedly visited a treatment center in the area. The facility, Hazeldon, was “walking distance” from the Dairy Queen, according to TMZ.
Following Robin Williams’s untimely passing in August 2014, many restaurants felt moved. Consequently, a collection of them decided to create tributes to the star. His gentle generosity and bigger-than-life personality touched so many.
One pizzeria in Brooklyn, NY, paid homage.
And all of it was thoughtfully executed.
The eatery served a Thousand Island and sauerkraut “Mrs. Krautfire” pie, as well as a “Pork & Mindy” pizza. The meaty option came accompanied by hearty servings of sausage, bacon, and sliced pepperoni.
Other restaurants followed suit.
Voodoo Doughnut paid homage to Williams with two sweets. One donut was an intentional nod to the comedic actor’s role in Dead Poets Society.
And we wouldn’t mind trying that.
The other Voodoo donut shouted out Williams’s role in Mork & Mindy. Bars wanted to get in on the action, too. Specifically, the Squeaky Bean, which is known for its special shrines to late celebrities, created a cocktail. Another tribute to Mork & Mindy, the Nanu Nanu Fizz combined gin, lemon, sage, egg whites, and soda water. Yum!
The Memory Of His Kindness
Robin Williams had a way of making everyone feel special. Questlove and The Roots ran into Williams in 2001. And the musician commemorated the comedian.
He took to Instagram to share his heartfelt thoughts.
The post noted:
The smallest gesture can mean the world to you. Robin Williams made such an impact on me and didn’t even know it…
We [were] piled inside [an elevator] when suddenly this voice just said “Questlove… Black Thought… Rahzel… The Roots from Philadelphia!!!!” It was Williams. “A legend acknowledged us and really knew who we were.
The encounter was fleeting.
But Questlove never forgot it. He went on to say:
It was a small 2 min moment in real life but that meant the world to me at the time.