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This story first appeared in the Aug. 22 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.
The Comic Relief co-host embarked on USO tours to Iraq and Afghanistan and was a contributor to organizations from amfAR to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Through his Windfall Foundation, co-founded with his second wife, Marsha, the man who played real-life doctors Patch Adams and Oliver Sacks raised money for Doctors Without Borders, the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation and Make-A-Wish Foundation (he once chartered a plane to spend the day with a patient).
Like any good stand-up, he was spontaneous: In 2010 he donated full proceeds from his Weapons of Self-Destruction tour in New Zealand to relief efforts after a major earthquake shook the region. Williams also supported the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation, established by his Juilliard roommate. (Williams later created a full scholarship at Juilliard; Jessica Chastain was a recipient.)
In his memoir Still Me, Reeve credited his friend for saving him during a dark bout of depression after his 1995 accident. Williams entered his hospital room disguised as a Russian proctologist, snapping Reeve out of his funk: “If I can laugh, I can live.”
To read more tributes to Williams, click here.
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