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Lucas Cabral
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PARA QUE MOTO SI PUEDO AGARRAR UN AUTO DE PATINETA

 
BUENOS DÍAS COMUNIDAD
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Robin Williams

I would like to thank everyone for your texts, calls and online messages regarding Robin Williams. Thank you for thinking enough of me to share your thought. I'm deeply touched and truly appreciate it. This isn't just a public tragedy - it's a personal loss to me. I will be the first to admit that I'm sentimental to a fault, but how can it be anything else when you lost someone who treated you with such kindness and in turn changed your life and view permanently? 

I won't assume that everyone connected to me here on social media knows of my connection to Robin. For those who already know please let me bore you once again with the story you may have already heard. I met Robin for the first time in March of 1987, when I was out in California after rounds and rounds of audition for the role of Tuan in "Good Morning, Vietnam". We were in a film studio getting ready for a screen test, and I was to do a few scenes one-on-one with Robin, as Cronauer. For those unfamiliar, a screen test is one of the last steps in determining if an actor is the proper fit for a role. In this case it was obvious who was being scrutinized. I was directed to the makeup trailer, and as I walked up to the chair Robin stood up and came over to shake my hand - my trembling hand. 

"Uh...hi, Mr. Williams." 
"Call me Robin."

Holy crap! I just shook hand with Mork. And Popeye. And he's so calm and cool. And wow, he's not that much taller than me! 

After I was made up - meaning my pale face from the Chicago winter was covered in a layer of tropical tan powder - I came on set. There I stood, washed in light and face to face with Robin. Outside of arm's reach was a camera pointing at our faces. Just outside of that circle stood the crew. The camera started rolling and "Action" was called. I remember everything around me faded to black. In front of me stood Cronauer, the American GI who accused me of being the enemy. I let him have it. Tuan let him have all of it - all the rage and anguish of a young boy who lost so much. When it was over Robin quietly said to me, "Nice job."

It was not until April that I met up with Robin again. This time it was in Thailand. As a kid with absolutely no experience making a movie, all by myself and half a world way from family, I was so thankful that everyone took care of me the entire time I was there. For the next few months I got to spend a lot of time with Robin and Marsha, his partner at the time, both on set and off since most of my scenes were with him. They even shared little things with me on set like their bottle of water when we're standing out in the heat waiting for the set to be ready. It was Robin's nurture and assurance that helped me along. Since then I've gone on to realize how important it is to have a scene partner who allows you to be complete in your character. I guess that is so very true in real life, too. 

When we did the confrontation scene between Cronauer and Tuan in the alleyway, I was completely charged up. When it was over Robin came up to me and gently tapped on the left side of my chest. "I see what's in there, Sparky. Oh yeah." Just like that March day in the screen test studio in California, Robin allowed me to pour it all out. 

I want to tell you a bit about this portrait of Robin. My friends from Lane Tech would appreciate this piece of the story. One of the stipulations from Mrs. Sherman, the principal at Lane Tech at the time, for my leaving school to make the movie, and graduate by the end of the school year, was that I had to complete the "prescribed" school work for the 4 subjects I had: English, Spanish, History and Chemistry. That was taken cared of by the tutors that came to my hotel room every Sunday where we spend some quality time going over the books and homework. Bleh. The other stipulation was that I have to get her a personalized autographed picture of Robin Williams. I had the feeling she wouldn't have let me get the diploma if she hadn't received it. After a few weeks of shooting I finally got the nerve to tell Robin about the request, but he didn't have any head shot with him. (What kind of celebrity is that!) So naturally I offered to take a shot with my camera. He laughed and agreed. The photo below came from a single shot I took on set outside the radio station which I had developed and enlarged to 8x0's and brought to him to sign. He wrote something ridiculously funny to Mrs. Sherman and I wish I remember what it was. 

What I forgot on that autographed picture is a tiny fraction of what I remember of the man. I will mention nothing of his talent that is obvious to the world. It's his kind and gentle heart those of us who were privileged enough to experience in those quiet moments away from the camera, away from the crowd that I want to share. Many years after GMVN I went on to become an engineer and worked downtown Chicago. One day Robin came to town for a movie premiere with Marsha which I attended. Afterward he invited me to their room to catch up. He was happy for me that I had taken his advice earlier to find something solid to fall on instead of going to Hollywood right away. He shared with me how, even at his level of exposure, some roles are still something he has to fight for. I didn't tell him at the time that I had often wished I had followed Forest Whitaker's advice instead and get a few more decent films under my belt when casting agencies were calling me. HAHAHAHAH He did offer to help me get an agent whenever I'm reading to get back out there. Sitting there with him you just can't imagine you're with the same man you see on stage or on a talk show. That was the last time I saw Robin though we continued to stay in touch. When their kids were younger they'd send out the most hilarious greeting cards, true to his nature. I'll have to dig some up one day from my huge box of knick knacks. When Ellory was born I sent him a birth announcement, and was rather shocked when we received a big package of gifts from a fancy Hollywood boutique whose name escapes me. How amazing was that...

I can go on and on but in Robin's honor and to show that I've learned a thing or two from him on which note to end, I will share one final story.

It was early June when I was wrapping up filming my scenes. One day I was standing on set with Freddie Cooper, our camera man, Mark Johnson the producer, and Robin. Freddie happened to look at my legs. "My God, where did all those leg hair come from? You didn't have all that when you first arrived in Thailand, did you, Tung?" I was laughing when Mark chimed in. "It's the humidity. It makes everything grows longer."

"It makes your dick grows longer, too."

I don't need to tell you who said that line.

Robin - Thank you for the gift that you shared with us all. Thank you for allowing me to see a bit of what's in that kind heart of yours. The heart of a giant. Rest in peace...
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