Robin Williams was amazing. As a youngster, I first watched him on Happy Days. Almost immediately after that he was the star of Mork and Mindy. Even someone like me – who is not a great judge of talent – would watch him and know that he was something special. His graduating to the status of leading man in movies was seamless. Many of the roles he played demonstrated that he was a dramatic actor of the first order.
More than his talent, which virtually all would agree was prodigious, was the respect that he received from fellow actors, from fellow comedians and from people who are paid to be critical, the critics. As I read the articles in the Los Angeles Times by their various entertainment critics, it was apparent how much respect they had for him.
Even those wealthy people who have not engaged in extensive estate planning can avoid estate taxes at the first death if the spouse gets everything, but the exemption amount which is currently $5,340,000. However, Williams’ widow is not the mother of his children, so if he left his children more than $5,340,000 without having done some estate tax planning, it is quite possible there will be some taxes due. Hopefully, his financial people got him to meet with a wills and trusts attorney who helped him with sophisticated estate tax planning.
A final thought. When I read the news of his death, I was deeply saddened in a way that I do not frequently feel when I read of the deaths of other celebrities. Part of it was because of the loss of this enormous talent at such a young age; part of it was sadness for what he must have been feeling; and part of it was sadness that someone who contributed to my happiness during my teenage years is gone.