Robin Williams and Christopher Reeve
Robin Williams, who sadly died on Monday, with his long-time friend Christopher Reeve, trying to hail a taxi in New York, in 1981.
They became friends when, in 1973, they found themselves the only students in the Advanced Program for their year at the Juilliard School in New York. The promised each other that whoever achieved success first would support the other. As it turned out, though, they both found fame three years before this photo, in 1978, Williams as Mork in the sit-com Mork and Mindy, and Reeves as Superman.
In 1995, Reeves had a horse-riding accident that left him paralysed from the neck down.
First Williams cheered Reeves up, at a time he was especially despondent. A forthcoming operation to reattach his skull and spine, “was frightening to contemplate. … I already knew that I had only a fifty-fifty chance of surviving the surgery. … Then, at an especially bleak moment, the door flew open and in hurried a squat fellow with a blue scrub hat and a yellow surgical gown and glasses, speaking in a Russian accent.” The man announced that he was a proctologist and was going to perform a rectal exam on Reeve. It was Robin Williams, reprising his character from the film Nine Months. Reeve wrote: “For the first time since the accident, I laughed. My old friend had helped me know that somehow I was going to be okay.”
Then, in 1996, Williams told Reeve he would pay his medical bills, fulfilling the earlier promise.
Original B&W photo.