'The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell' for Monday, August 11th, 2014
Read the transcript to the Monday show
THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL
August 11, 2014
Guest: James Lipton, Robert Wuhl, James Clark; Jeannie Wolf
LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: Rachel, I`m in Los Angeles doing the
show from our studio at Universal Studios.
And I`ve got to tell you, talking to all my friends in L.A. today, the
ones who knew Robin Williams, just a devastating day here in this town.
RACHEL MADDOW, TRMS HOST: Absolutely. I understand completely.
O`DONNELL: Thank you, Rachel.
Within hours of Robin Williams` death today, President Obama said
this, "Robin Williams was an airman, a doctor, a genie, a nanny, a
president, a professor, a bang-a-rang Peter Pan and everything in between,
but he was one of a kind. He arrived in our lives as an alien but he ended
up touching every element of the human spirit. He made us laugh, he made
us cry, he gave his immeasurable talent freely and generously to those who
needed it most, from our troops stationed abroad to the marginalized on our
own streets. The Obama family offers our condolences to Robin`s family,
his friends, and everyone who found their voice and their verse thanks to
BRIAN WILLIAMS, NBC NEWS: Tragic, devastating word that Robin
Williams has been confirmed dead.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Just stunning news from the Bay Area.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Robin Williams at the age of 63.
MADDOW: It`s hard to overstate the fame and the popularity that Robin
WILLIAMS: Revered as an entertainer in America.
MADDOW: One of the most recognizable and iconic comedic talents.
WILLIAMS: Simply put, one of the funniest men in the United States.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Robin Williams made everyone else look slow.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It really seems as if the jokes were being beamed
in from UFOs.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There were no limits to his humor, no limits to
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: He took on inspiring and serious roles.
WILLIAMS: "Good Will Hunting", for which he was awarded an Oscar.
HAYES: I find this one really, really, really, really hurts.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s horrible, it`s unthinkable. Absolutely
unthinkable. We`ve lost a loved one.
O`DONNELL: He was voted least likely to succeed by his California
high school classmates. Twenty years later, he was nominated for an Oscar
for best actor. And 10 years after that, there is after that, after two
more best actor nominations, he won an Oscar for best actor in a supporting
role for playing a psychiatrist in "Good Will Hunting."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROBIN WILLIAMS, ACTOR: Thought about what you said to me the other
day, about my painting, stayed up half the night thinking about it.
Something occurred to me. I fell into a deep, peaceful sleep and haven`t
thought about you since.
You know what occurred to me? You`re just a kid. You don`t have the
faintest idea what you`re talking about.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Robin McLaurin Williams was found dead in his home in
northern California. He was 63 years old.
The Marin County sheriff`s office responded to a 911 call and arrived
at Williams` home just after 12:00 noon where he was pronounced dead. The
sheriff`s office issued a statement saying, quote, "The sheriff`s office
coroner division suspects the death to be a suicide due to asphyxia."
Robin Williams` press representative said he has been battling severe
depression of late. This is a tragic and sudden loss.
Robin Williams` wife Susan released this statement, "This morning, I
lost my husband and my best friend while the world lost one of its most
beloved artists and beautiful human beings. I am utterly heartbroken. On
behalf of Robin`s family, we are asking for privacy during our time of
profound grief as he is remembered. It is our hope the focus will not be
on Robin`s death but on the countless moments of joy and laughter he gave
Joining me now, James Lipton, host of "Inside the Actor`s Studio."
James, let`s follow that suggestion by Robin Williams` wife and focus
on those countless moments of joy and laughter he gave to millions.
Where would you place him in our film history since he worked both so
much in comedy and did some profound work in drama?
JAMES LIPTON, HOST, "INSIDE THE ACTORS STUDIO": Very near the top, of
course. He was a great comedian. And like many great comedians he was
also a great actor. He did it all.
O`DONNELL: Your show is just so valuable to film culture in this
country. And one of the great things you now have in the vault is the show
you did with Robin Williams. Take us back to that. What was that like?
LIPTON: It was memorable. It was in its way unique, of course, as he
was. Let me say that when he came on the stage, I had my blue cards, a
stack that high. It was our first two-hour show.
