Bidding a Sad Farewell to Robin Williams, Beloved Actor and Mensch

Raised an Episcopalian, the comedian, found dead of an apparent suicide on Monday, came to refer to himself as an 'honorary Jew.'

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Haaretz
Robin Williams' star on Hollywood's Walk of Fame following news of his death. August 11, 2014.
Robin Williams' star on Hollywood's Walk of Fame following news of his death. August 11, 2014.Credit: AP
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Haaretz

Comedian Robin Williams, who died by apparent suicide on Monday, was once asked by a German TV interviewer why there wasn't much in the way of German comedy.

According to the Jewish Journal, Williams replied, "Did you ever think you killed all the funny people?"

Williams, 63, who was found dead in his Marin County, California home, was raised an Episcopalian but came to refer to himself as an "honorary Jew."

Jewish jokes would find their way into his comedy acts. Performing at a 2005 dinner in Los Angeles for Steven Spielberg's USC Survivors of the Shoah Visual History Foundation, Williams told the crowd in a Yiddish accent, "Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Temple Beth Prada. This evening's meal will be milchidik, fleishadik, and sushidik.

He played Jewish characters in movies, such as salesman Tommy Wilhelm in "Seize the Day" and the title role in "Jakob the Liar," about a shopkeeper in a Polish ghetto during the Holocaust.

On February 28, from the set of his TV comedy series "The Crazy Ones,"he tweeteda caricature of himself in a blue tallit, or Jewish prayer shawl, with big, white Stars of David.

In another tweet that day he reported, "When I was in 8th grade in Detroit, I went to 13 Bar Mitzvahs in one year."

Still another tweet showed a photo of him wearing a white kippa. He captioned it: "Too late for a career change? Rabbi Robin?"

Following news of Williams' death, comedian Steve Martin tweeted: "I could not be more stunned by the loss of Robin Williams, mensch, great talent, acting partner, genuine soul."

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