The pressure of dwindling finances, along with his battles against drug and alcohol addiction, could have been the key factor behind Robin Williams’ suicide.
The comedian, who took his own life yesterday, once joked that it would be “nice to have a job where the checks will clear”.
Having made his name in the popular 70s TV show Mork and Mindy, Williams soon was in high demand on the big screen, displaying his talents in a series of acclaimed, award-winning films.
But, eventually, the roles dried up. Williams’ last gig, a small screen comedy called The Crazy Ones, was a project he admitted signing up for only because of the cash. While CBS executives took this as an example of Williams’ humour, the star was being deadly serious.
Williams was struggling to pay off debts from two divorces, and had put his ranch in Napa Valley up for sale.
“The idea of having a steady job is appealing. I have two [other] choices: go on the road doing stand-up, or do small, independent movies working almost for scale [minimum union pay],” he said in a 2013 interview with Parade magazine.
“The movies are good, but a lot of times they don’t even have distribution. There are bills to pay. My life has downsized, in a good way. I’m selling the ranch up in Napa. I just can’t afford it anymore.”
According to the Daily Mail, Williams’ two divorces – his first from Valerie Velardi in 1988 and the second from Marsha Garces in 2008 – had cost him $30-million.
When asked in the Parade interview if he had lost his fortune, he replied: “Well, not all. Lost enough. Divorce is expensive. I used to joke they were going to call it ‘all the money,’ but they changed it to ‘alimony.’ It’s ripping your heart out through your wallet. Are things good with my exes? Yes. But do I need that lifestyle? No.”
The Crazy Ones looked set to put Williams back in the big time. Co-starring Sarah Michelle-Gellar, it debuted to stellar ratings. However, audience figures dropped dramatically thereafter and CBS cancelled the second season of the show. Williams was devastated.
“Robin slipped into a deep depression,” a source told RadarOnline. “He felt embarrassed and humiliated that the show had been a failure. It was very hard for Robin to accept. Here he was in his sixties, and forced to take a role on television for the money. It’s just not where he thought he would be at this point in his life.”