And he arrived, he went to work, and it was six minutes before I was
able to ask the first question, because he was just so busy. And I see on
the screen that you have the great moment with the Pashmina (ph).
His manager told me a few weeks after he did the show that it was the
best performance he`d ever given in his life. And that business with the
Pashmina was amazing.
What happened was that I --
O`DONNELL: Well, let`s -- we have the clip of it.
LIPTON: Show it.
O`DONNELL: Why don`t we show that. We`ll pick it up right after
that. Let`s take a look at how this happened.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAMS: We`ve never met before, have we?
I came to Bombay last year.
I would like to welcome you to Iran. Help me!
My name is Robert Van Shovel. I would like to open you to the first
openly gay show.
Welcome to iron chef. First of all, tonight we are going to cook
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: James, it was like watching a magician step into the
audience and say, we`ve never met. And then go off with that.
LIPTON: He was magic. That was magic. Last year we won the Emmy for
our 250th episode which featured that clip, among many others. And we also
invited our viewers in America and around the world to vote for their
favorite episode of our last 20 years. Needless to say, it was Robin
O`DONNELL: James, you mentioned that his manager said that your show
was one of his best performances or his best performance ever. And you
mentioned that he came out on the stage and went to work. That`s not what
most people do when they come out onto your stage, is it? Aren`t they
there to kind of submit to your interview?
LIPTON: Or to yours.
LIPTON: The guests come on they wait for us to ask a question. He
And by the way, what inspired that Pashmina bit was when I said to
him, listen, would you tell me something? This was just before he started.
I said, would you tell me something?
Your mind operates in a different dimension than mine, or anybody
else`s. The speed at which you think is -- what are you doing? He started
to laugh, and that`s when he went down to the front and said, I can`t tell
you but I`ll show you. The young woman from whom he took it is my
goddaughter, there she sits in the front roar, and the Pashmina was our
Christmas gift to her.
So, it was family, family, family.
O`DONNELL: So that was his explanation of how he does the magic he
does. He didn`t have sentences for it. All he could do was show to it
LIPTON: He said, I`ll show you, I`ll show you. Then he did that.
While he was doing one thing, he was inventing the next. That wasn`t the
end of it, what you showed on your show here. It ended with him taking the
-- folding it with the fringes, then doing this in front of his head,
bringing his face through it.
He was a car emerging from a car wash. You know what that is? It`s
genius. That`s genius.
He went to Julliard. He was training as an actor, and said at
different times that the urge for him was just to get on stage. He did not
specifically set out to be a standup comedian or necessarily to be working
in comedy, but to get on the stage.
LIPTON: He just happened to be funnier than anybody else. Couldn`t
have -- "Mork and Mindy" established him as a great comic talent. He was
greatly inspired by Jonathan Winters.
LIPTON: And he took from him the art of improvisation and carried it
to heights that no one has ever taken it since or, I`m afraid, ever will
O`DONNELL: And there weren`t many people who dared to be inspired by
Jonathan Winters because he was so inventive and unpredictable that it
would be hard to kind of diagram what you were being inspired by.
LIPTON: He was the only person who could do what Robin Williams took
to that enormous height.
O`DONNELL: Yes, I want to talk about him as a dramatic actor. And I
want to look at a clip of one of miss movies that is not the most
prominent. "One Hour Photo" where he`s playing a pretty dark character.
Let`s take a look at this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAMS: I`m sure my customers never think about it. But these
snapshots are their little stands against the flow of time. The shutter`s
clicked, the flash goes off. And they`ve stopped time, if just for the
blink of an eye.
And if these pictures have anything important to say to future
generations, it`s this -- I was here. I existed. I was young. I was
happy. And someone cared enough about me in this world to take my picture.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: James, he was playing someone working in one of those one-
hour photo booths, a thing that has become extinct in the age of digital
O`DONNELL: But a complete and deep picture of depression, something
we now know was painfully relevant to his own life.
LIPTON: Yes. He had what great actors have and grade comedians have
as well. He had access to himself. He could reach deep, deep, deep --
deeper than most people can into himself, find something which was entirely
unique, completely surprising, and yet in the end inevitable.
Take it out and show it to us. That`s what he was able to do. That`s
the definition, for me, of great acting.
