Like maybe half of San Francisco, I have my own Robin Williams story. In 1996, after watching the Independence Day movie at the Coronet Theater on Geary Blvd. Steven Shults, Richard Gross, and I went to the Toy Boat Dessert Cafe on Clement Street. The store featured Double Rainbow ice cream and displayed on its walls children’s toys for sale. While waiting to be served, Williams got in line behind us. Steven had seen him at an event the night before and struck up a brief exchange with Williams about it. After Richard, Steven, and I sat down at a table to eat our desserts, Williams joined us and engaged in conversation for several minutes. He often came to the cafe to buy toys for his children. He was remarkably unpretentious and warm. After a few minutes, Richard said, “I’m sorry but I have to ask you this. How much of being famous is great and how much is a drag?” Williams immediately replied, “90% is great and 10% is a drag.” I figure the 10% finally got to him. May one of the greatest San Franciscans ever rest in peace.
For an excellent local article about Williams, see “Robin Williams’ heart never strayed far from San Francisco” by Peter Hartlaub, Leah Garchik and David Lewis