Robin Williams and Hungary

Robin Williams, a comic and sitcom star, an Oscar-winning dramatic actor, died at the age of 63. He appears to have committed suicide.

The news truly rocked North-America, television channels broke into their usual programming to make the announcement, and the news dominated online trending topics.

Mr. Williams was a comic genius, a star of both movies and television for more than three decades. He suffered from substance abuse problems. “He has been battling severe depression of late,” his publicist Mara Buxbaum said.

Kassowitz and Williams

Kassowitz and Williams

I saw Williams decades ago in San Francisco when I lived in the Richmond district. He just started out as a stand-up comedian trying out his new material in the neighborhood club called Holy City Zoo. Years later I saw him again on a bike in Tiburon, the posh peninsula community in Marin County where he lived.

Mr. Williams also made an almost forgotten Holocaust movie, the Jacob the Liar which has a Hungarian connection.

Jacob the Liar the novel was published in Communist East Germany in 1969. The film version was directed by Hungarian-born Holocaust survivor Peter Kassovitz in 1999, he left Hungary in 1956. It was while visiting his parents in Budapest in 1990 that Mr. Kassovitz first came across the novel. He read the book over a weekend and found the story so compelling that he immediately contacted the book’s author, Jurek Becker. The film was made in Hungary with Robin Williams in the title role.

He was called “the funniest man alive”, he won a best supporting actor Oscar for his performance as the therapist in “Good Will Hunting” (1997), and also had three additional Oscar nominations.

György Lázár

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