O`DONNELL: Let`s take a look, I just want to show a moment on what
was Johnny Carson`s second to last show here in Los Angeles. And he was
describing Robin Williams. And this was the show, Johnny Carson`s show as
we all know, the greatest comedians in our history all appeared, American
history, all appeared on that show.
Here`s what he had to say in his final words in remembrances of people
on that show about Robin Williams.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHNNY CARSON, THE TONIGHT SHOW: In this business, there are
comedians, there are comics, and once in a while, rarely, somebody rises
above and supersedes that and becomes a comic persona under themselves.
I`m never cease to be amazed at the versatility and the wonderful work that
Robin Williams does.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: And, James, it wasn`t easy to amaze Johnny Carson at that
LIPTON: No, it wasn`t. But was he -- was Robin ever anything but
O`DONNELL: The dramatic turn that his career took was something that
a lot of people didn`t see coming since he got such a rocket of a start in
comedy, especially television comedy. He ended up returning to television
and also going back to standup when he didn`t have to do it. He seemed as
though he wanted to keep moving in every direction that he could.
LIPTON: Absolutely. And he had what great comedians have. He had
enormous scope and range.
You and I would have a scope maybe of six inches between my palms here
as I hold my hands up. And he had a range which was limitless. He could
go anywhere. Mike Myers can do that, a few people can do that. Billy
Crystal can do that.
They are able to, no matter where we go in a conversation, no matter
where the artist is going himself, he will find references that we couldn`t
possibly have anticipated or imagined. He is nothing but surprises. And
take a look at a role like "Aladdin," like the genie in "Aladdin." He
created one character after another as quickly as he could speak and it was
all done in an improvisation in an empty studio with a microphone.
And then they created the genie to go along with what he had said.
"Mrs. Doubtfire." "Mrs. Doubtfire" -- he played -- there`s Mrs. Doubtfire,
she`s hilarious, she`s hysterical, she`s ridiculous. And then he played
the husband trying to get back to his wife and to his children and that was
a brilliant, dramatic performance, those two performances in the same
O`DONNELL: Yes, just stunning. Robert, your show is so valuable to
us and you are as an interviewer. And you`ve come up with -- James, sorry
-- you`ve come up with this brilliant final question that you ask. If
heaven exists, take us through how you ask that question of Robin Williams
and how he answered.
LIPTON: I`ll do my best. It`s a little bit difficult tonight to do
But I asked, if heaven exists what would you like to hear God say when
you arrive at the pearly gates? And Robin Williams said to me, there`s
seating near the front. The concert begins at 5:00. It will be Mozart,
Elvis, and one of your choosing.
Or, to know that there`s laughter. That would be a great thing. Just
to hear God say, two Jews walk into a bar.
Look where he went with that, in 15 different directions at once. You
know? I don`t know, I suppose everybody has said it already. And I`m the
last to say it. We are dealing with a real-life Pagliacci.
This is the clown who cried. This is the clown who cried at last in
life and who breaks our hearts. But in the end, in the end, as so many
comedians are, Robin was Pagliacci.
O`DONNELL: James Lipton, thank you very much for joining us on this
difficult night and sharing the joy that was Robin Williams. Thank you
very, very much, James.
LIPTON: Infinite joy and it`s not over. It`s not over.
O`DONNELL: That`s right.
LIPTON: He`s with us forever, thank God.
O`DONNELL: That`s right. Thank you, James.
Coming up, we`re going to have much more on the joy and the genius of
O`DONNELL: As James Lipton just told us, Jonathan Winters was Robin
Williams` idol. Here they are together.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAMS: Here we are, Robin Leach, lifestyles of the unusual and
funny. Back at someone`s backyard talking louder than anyone we`ve ever
known, Jonathan Winters. I`m wearing a cheap suit, he`s got an emblem.
Let`s watch, let`s see what his home is like.
JONATHAN WINTERS: They`re all buried over here.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Here is one of Robin Williams` first-ever scenes on
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIIFED MALE: Whoa, whoa, whoa!
WILLIAMS: Greetings, earthling. Remember me? Mork from Ork? You
once called me the nutso from outer space.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I must be dreaming or something like that, you
know? I mean -- of course, I`m dreaming. That`s why Mary never heard of
WILLIAMS: Sorry, real thing. I had to zap your mind to make you
forget. Didn`t want you to go bozo city.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Joining me, NBC News correspondent Hallie Jackson.
