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My Fun Night with Robin Williams, A Good Memory

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I hadn’t thought of this in years until the tragic news of Robin’s death. It was the awesome 80′s and I was working at radio station serving the Reno/Tahoe area with studios located on the north shore of Lake Tahoe. The money sucked, but you couldn’t beat it for location, location, location!

If you ever visit Tahoe and like to play a little blackjack or slots, keep this in mind: The north shore casinos are a little more “homey” than the glittery south shore casinos. At least they were.

A couple years later radio took me to a great station in Philadelphia, and right about vacation time a good radio friend announces she’s getting married at the Cal-Neva Lodge at Tahoe! This beautiful and historic place used to be owned by Frank Sinatra and was a Rat Pack hang out back in the day. I knew it well since the station I worked for when I lived there used to be within walking distance from it. So after the wedding and reception, a few of us decided to gamble a little.

After a few dollars lost and a few dollars won, who sits at our mostly empty blackjack table, but Robin Williams and his wife. Suddenly, no one cared if they won or lost a $2 bet…it was all about watching Robin cast silly spells on the dealer, do the hand motions to worship and give good luck to his hand and roll into silly voices after the hand was over, win or lose. Every one at the table respected his privacy. Nobody asked for an autograph or interrupted his magic.

After 15 minutes or so, he and his wife moved on to play something else and the rest of us at the table, which filled up after he sat down, all laughed and talked our incredible moment with true greatness.

Farewell sweet funnyman. You are a true American icon and everything from your hilarious talk show interviews to your amazing movies and TV will surely live for generations to come. I only wish this was one happy clown that wasn’t so sad inside.

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