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Nathan Lane remembers ‘The Birdcage’ co-star Robin Williams

Actor Nathan Lane speaks onstage during the 'Live From The Lincoln Center ' The Nance' panel at the PBS Networks portion of the 2014 Summer Television Critics Association at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on July 22, 2014 in Beverly Hills, California.
Actor Nathan Lane speaks onstage during the 'Live From The Lincoln Center ' The Nance' panel at the PBS Networks portion of the 2014 Summer Television Critics Association at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on July 22, 2014 in Beverly Hills, California.
Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

Actor Nathan Lane is one of many actors who had the pleasure of working with Robin Williams. The two teamed up in the 1996 movie “The Birdcage.” It was one of Williams’ more memorable roles and Lane took the time to remember his former co-star in an interview with Dana Tyler of CBS New York published Tuesday.

Like many celebrities and fans of Williams, Lane was devastated when he found out about the suicide of the late great actor. In the interview he speaks of Williams’ warm nature and his generosity. He said, “Nobody was more kind or generous, and he was the most compassionate and sensitive soul – I mean, obviously, funny, and you know; an entertaining person to be around. He was an extraordinary intellect. The way his mind worked, you know, should have been studied in laboratories.”

Lane teamed with Williams in a movie that has become adored by many. In the movie, Williams plays a gay cabaret owner and Lane plays his domestic lover. The two shared many comedic scenes as their characters conspired to fool ultraconservative Republican U.S. Senator Kevin Keeley played by Gene Hackman. It was one of a few gay roles played by Williams, and one of his most memorable roles overall.

Lane, who is an openly gay actor, talked about how straight actors can play gay roles during the TV critics’ meeting back in July. Robin Williams was a perfect example of that, as Lane believes gay roles shouldn’t be restricted to just gay actors. Williams’ performance as Armand in “The Birdcage” showcased his versatility as an actor and also showed how unafraid he was to tackle different roles. It also highlighted gay characters on the big screen and will always be a movie referenced when it come to LGBT popular culture.

Nathan Lane, who is a multi-talented actor himself, also expressed in the interview who saddened he was by Williams’ death. He said, “The way Billy Crystal said – there are no words. I’m just – it’s very sad and yet, I think that all we can do is just remember him as the genius he was and what he left behind.”