Halle, what is the latest information we have on what happened today?
HALLIE JACKSON, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Yes, so we understand that
there is an investigation into what exactly happened. The sheriff`s office
in northern California says that this is a suspected suicide at this point.
But as you can imagine, they are still trying to gather the facts and
gather the information.
We expect to know more tomorrow morning first thing. But in the
meantime, you are seeing so much reaction pouring in. Here in Los Angeles,
in Hollywood, from friends of Robin`s, people who may not have even known
him but are going out to his star on the Walk of Fame, laying down flowers,
laying down notes. You`re seeing an outpouring of grief all over this
O`DONNELL: And twitter has filled up with comments, especially from
people from the comedy world.
I want to read a sequence from Ben Stiller, actually, today. It was
quite moving. He said, "A tweet cannot begin to describe the hugeness of
Robin Williams` heart and soul and talent. This is so sad."
Then a few minutes later he said, "OK, I`ll try. I met him when I was
13, I`m a huge fan, he was so kind and I watched him be kind to every fan I
saw him with."
And then, a third tweet, "With other actors he was so generous and
brilliant, he made everyone feel special and equal around him even though
he was the genius."
And then a fourth, "His heart was so big and even if you didn`t know
him, what he gave everyone is that same spirit in his work so we all felt
And then, a fifth, "His impact on the world was so positive, he did so
much good for people, he made me and so many people laugh so hard for a
very long time."
And then, the sixth that wrapped it up, "And because they don`t really
tweet, this message represents all the Stillers, Jerry, Anne, and Amy, who
Robin was a great friend to," and I`m sure the Ben Stiller tweets represent
an awful lot of more people in show business who Robin Williams worked
JACKSON: That`s what you`re seeing. Six tweets from Ben Stiller.
Yet, Pam Dawber who co-starred with Robin Williams in "Mork and Mindy," of
course, she`s the famous Mindy, all she said was, "I am heartbroken and
devastated, completely and totally devastated. What more can be said?"
O`DONNELL: Yes, most people who are close to him can`t speak right
now at this hour. That`s what I discovered in reaching out to people
But we are now joined on the phone by Robert Wuhl who costarred in
"Good Morning, Vietnam" with Robin Williams.
Robert my friend, thank you very much for joining me now. I know this
is not easy.
Tell us about your memories of working on that amazing breakthrough
movie with Robin Williams.
ROBERT WUHL, ACTOR (via telephone): Well, how are you, Lawrence? I`m
shocked like everybody else with the news. You mentioned "Good Morning,
Vietnam." I had a co-starring part with Robin, very gracious, I appreciate
that. But it was a wonderful experience.
But what today brought back was I remember a day when we were all on
the set. We had a great time, it was all guys. It was like all guys
playing soldiers. It was a lot of fun, having a great time. We knew we
had the perfect vehicle for Robin with the right director, Barry Levinson.
All of us hanging out on the set one day, and at that time the book
that was making all the rounds was Bob Woodward`s "Wired." Remember that
O`DONNELL: Yes, yes.
WUHL: The book about John Belushi and the death of Belushi?
O`DONNELL: Yes, "Inside Saturday Night Live."
WUHL: That was the book making the rounds. We were all trying to
read it without Robin seeing it. If you remember, Robin was at the Chateau
Marmont the night Belushi overdosed. And he and Robert de Niro had been
there earlier in the night. And after that, Robin had got himself clean.
And he saw one of the guys reading the book. He says, you`re reading
that book, huh? He goes, yes, the guy was sheepish. He goes, well, those
were tough times.
And I just remembered that moment. He didn`t say -- didn`t play prima
donna, like put it away, I can`t look at it, get off the set, anything like
that. He just -- I just watched his reaction there. I`ve known Robin for,
you know, a good dozen years before then. Because when we`d started out
the clubs together in New York, that was a group that included like people
like Gilbert Gottfried, Larry David, Jerry Seinfeld and George Wallace and
But we kept hearing about this comic in San Francisco. This guy would
come into a room which would have 10 people at 2:00 in the morning and blow
the room away.
