Jewish communities all over the globe on Tuesday quickly came to mourn the loss of revered actor and comic virtuoso Robin Williams.
Williams, born and raised Episcopalian, said on many occasions he considered himself an “honorary Jew.”
Throughout his acting career, Williams played a number of Jewish characters in films such as Jakob the Liar, The Birdcage, and in an adaptation of Saul Bellow’s Seize the Day. He was also known for incorporating Yiddish into his various roles on numerous occasions.
Last March, the actor tweeted a picture of himself in a kippa on the set of his sitcom, The Crazy Ones. Along with the picture, Williams wrote, “Too late for a career change? Rabbi Robin?” Williams was one of the keynote entertainers at Steven Spielberg’s annual USC Survivors of the Shoah Visual History Foundation in 2005, providing comic relief, along with fellow names Bill Clinton and Sheryl Crow.
In 2008, Williams had this memorable exchange on German TV, wherein he was asked why he thought there wasn’t much comedy in Germany. He responded, “Did you ever think it’s because you killed all the funny people?”