I was so excited when they renamed the Waldo Tunnel the Robin Williams Tunnel. Many would think how typically Marin to name a tunnel after a comedian. But not me. My reasons are personal.

The Robin Williams Tunnel is Marin’s gateway to that spectacular view of the Golden Gate Bridge, an international icon, the supermodel of bridges.

But not for me.

Eight years ago, our daughter Casey drove to the bridge and jumped, like thousands of others. Every time I’ve crossed that bridge since it’s been a reminder. I just stare ahead, ignore the throngs of star struck tourists and get through it.

I met Robin Williams in 1997 at Chrissy Field for a charity event. He was waiting in the wings as the kids watched a magician. There was no time to grab Casey, then 7, from the crowd. My wife and I walked up to him.

“Would it be gauche of us to ask for your picture?”

He smiled and gave me an unforgettable riff: “A gauche, a droit, who cares?” We took pictures together and within a minute he was mobbed.

Years later, after Casey died, her friend Maryse came to our annual remembrance gathering with her sweet, quiet boyfriend, Cody. We later learned Cody was Robin’s middle son. His sister was named after one of Casey’s favorite video games, The Legend of Zelda.

Driving over the Golden Gate now is a little less unbearable. Instead of bracing myself for that supermodel view I look for the green CalTrans ‘Robin Williams Tunnel’ sign and think about my close encounters with genius. Casey, like all of us, was a gigantic fan, and I hope now Robin is making her laugh till it hurts.

Thanks, Robin Williams.

With a Perspective, I’m John Brooks.

John Brooks has written a memoir about his search for answers to his daughter’s suicide.

Robin Williams Tunnel 7 April,2016Amanda Font

  • Taylor Schoellky

    I was really touched by your perspective and made me tear up. Robin Williams was a brilliant man. He had the same form of dementia that my dad has, so I have a special place for him in my heart. Both my father and Robin Williams made me laugh for my whole life, and his death was a tragedy for me in many ways. I am so sorry for your loss, especially through such an extreme death. It is good to think of his death and the many Williams connections to your daughter as a positive. When my dad passes, I hope that all three of them can laugh together in heaven.

    • John Brooks

      Thanks so much! Casey was also a senior at Redwood HS where Robin was class of 69. You cannot find a single 1969 yearbook there because I’d guess either they got swiped and resold on eBay or locked away for safekeeping. I remember hearing about Robin’s death and thinking, no not suicide! He did a riff once about GGB suicides and I wondered if that thought went through his head. I couple of Casey’s friends are still in touch with Cody and I remember how sweet and quiet he was at our party when I had no idea who he was. Those poor kids have been through so much, losing their dad tragically, the estate fight, the tabloids, the nastiness on social media. I hope they here this. Thanks again!

  • Sharon Hansen Spaulding

    I heard you on KQED last week and was touched by your story. I hope you know that by sharing your “perspective,” I, like many, will now think of your daughter, Casey when we pass through Robin’s Rainbow.
    I wish you peace.

  • Peter Gavin

    Beautiful piece, John. I’m so sorry for your loss. I had a close friend take his life, and your piece touched me deeply.

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