Sure enough, one time he comes in, sure enough he came in, nobody had
ever seen anything like this. And he blew the room away like you never saw
this stuff happen.
So, I met him back then and of course we remained friends. The thing
to remember, as brilliant as he was, as genius an artist as he was, the old
adage he was even a better person really applies to this guy. People -- he
was a San Francisco comic.
When the outbreak of AIDS first hit San Francisco, there were a couple
of colleagues who were stricken by this and Robin I know took care of these
guys under the table and did it anonymously. When Christopher Reeve, his
roommate from Julliard, had his terrible accident, Robin took care of him.
This was one of the most special, most generous -- it`s just tough.
You don`t know what`s greater, the talent, the genius, or the man himself.
You can find very few people ever to say really bad words about Robin
O`DONNELL: We`ve got shots of you up on the screen with Robin right
now. "Good Morning, Vietnam," sitting there in the producer`s booth on the
radio show you guys were doing in that movie.
I`ve talked to Barry Levinson who directed it about the creative
atmosphere there. It just sounds like it was one of those magical sets in
terms of the creativity that was bubbling up. A couple of stand-ups, you
and Robin there, Barry Levinson himself starting as a performer in comedy
O`DONNELL: Tell us about what that was like and how things were
energized by that and how things changed from day to day on the set because
WUHL: Well, again, I go back to it was -- that`s the genius of Barry
Levinson, who was the perfect guy for this project. Couldn`t have gotten
any better. Robin had the perfect vehicle. The screenplay is totally
underappreciated and undervalued which is a shame, because the screenplay
The cast Barry put together, the late great Bruno Kirby, we had a
great time there. That`s one of the ones you say you had a great time.
Plus, you saw the right vehicle -- Robin had not had a super hit by this
time. He`d been in a couple of movies but he hadn`t had the breakthrough
vehicle yet. He`s done "Popeye" and I think "Garp."
But this was the one when it broke, it fed right to his genius,
perfect vehicle for him. We went out to dinner quite often. The three,
the group put together, went out to eat.
Robin made everyone else inclusive. By the way, the great thing about
Robin Williams, he was a great audience. Robin`s great laugh, ha ha! When
he broke into laughter he was a great audience. Not a lot of comics are
always a great audience. That`s something.
But Robin, this is a special guy, he`ll be missed. This is a special
O`DONNELL: And you guys are both the same age, coming through this
comedy era together and acting. You had one of the -- I think maybe the
first comedy series on HBO yourself. And HBO did concert stuff around
There were all sorts of openings that were suddenly occurring in
comedy and performing through places like HBO that weren`t there when you
WUHL: Well, that`s also a continuum -- it`s actually HBO comedy
series before mine. First, (INAUDIBLE) was there. Larry Sanders show was
there. "Dream On" was there. So there were other series.
And this goes to the people who started HBO which is Michael Fukes
(ph), later Chris Albrecht, who knew Robin from the clubs. And he trusted
comics. Chris at HBO and Robin, Willie, Whoopi, of course, went to Chris
to start comic relief.
And you have, you know, the immense amount of monies that these three
did, raised. It`s just another part of Robin. And, by the way, he was
kind of funny. He was kind of smart and kind of funny, which is the
understatement of all-time. And just a terrific guy, just a great guy.
By the way, you said Lipton was talking, the great thing about Robin
is unlike a lot of comics, he wasn`t afraid to make himself unlikeable in a
part. If he thought the part called for it, he would make himself
unlikeable. He could do that, he wasn`t afraid of that. He wasn`t afraid
of image that much about stuff like that.
He was a true artist. I mean, Robin Williams is very, very special.
O`DONNELL: Robert Wuhl, buddy, thank you very much for jumping on the
phone with me tonight. I really, really appreciate this. Thank you very
WUHL: Hope to see you soon under happier circumstances, Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: We will do that, thank you, Robert.
O`DONNELL: Coming up -- coming up, we`re going to have much more on
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: This all started in what was supposed
to be a peaceful vigil for Michael Brown, turned into this. We do want to
stress that not everyone in that march was participating in the efforts
approaching those police. The quick trip was broken into. The glass was
busted out. A lot of people going in, grab sag plies, stealing from that
quick trip night. Complete unrest really in the streets tonight.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Breaking news from Ferguson, Missouri, just outside St.
