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Robin Williams' Atlanta connection

A loving tribute to actor Robin Williams who died on August 11, 2014
Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

Actor Robin Williams has a special place in the hearts of Atlantans. He was in our city last year to film the movie "Merry Friggin Christmas". Robin left his mark in a memorable and joyous way. He passed away at the age of 63 on August 11, 2014. His death was ruled a suicide.

"Merry Friggin Christmas" is about Boyd Mitchler (Joel McHale) who is spending the holidays with his family. He realizes he forgot his son's gifts and drives home with his dad (Robin) to pick them up. They have to make it back for Christmas before sunrise on Christmas Day. The film also stars Lauren Graham and Candace Bergen.

The movie was filmed partly in Stone Mountain, Ga. Robin also filmed in the north metro Atlanta suburb of Norcross, Ga. The residents were very happy to have Robin and crew in their city. Downtown was turned into a winter wonderland. The film generated a lot of revenue for local businesses it also helped promote the city of Norcross. Cafe owner Ken Weatherford told Fox 5 News "I think it brings a lot of recognition to the town, sheds a light. People don't know we're here, really. I've had my restaurant here for nearly 20 years and people still say, where is downtown Norcross." Having Robin's name attached to the project also brought publicity to Norcross. It wasn't just another movie being filmed in Atlanta!!

While on a break from filming Robin performed stand up comedy at Laughing Skull. He performed along side comic Rick Overton. Mara Davis, formerly of Dave FM in Atlanta, said of Williams' performance “It was so surreal. He came out and there was this instant surge of energy. The whole room changed. All of a sudden, this blast of hilarity from a true physical comedian. You were in awe to be in a room with 80 people and Robin Williams. He and his friend did improv together. They bounced off each other.”

Robin had several other projects in the works. He wrapped “Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb" and “Absolutely Anything" earlier this year.

This was not Robin's first time working in Atlanta. He made several stops here when touring as a stand up comic. He performed at Punchline several times. Long time Punchline employee Marcey Guthrie told the Atlanta Journal Constitution Robin came in to see his friend Bruce Baum. She told the paper “He did a really long set with him. Ad-libbed everything. He didn’t come in stuffy. Came in full blown having fun.” Marcey also said the second time Robin visited the comedy club he remembered her name.

There is a lot being written about what lead up to Robin's suicide. I prefer to focus on his brilliant body of work and the fact that he was an exceptional human being.

Follow me @popcultureunive on Twitter

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