The neurodegenerative disorder that ultimately contributed to Robin Williams’ death is explored in the documentary Robin’s Wish. Directed by Tylor Norwood (The United States of Detroit), the documentary had access to Robin Williams’ family and closest friends and delves into moments the public was unaware of during Williams’ final days.
“When my husband Robin Williams died, the whole world grieved. It’s enough to grieve personally over this type of loss, and then to have the entire world grieving with you—that pushed it into a different realm altogether. Robin was one of the most beloved artists in the world, a comic genius, whose mind functioned on a mighty level. Yet in the end, it was a little known disease in his beautifully gifted brain that became his greatest and final battle,” explained Susan Schneider Williams.
During the last year of his life, Robin was confronted with anxiety, paranoia, insomnia, scary altered realities and a roller coaster of hope and despair. With our medical team’s care we chased a relentless parade of symptoms but with very little gain. It wasn’t until after Robin’s passing, in autopsy, that the source of his terror was revealed: he had diffuse Lewy body disease.
It was one of the worst cases medical professionals had seen. Armed with the name of a brain disease I’d never heard of, I set out on a mission to understand it, and that led me down my unchosen path of advocacy. With invaluable help from leading medical experts, I saw that what Robin and I had gone through, finally made sense — our experience matched up with the science. And what I discovered along the way was bigger than me, and bigger than Robin. The full story was revealed during the making of this film and it holds the truth that Robin and I had been searching for.”
Robin’s Wish will be released digitally and On Demand on September 1, 2020.
In August 2014, the world was shocked to find out that Robin Williams had died by suicide. For someone who brought so much humor to the world, it was a tragic, traumatic end. But no one knew how much more there was to the story. Left to speculate on Robin’s motives, the media circus spun out further and further, leaving the public in the dark about a complicated and obscured truth: Robin — bright, funny, quick witted — had lost a battle against an unknown enemy: the nearly impossible to diagnose degenerative brain disease Lewy body dementia.
Robin’s Wish is an intimate portrait of Robin in his final days, with deeply personal stories from some of those closest to him, including his wife Susan, who bravely came forward on her own to publicly reveal the findings of Robin’s autopsy — that he had been suffering unimaginably from LBD. Some of Robin’s closest friends and colleagues also speak out for the very first time about what they saw, getting the word out to fans about who Robin really was in light of what happened at the end of his life.
Knowing the truth can make all the difference — Susan and Robin’s story can spread awareness of and raise support around LBD, making it possible to fight misconceptions about Robin’s state of mind and stigmas around mental illness, bringing awareness to a disease that, while all too common, is unknown to most. Robin’s Wish can also aid progress toward earlier diagnosis, so families can have an understanding of what is happening to their loved ones. To fans around the world, the complete story of what really happened to Robin, and his complete legacy — to make people less afraid — has been untold. Until now.