Louis tonight, where there is unrest for a second night in the wake of a
deadly police shooting of an unarmed black man.
Police in riot gear have blocked off roads tonight in the St. Louis
suburb of Ferguson. There are reports that they have used tear gas to
disperse a crowd of protesters at a major intersection. Last night
protesters smashed windows of stores, of restaurants, and damaged cars.
There was also another vigil tonight for 18-year-old Michael Brown.
He was unarmed when he was shot multiple times by a police officer
Saturday. Michael Brown and a friend were reportedly walking in the
canfield green apartment complex on Saturday.
Brown`s grandmother says he was on the way to see her. Dorin Johnson
says he was with Michael Brown when they encountered the police.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DORIN JOHNSON, SAYS HE WAS WITH MICHAEL BROWN: A police officer squad
car pulled up. And he pulled up, these were his exact words, he said "get
the f on the sidewalk." And we told the officer we was not but a minute
away from my destination and would shortly be off the street. We was
having a conversation. He went about his way for one or two seconds as we
continued to walk. And then he reversed his truck, his car. In a manner
to where it almost hit us. And it blocked both lanes off the way he turned
his car. So he pulled up on the side of us, he tried to thrust his door
open but we were so close to it that it ricocheted off us and bounced back
to him. And I guess that got him a little upset. And at that time he
reached out the window. He didn`t get out of the car. He just reached his
arm out the window and grabbed my friend around his neck. And as he was
trying to choke my friend. And he was trying to get away and the officer
then reached out, grabbed his arm to pull him into the car, so now it was
like the officer`s pulling hip inside the car, he`s trying to pull away.
At no time the officer said that he was going to do anything until he
pulled out his weapon. His weapon was drawn and he said, "I`ll shoot you,"
or "I`m going to shoot." In the same moment the first shot went off. And
we looked at him. He was shot. And it was blood coming from him. We took
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: NBC`s John Yang talked to another witness.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN YOUNG, NBC NEW CORRESPONDENT: Piaget Crenshaw said she saw it
happen from her apartment balcony and it looked to her as if the policeman
reached for Brown through the car`s open window.
PIAGET CRENSHAW, WITNESSED POLICE SHOOTING: It looked like he was
trying to force him into the police car or at least force him to stop
YANG: Authorities said the struggle spilled onto the street where
Brown was shot multiple times.
CRENSHAW: He`s running this way, he turns his body towards this way.
Hands in the air, being compliant. He gets shot in the face and chest and
goes down and dies.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Joining me is NBC news Ron Allen in Ferguson, Missouri
Ron, what is the situation there now?
RON ALLEN, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Well Lawrence, it is very tense.
Behind me you can see there are police who are blocking this intersection.
And they have on riot gear.
Just in the last half hour or so, since we`ve been out here they`ve
taken out their guns and they moved to a much higher state of alert. There
are crowds milling around in this area. The focus of concern is about two
miles, a mile and a half from here down this main road, a road that`s
blocked off to get to from most locations around the city.
There`s a crowd down there of perhaps a couple hundred people who have
been milling around, there are reports of gunfire, there are reports of
tear gas being fired, we can`t confirm any of that. There are also
indications there may be as many as 200 to 300 police from nearby
communities here again to try to keep a lid on things.
We`re also talking to some community leaders who were at this
intersection who want to go down there to try to talk to the people of the
community, to try to urge them to be peaceful. They say they were told
there`s been a fatality down there. They don`t know who it is, they`re not
sure of what`s happened. They`ve also been told there`s an ambulance here,
that the authorities are trying to get down into that area. But we heard
on the police scanner that it`s not safe. The police are saying it`s not
safe to bring an ambulance down to that part of town right now. That`s
where there was a lot of violence last night, a lot of looting, a lot of
tension. That`s also very close to the neighborhood where Michael Brown
was killed a couple of nights ago.
So again, you can see on this corner around me, there are a number of
people milling in different directions. We`re hearing car horns blaring
through the streets. Just people out there in the night trying to see
what`s going on. Some taunting the police, some yelling at the police as
they go by. But again, just a night of tension here. We`re not sure
exactly what`s going to happen. The authorities are on high alert. And
another long, hot night here in Ferguson -- Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: Ron Allen, thanks for joining us. We`ll be back to you if
anything else develops there. Thank you very much, Ron.
