By Mary Cunningham
Robin Williams wasn’t born in San Francisco — Chicago, actually — but lived there and was a lifelong Giants fan (photo above with Yankees fan Billy Crystal), although you never would have known it by the way he fully encapsulated the Oscar-winning role of Sean Maguire in Good Will Hunting.
Portraying a South Boston-raised professor, Williams stole the film, particularly when telling Matt Damon’s character the story of how he missed the legendary Game 6 of the 1975 World Series because “he had to go see about a girl.”
It was the perfect Williams moment – humor, humanity and passion all combined into one stirring performance. Williams had his sporting interests away from acting -he was an avid cyclist and would frequently make appearances at different sporting events, like the following 2010 tennis match or numerous Giants games.
But while Williams only made one movie that could ostensibly be called a “sports” movie, the 1986 comedy The Best of Times, his performances were filled with an athleticism all their own.
There were the spastic stand-up routines and talk show appearances, which featured Williams bouncing around a stage or couch with the boundless energy and enthusiasm of an elite player about to enter the fifth set at Wimbledon. There were the comic transformations into family-friendly characters like Mrs. Doubtfire and Patch Adams as well as the dramatic acumen to pull off serious roles in The Fisher King and Dead Poets Society.
Williams’ immense talent and ability, as well as his embrace of his role as a public figure made us all feel like we knew him, which is why his death at the age of 63 comes as such a painful shock. With recent reports indicating he was recently battling severe depression, there’s an extra sadness in knowing that someone who contributed so much to entertaining others was suffering so much himself.