'I feel very sad today'; Longtime local film critic weighs in on Robin Williams' death
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - There is no other way to say it. Hollywood has lost a legend.
Authorities in Northern Califorina confirm actor and comedian Robin Williams, revered for his work in comedies and dramas alike, was found dead Monday. The cause appears to be suicide.
Anyone who knew him and many who knew his work are shocked by what happened.
That includes one Tucsonan who, tonight, is sharing his story with 9OYS.
He calls it his 'ego wall', and it's not hard to see why.
Decades of one-on-ones with Hollywood royalty deck a hall of Jim Ferguson's Tucson home.
Still, he says, one sit-down has always stood out.
"Oh, he's laughing. Yeah," said Ferguson, pointing to the photo of him and Williams.
"You ask 'Who's your easiest person? Who's your easiest interview?'" he said. "It's always Robin. It's always Robin Williams."
In preparation for our interview, Ferguson dug up a few of his own.
"I saw Robin start at 8 o'clock in the morning and do 50 interviews, and he was just as up on the 50th as he was on the first," he said.
Over the years, Ferguson interviewed Williams roughly a dozen times.
"He always asked everybody 'How do you want me to be? Funny? Do you want me to be sad? Into character? I'll do whatever you want.' And he would. He would."
Though, often those interviews, in true Robin Williams fashion, went in directions unforseen.
"When you look at the photographs taken over the years, you can actually a lot of times remember the exact moment," said Williams in the 2002 interview for the film 'One Hour Photo'. "Oh that's the time Uncle Phil pissed in the punch bowl! But that was a bad Thanksgiving anyway."
Then there was the time Ferguson mentioned he and his wife had just returned from Ireland.
"And he took off," said Ferguson. "He said 'What was it like? How were the taxi cab drivers?' And then he did a taxi cab driver, and he was doing all these skits and everything about going to the Guiness brewery, and it was one funny thing, and he had me rolling and everybody else, the camera people."
With those memories in mind, Ferguson says Monday's headlines dealt a stunning blow.
"I feel very sad today," he said. "I can't understand it. He had so much to live for."
Tragically it's a feeling Ferguson is accustomed to.
Among those photos on his wall are other stars whose lives ended too soon.
In this case, he says he hopes the spotlight does some sort of service.
"I hope that we can learn or people can learn from... What depression is all about and how bad it affects people so badly that they could do that," he said.