Joining me now is James Clark, a community activist in the St. Louis
area. He`s the vice president of the better family life organization.
Mr. Clark, how have the police explained the multiple shots fired by
the police officer in this case?
JAMES CLARK, ST. LOUIS COMMUNITY ACTIVIST: Well, up to this point we
have received limited information from the police. We are expecting to
receive more information tomorrow. And so we are looking to have a portion
of this situation satisfied with that information.
O`DONNELL: Because of the situation of a police officer firing their
gun, each shot has to be justified. And whatever the justification the
officer thought he might have had for the first shot, once that hits the
victim, it`s very hard to see what justification there could possibly be
even in the mind, even in the imagination of an officer after that first
CLARK: Well, we are concerned about the number of shots. We are
concerned that a single shot was fired. This is a situation that a cop
that probably could have been resolved without shots fired. We understand
that the officer was also equipped with a taser.
So we are looking for justice in this instance. And we are very, very
confident that justice will prevail. But we are taking this opportunity to
also learn something. We have been very, very neglectful in the St. Louis
community, as in communities all over America. When you look at the urban
core, there is an obvious disconnect where we have allowed a subculture to
grow and fester within our neighborhoods. And so we must learn that we
cannot shut people out. We cannot disregard people`s needs to be welcomed
into society because these individuals are now angry and they have the
right to be angry. So -- and we in some way have to thank them for giving
us a wakeup call. But now that we have the wakeup call, we must mobilize
and go into our neighborhoods and offer them a sense of hope and a sense of
O`DONNELL: James Clark, I know you`ve been working to calm the
neighborhood. I want to play what Michael Brown`s grandfather said about
what has happened there in reaction to all of this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LESLEY MCSPADDEN, MICHAEL BROWN`S GRANDFATHER: Stealing, looting,
burning their own community which don`t make sense to nobody. Why would
you burn your own community? Why would you do all that? All it does is
put a red flag on what we`re trying to do. If his legacy shouldn`t be
about looting, stealing, kicking police cars.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: James Clark, I know he was speaking for all of you who
have been trying to calm that situation there.
O`DONNELL: I just want to thank you very much for joining us tonight.
James Clark, really appreciate your time.
CLARK: Thank you.
O`DONNELL: We will be back with more on the other big story of the
night, the death of Robin Williams.
O`DONNELL: In 2002, Robin Williams starred with Al Pacino in
Christopher (INAUDIBLE) film in "Insomnia." Five years later Robin
Williams was there when Al Pacino received his life achievement award from
the American film institute.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Ladies and gentlemen, Robin Williams.
ROBIN WILLIAMS, ACTOR: Welcome to the 35 the annual AFI life
achievement award. A tribute to Al Pacino. The academy award for
"Godfather II." the academy award for "Raging Bull." Wait a minute. I am
under rehab but that`s wrong. That`s Robert de Niro. But if you put
Robert de Niro in a dryer you get Al Pacino.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank god for Quayle. He kept us alive for two
WILLIAMS: I think they told him about the Murphy Brown thing. I
think George said, "here`s the deal. I want you to go out there and talk
about Jerry Brown."
Jerry Brown, Jerry Brown, Jerry Brown. Buster Brown, buster Brown,
buster Brown. Audi Murphy, Audi Murphy Audi Murphy. Murray Brown! Don`t
you realize that he`s rain man!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Chevy chase has just issued this statement about Robin
"Robin and I were great friends suffering from the same little-known
disease, depression. I never could have expected this ending to his life
and to ours with him. God bless him and God bless us all for his life. I
cannot believe this. I am overwhelmed with grief. What a wonderful man,
boy, and what a tremendous talent in the most important art of any time,
comedy. I loved him."
Joining me now, Jeannie Wolf, a Hollywood journalist who spoke to
Robin Williams fairly recently. Jeannie, joining us by phone, you
interviewed robin about two months ago?
