"He wasn't feeling well, but he didn't let on to me all that was going on," Crystal, 70, said about Williams in an excerpt of Dave Itzkoff's new biography, Robin, obtained by Vanity Fair. "As he would say to me, 'I'm a little crispy.' I didn't know what was happening, except he wasn't happy."
As RadarOnline.com readers know, Robin Williams delighted the big screen for decades as one of the funniest and most beloved American comedians. His dreadful 2014 death shocked the nation, as the dark truth behind his devastating Parkinson's diagnosis, incrementing dementia and debilitation depression was eventually exposed.
While Crystal did not get to spend time with Williams often, he claimed they spoke on the phone regularly. In his new book, the pal recalled one of the last times he saw Williams and noticed his health was clearly deteriorating.
I hadn't seen him in about four or five months at the time, and when he got out of the car I was a little taken aback by how he looked. He was thinner and he seemed a little frail," said the When Harry Met Sally star.
Once, when they went out with their wives in 2013, Crystal noticed Williams "seemed quiet. On occasion, he'd just reach out and hold my shoulder and look at me like he wanted to say something. He hugged me goodbye, and Janice, and he started crying."
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"I said, 'What's the matter?' He said, 'Oh, I'm just so happy to see you. It's been too long. You know I love you,'' remembered Crystal.
The two actors starred together in five movies from 1994 to 1999. In August 2014, Williams committed suicide by hanging after becoming overwhelmed with depression following his medical crises. He was 63 at the time.
"His number comes up on my phone and he says, 'Hey, Bill.' His voice was high-pitched. 'I've just been diagnosed with Parkinson's,'" Crystal recalled. "I didn't miss a beat. Because of my relationship with Muhammad Ali, I knew a lot of really good Parkinson's research doctors. I said, 'In Phoenix, the research center is great. If you want, we can get you in there. It would be totally anonymous. Do you want me to pursue that?' Would you?'"
"I never heard him afraid like that before," Billy Crystal admitted. "This was the boldest comedian I ever met — the boldest artist I ever met. But this was just a scared man."
Dave Itzkoff's Robin Williams biography, Robin, goes on sale this May 15.
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