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The Friendship Between Robin Williams and Christopher Reeve Was Stronger Than Superman

If you have good friends, consider yourself lucky. Having people with whom you cherish real friendships can enrich your life. They will be there in times of joy, sure, but they’ll also help you in times of need. Christopher Reeve and Robin Williams prove that a good friendship is what the heart needs to move forward.

Bright Side reveals the story of this acting duo’s faithful and genuine friendship, who achieved fame and supported each other throughout their lives, despite hardships.

Studying art

Before becoming famous, Robin Williams and Christopher Reeve were students. Nobody knew who they were, but they were determined to succeed in Hollywood. They met in 1973 when they were two of the 20 students admitted into Juilliard. They were young, Robin, 22, and Reeve, 21, and eager to conquer the world.

The beginning of a beautiful friendship

Christopher Reeve’s book described the day he met Robin: “The first person I met at Juilliard was the other advanced student, a short, stocky, long-haired fellow from Marin County, California, who wore tie-dyed shirts with tracksuit bottoms and talked a mile a minute. I’d never seen so much energy contained in one person.”

Chris recalled that he was amazed at how he walked back and forth. He added, “There was never a moment when he wasn’t doing voices, imitating teachers, and making our faces ache from laughing at his antics. His name, of course, was Robin Williams.”

A new friend

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In an interview on Reddit, Robin also spoke well of Chris. Somebody asked what his favorite memory with the Superman actor was, to which Robin replied, “Him being such a great friend to me at Juilliard, literally feeding me because I don’t think I literally had the money for food or my student loan hadn’t come in yet, and he would share his food with me. And then later after the accident, just seeing him beaming and just, seeing what he meant to so many people.”

During their time at Juilliard, they were able to learn and also forged friendships that lasted a lifetime. As Chris said, “I was very grateful that fate had brought us together. Sometimes Robin needed a serious conversation, and I was always ready to listen. Robin could share his feelings with me, and I did the same with him. This lasted 25 years.”

Starting an acting career

After graduating, Reeve auditioned for A Matter of Gravity. Actress Katharine Hepburn saw his audition and hired him to play her grandson in the play. Reeve landed a role in the CBS soap opera Love of Life with the actress’s support. He earned good reviews for his performance in the play and then jumped to Hollywood to play supporting roles in several films.

Robin excelled at Juilliard, but in 1976, when he felt he had given everything he had to give, he dropped out. He began his career as a stand-up comedian, performing in various venues, but it didn’t work out too well. So after a while, he decided to go to TV. He became famous thanks to Mork & Mindy, and people started coming to his shows. David Letterman saw his first stand-up show and described him as a hurricane.

Flying high

Each of them built their career in their own way, but both became successful. Christopher Reeve landed the role of Superman, which launched him to stardom. Suddenly, his face was known everywhere. Meanwhile, Robin made it big with his talent, and not just as a comedian. Thanks to Good Morning, Vietnam, he earned an Oscar nomination and won a Golden Globe.

Their friendship was stronger than ever. Chris moved to a quieter place, and once Robin visited him. Regarding this visit, Chris said, “One night, we went to a lobster restaurant, and you could see them in a tank. I casually asked what the lobsters would be wondering. He started doing a routine about lobsters, and I had to massage my cheeks because they hurt from laughing so hard.”

Surviving an accident

Christopher Reeve practiced horseback riding, and unfortunately, he had a terrible accident that left him paralyzed from the neck down. Chris was in a lot of pain and had to undergo a dangerous surgery. The closer the day of the operation got, the more pain and fear he was in. He knew he had a 50% chance of survival.

About that moment, he recalled, “The door opened, and a man in a uniform and surgical hat walked in speaking with an accent. He said he was my proctologist and that he should check me. I thought I was under the effect of painkillers or my brain was failing, but it was Robin. It was the first time since the accident that I laughed. My old friend helped me know that somehow everything was going to be okay.”

An unbreakable bond

Robin was always there to support him. Chris confessed, “He was with me for a while and said he would do anything for me. I thought, ’Not only do I have my wife and kids, but I have friends like Robin who really care. Maybe I can be okay. I mean, it’s going to be different and a huge challenge, but I can still laugh, and there’s still some joy.’”

Christopher Reeve became an activist by speaking out about paralysis and advocating for research into the study of spinal cord injuries, which helped improve the quality of life for people affected. Robin always had words of support for him. As he said in an interview, “He’s going to have a life on his own, he’s not going to need other people to help him, and if he does, I’ll be there.”

A friendship beyond all else

In October 2004, Christopher Reeve passed away. Robin said, "The world has lost a tremendous activist, an artist, and an inspiration to people. I have lost a great friend. The following year, Robin Williams received a lifetime achievement award and dedicated it to Chris Reeve.

Ten years after his friend’s death, Robin also passed away. Chris’ son remembered him fondly when he said, “Robin was a light in our family for as long as we can remember. He and my dad made each other laugh and supported each other to the end.” Both were great actors, and one of their best roles was not on the screen but in real life, that of best friends.

What is the biggest challenge you have experienced with your best friend? Do you have any happy memories of their friendship that brighten your life?

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