JEANNE WOLF, HOLLYWOOD JOURNALIST (via phone): I interviewed him
about two months ago but I`ve interviewed him countless times over the
years. Many, many times. You know, even right at the "Mork and Mindy"
days. And, you know, I see what Chevy was saying. I think that when this
news hit news rooms in L.A. today, first of course everyone scrambles
because they have to get the story ready. But there were tears. There
were really deep, heartfelt emotions. People thought they knew robin.
They had witnessed a different kind of spirit than almost any other artist
O`DONNELL: Yes, that`s the way it was here at the NBC news bureau at
Jeannie, two months ago, how did he seemed when you were talking to
WOLF: Well, I went to the quite fabulous "crazy one" which was his
show then. At that time I don`t think there was any notion that the show
would be canceled. He was with the rest of the cast. And he seemed to
love being around the young actors. He loved doing the show. He loved the
fact that it had emerged into more of an ensemble show.
And I don`t think that Robin was very good at hiding his feelings. He
seemed contented. He seemed proud of what his work was. I didn`t see
signs of depression. And you know, even if he didn`t try to tell you how
he was feeling, he would usually kid about how he was feeling. So I don`t
think that this -- he`s a very private man. But I think that his reaction
that night on the set was a very satisfied, you know -- a kind of happy
guy. But happiness always balanced with what Chevy Chase just called that,
demon of depression.
O`DONNELL: And Jeannie, he discussed that with you a little bit in
some of the other interviews you did with him over the years.
WOLF: Many times. You know, he wasn`t afraid to say that if he was
doing a serious part, it would get him down. He wasn`t afraid to say that
on location he got lonely and he would be foolish enough to start drinking
He wasn`t afraid to talk about how he knew how dangerous it was for
him, drugs and alcohol. He would be funny about it. He says, I had a pint
of vodka in each bottle -- in each pocket, one in the left pocket, one in
the right pocket, I like to keep things balanced. He was funny about the
things that bothered him most. And he could be serious about it. But he
understood the life of a star, the life of a -- the energy that it takes to
connect human being to human being to make another person feel.
O`DONNELL: Jeannie Wolf, thank you very much for joining us tonight
with your memories of Robin Williams. Thank you very much.
WOLF: Very sad, very sad.
O`DONNELL: Coming up, we`re going to have more of the joy of Robin
O`DONNELL: In a statement today, Robin Williams` wife asked us to
focus on quote "the countless moments of joy and laughter he gave to
millions." Here are just a few of those moments.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you have any special skills?
WILLIAMS: Yes. I do. I do voices.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What do you mean, you do voices?
WILLIAMS: Good morning Vietnam!
You do an eclectic celebration of events. You do fussy fussy fuss
reserve yore do Martha Martha Martha. Or Twila, Twila . Or Michael kidd,
Michael kidd. Or Madonna, Madonna, Madonna. But you keep it all inside.
WILLIAMS: We`ve come to this planet looking for intelligent life. We
made a mistake.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oar from outer space.
WILLIAMS: Yes. Do you mind if I take pictures for the folks from the
home planet? They`d like to get some postcards.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No.
WILLIAMS: OK. Watch the flukey.
You`re a lot smaller than my last master. Either that or I`m getting
bigger. Look at me from the side, do I look different to you?
My first day as a woman and I`m getting hot flashes.
Hey, this is not a test, this is rock `n` roll! Time to rocket from
the delta to the DMZ! Is that me or does that sound like an Elvis Presley
I do a great impression of a hot tub.
Left, left, left right left.
We all have a great need for acceptance. But you must trust that your
beliefs are unique, your own. Even though others may think them odd or
unpopular. Even though the herd may go, that`s bad!
I`m in love with you. Not just from tonight. I`ve known you for a
She`s been dead two years. Wonderful stuff, you know. Little things
like that. Those are the things I miss the most. The little
idiosyncrasies that only I know about. That`s what made her my wife.
I know you hate your job and we don`t have many friends. I know
sometimes you feel a little uncoordinated and you don`t feel as wonderful
as everybody else. Feeling as alone and separate as you feel you are. I
Robert frost said, two roads diverge and I, I took the one less
traveled by. And that has made all the difference. I want you to find
your own walk right now. Your own way of striving, pacing. Any direction,
anything you want. Whether it`s proud, whether it`s chilling, anything.
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