Friends of Robin Williams have recalled his frightening and erratic behavior during the height of his cocaine addiction – revealing the late actor couldn’t get on stage and perform without drugs.
Williams – who died by suicide in August 2014, aged 63 – struggled with substance abuse issues as he began his career in the late 1970s and early 1980s before being shocked and becoming sober after the death of his friend John Belushi from a fatal overdose in 1982.
Williams’ life was put under the microscope in the second season of Vice TV’s Dark Side of Comedy, and his friends shared jaw-dropping anecdotes about his battle with drugs.
According to his longtime friend and comedian Allan Stephan, Williams couldn’t get on stage without snorting cocaine.
Robin Williams couldn’t perform in front of audiences without cocaine, friends say
The actor, pictured in 1978, struggled with substance abuse issues early in his career.
Speaking on Vice TV’s new documentary series, friends Allan Stephan (left) and Mike Binder (right) detailed their experiences with Williams and his addiction.
Recalling a particular conversation with the late actor, Stephan recalls: “He said, ‘Do you know anyone who’s had a blow?’ I have to keep going and I can’t keep going without any shots.”
“And I sat down and said, ‘I’ll help you.’ He said, “Do you have a hit on you?” I said, “No, are you crazy? You’re Robin Williams.” And after that, I don’t think he would get high when he had before.
His friend Mike Binder, a fellow comedian and filmmaker, shared a similar story.
“One night we went to a place called Flippers Discotheque in Hollywood and I drank about a gram of coke,” he said.
Upon learning that there was cocaine circulating, Mike recalled how Williams said “ooh, let me have that” and “do you mind if I hit that in the bathroom?”
“He came back and it was empty,” Mike said. ‘It was like, wow. It was around 8:15 p.m. I was like, “Robin, did you do the whole gram?” He told me: ‘It was an accident, I’m sorry.’
“With the drugs, he was a monster,” Mike added.
Williams’ drug and alcohol problems first surfaced while he was starring in Mork & Mindy.
Director Howard Storm detailed Williams’ cocaine use in New York Times journalist Dave Itzkoff’s biography Robin, revealing that he would show up on set looking like “a wreck.”
He wrote: “He hadn’t slept all night. He was snorting coke, and if you snort coke, to get off, you drink alcohol. He was out all night fucking everyone in town.
Williams’ drug addiction began while he was starring in Mork and Mindy in the late 1970s.
The comedian (seen in 2013) entered rehab twice in his life – once in 2006 and again shortly before his death in 2014.
However, Williams stopped using cocaine after Saturday Night Live comedian Belushi died of an overdose of a deadly combination of heroin and cocaine on March 5, 1992.
The night before Belushi’s death, Williams was partying with the star at the Chateau Marmont in Los Angeles.
“The Belushi tragedy was frightening,” he told People in 1988.
“His death scared a whole group of people in show business. This caused a great drug exodus. And for me, there was the baby coming. I knew I couldn’t be a father and live that kind of life.
Williams spent the next two decades sober, before relapsing due to alcohol in 2005.
He sought treatment for his addiction in rehab in 2006, before returning a month before his death in July 2014.
Williams had no illegal drugs or alcohol in his system when he killed himself, a coroner’s report confirmed in November 2014.