Christopher Reeve and Robin Williams's Friendship Spans Decades

Sara Belcher - Author

Jan. 30 2024, Published 6:58 p.m. ET

Christopher Reeve and Robin Williams in 1979
Source: Getty Images

It's been a decade since Robin Williams tragically passed, but he continues to live on through his impressive body of work and in plenty of his colleagues' memories. In a new documentary, Super/Man: The Christopher Reeve Story, close friends of Robin and Christopher Reeve unveil pieces of the pair's friendship.

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For those who don't know, Christopher and Robin were personal friends, dating back before either of them had their big break. Robin was a big supporter of Christopher's as he dealt with the aftermath of his tragic horseback riding incident that left him paralyzed in the 90s. Christopher passed away in 2004 from a heart attack, while Robin died by suicide after a years-long struggle with his mental health in 2014.

Robin Williams and Christopher Reeve
Source: Getty Images
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Robin Williams and Christopher Reeve were classmates at Juilliard.

Long before Robin or Christopher ever saw their names on the big screen, the pair were classmates the same year at Juilliard, attending from 1973 to 1976. According to Christopher's memoir Still Me, he recounted his first meeting with Robin at school.

"He wore tie-dyed shirts with tracksuit bottoms and talked a mile a minute. I'd never seen so much energy contained in one person. He was like an untied balloon that had been inflated and immediately released. I watched in awe as he virtually caromed off the walls of the classrooms and hallways. To say that he was 'on' would be a major understatement," Christopher wrote.

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Christopher Reeve and Robin Williams
Source: Getty Images

Even while at school, Christopher recounts being stunned by Robin's talent, writing "I was astonished by his work and very grateful that fate had thrown us together."

The Superman actor recalled Robin being the first person to make him laugh as he prepared for his major spinal surgery in 1995, as the comedian hilariously reprised his character from Nine Months when visiting Christopher at the hospital.

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"For the first time since the accident, I laughed. My old friend had helped me know that somehow I was going to be okay," he wrote.

Their friendship continued to grow deeper as the years went on and their careers grew — and even Robin's children knew the pair's friendship was something special.

Will Reeve, Diana Reeve, Christopher Reeve, and Robin Williams at the Tribeca festival in 2004
Source: Getty Images

From left to right: Will Reeve, Diana Reeve, Christopher Reeve, and Robin Williams

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“Robin was my father, Chris was my godfather and their friendship, beginning as college roommates at Juilliard, was nothing short of amazing,” Robin's son Zak said at the 2014 Christopher and Diana Reeve Foundation Gala. “The Chris I spent the most time with was after the accident, and I honestly think it was after that, that my father’s and [Reeve’s] friendship evolved into something deeper. It was then that Chris and Dad became family, brothers from another mother.”

Glenn Close shares memories of the pair's friendship in a new documentary.

Glenn Close worked with both actors throughout her career, appearing in Christopher's film In the Floaming in 1997 and alongside Robin in the 1982 flick The World According to Garp.

In her interview for Super/Man, Glenn said of the late comedian, “I always felt that if Chris was still around, Robin would still be alive."

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Jane Seymour, Christopher Reeve, and Robin Williams
Source: Getty Images

Jane Seymour, Christopher Reeve, and Robin Williams

This is not the first time she's expressed that sentiment, initially confessing it to ET News in 2017 during the Christopher and Diana Reeve Foundation's annual gala.

"Their friendship, their connection, is the stuff of legend. It not only endured, but became a life-giving force sustaining them both," she said at the time, per People.

"On Friday evenings, Chris would literally swoop in, piloting his own plane, scoop Robin up, and away they would fly for the weekend,” she reminisced on their friendship, calling back to the filming of The World According to Garp. “On Sunday, late afternoon, Chris would swoop back in and deliver Robin back — I have to say a little worse for wear."

Super/Man premiered at Sundance and has yet to strike a streaming deal, though it's bound to have more details about the pair's friendship.

If you or someone you know are experiencing suicidal thoughts, call, text, or message the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline. Dial or text 988, call 1-800-273-8255, or chat via their website.

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