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Robin Williams Discovered that Work Is No Solace

Robin Williams's August 2014 suicide was devastating to those who knew him best—and it also came at the end of a long and difficult decline. According to a new biography by Dave Itzkoff, in the months that preceded his death, Williams faced daunting challenges, both professionally and personally. His film career had stalled, and his comeback sitcom, The Crazy Ones, was failing to find an audience on CBS. He was still harboring guilt about his divorce from Marsha Garces, his second wife and mother of two of his children, and adjusting to life with his new wife, Susan Schneider, whom he married in 2011.

Williams tried to find solace and significance in working more. But work and busyness did not heal the deepest wounds in his soul. Itzkoff writes:

But what proved more powerful than the pleas from his colleagues and from family members to slow things down—even more powerful than Robin's desire to sustain his life with Susan and to be a good earner for his managers and agents—was his own desire to keep working through the pain, the one cure-all that had helped him cope with past troubles.
"I don't think he thought he could blow up what he built for himself," Cheri Minns, his makeup artist, said. "It's like he didn't worry about anything when he worked all the time. He operated on working. That was the true love of his life. Above his children, above everything. If he wasn't working, he was a shell of himself. And when he worked, it was like a light bulb was turned on."

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