Zelda Williams, 25, is speaking publicly for the first time since her
father’s tragic suicide in August. I can’t believe it’s already been six
months since Robin Williams passed. Zelda is working to continue her
late father’s charity work, in particular his work with the Challenged Athletes Foundation,
which provides adaptive devices and athletic opportunities to veterans
and others who have limited mobility. This Friday Zelda will be
presenting an award to the CAF and to her dad at the Noble Awards, which honor humanitarians. You can read more about Zelda’s work with the CAF on her Instagram.
Her words really touched me. She wrote that she can’t compete in
triathlons biking 44 miles like her dad did for the CAF from 1998 to
2009 but that ” she “will do everything else in my (decidedly less
athletic) power to continue Dad’s legacy and support the charities he
loved that I’ve watched first hand change thousands of lives.”
Zelda had an interview air on The Today Show this morning, conducted
by Kate Snow. You can see the videos in two parts, below. Zelda
impressed me so much, especially in light of some of the invasive
questions Snow was asking. Zelda talked about how she’s grieving
following the loss of her dad, and how she’s trying to move forward in
her life. Zelda came across as vulnerable and honest but straightforward
and practical. My heart went out to her after watching her interview.
Here’s some of what she said.
Grieving for her dad
For me especially it’s going to take a lot of work to allow myself the fun happy life that I had.
On the outpouring of love for her dad
There was an enormous outpouring of love from every corner of the world…
the side of him that people know and love and that is attached to their
childhood is the characters that he had so much fun being and that’s
what’s important. I do think that’s what a lot of people will hold on
to… for the most part it’s nice to have just our private life be our
She was asked if she ever wonders why her dad committed suicide
I don’t think there’s a point [to wonder why]. It’s not important to ask.
People want to know why her dad took his own life
Diseases are – until we find out exactly how they work, we don’t have an
explanation. There’s no one I can offer. A lot of people who have been
through it and lost someone… who have gone on to lead very full lives
know that there’s no point questioning it and there’s no point blaming
yourself or the world… it happened so you have to continue to live and
On public acceptance of mental illness
One of the things that is changing that is wonderful is that people are
starting to approach talking about illnesses that people can’t
immediately see. I want people to be more accepting.
It was important for [my dad] for people to talk about important
things. He didn’t like people feeling like the things that were hard for
them, they should go through alone. That’s the big legacy for him.
On what people should remember about her dad
People should remember what they want to remember of him. Who am I to
guide what their childhood memories are of watching his movie.
[From The Today Show, videos below]
A few of the questions Snow asked seemed too personal, and I hope
that she cleared them all with Zelda ahead of time. You could see Zelda
bristling at points, but she was composed and so well spoken. Zelda
works as a voice over actress and has been going back to work recently.
I’m surprised she’s not a writer. At one point she said that the
public’s response to her dad’s death was “not something that’s even easy to put into words… as much as I love words and have a lot of faith in them.” She also revealed that she has a hummingbird tattoo on her hand, which she got to remind her of her dad every day. She said “Hummingbirds
are fun and flighty and strange. It’s hard to keep them in one place
and Dad was like that. Keeping a conversation in one moment was
impossible with him.” That’s the Robin we knew and loved, and it
sounds like Zelda has so many more meaningful memories of her dad. Kudos
to her for speaking out on his behalf and supporting the charities he
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