The tragic death of legendary funnyman Robin Williams, in an apparent suicide, has stunned fans, media and the Hollywood community. For more than 40 years, Williams has been a mainstay of American comedy and film; from his days palling around with Richard Pryor as an up-and-coming L.A. stand-up to his lovable portrayal of Mork on TV’s “Mork & Mindy” to his critically-acclaimed performances in such classic films as Dead Poets Society, Awakenings and Good Will Hunting.
Authorities found Williams’ body at his home in Tiburon, California, and the 63-year-old was pronounced dead shortly after 12 p.m. A representative issued this statement: “Robin Williams passed away this morning. He has been battling severe depression of late. This is a tragic and sudden loss. The family respectfully asks for their privacy as they grieve during this very difficult time.”
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, in 2012, an estimated 16 million U.S. adults had at least one major depressive episode, or bout of depressive symptoms, in the past year. So this emotional disorder is more common than many want to admit; but with the news of Williams taking his own life resonating so deeply, we must acknowledge that comedians seem to often battle these demons in the public eye.
Here are some other noteworthy funnymen who struggled with the demon of depression in various ways.