Following Monday night's news of Robin Williams' death, a memorial cropped up Tuesday afternoon at the Everett Theatre.
Many evening dinners were interrupted Monday night when news of Robin Williams’ death spread across media outlets across the nation. In Middletown, the Everett Theatre, immediately paid tribute to the late actor with a marquee message reading, “RIP Robin Williams.”
By Tuesday afternoon, there was a makeshift memorial accruing as heartbroken fans began anonymously leaving flowers and other mementos in honor of the late actor.
“The irony is that I was just talking about him during Music on Main last week,” said Everett Theatre board member Rob Stout. “We just had our new digital projector installed and I was explaining how generous he was to donate auction items so we could raise the money for it.”
The auction items Stout is referring to include three signed “Dead Poets Society” posters that raised approximately $3,000 for the new system. The auction took place during the Everett’s celebration of the 25th anniversary of the release of “Dead Poet’s Society,” for which Williams was nominated for an Academy Award. Many scenes were filmed in and around Middletown at St. Andrews School and the Everett Theatre.
Chuck Kuzminski, who owns CKuz Guitars on Main Street remembers meeting Williams during the filming when he was just 16 years old. Kuzminski was picked to be an extra in the movie and related a story that happened the day the scenes were shot that introduced Williams’ character. He said it was packed and seemed to be taking hours. Out of nowhere, Williams appeared on stage and did some of the impromptu standup that he was notorious for. Afterwards, he sat and chatted with people.
“It always stuck with me because as a big star, he didn’t have to do that,” Kuzminski said. “He knew most of us were high school kids and we were bored, just waiting around on set. He made everyone laugh, shifting randomly in character the way he was known to do. It was really a cool thing to do.”
Kuzminski added that he was shocked to learn of Williams’ death, echoing the sentiments of the actor's legion of fans who took to social media to express their dismay.
“I know he’s somebody who has had a lot of issues with drugs and alcohol over the years but it was still such a shock,” he said. “More than that, it’s a shame. It’s hard to believe there was nobody he could confide in.”
Stout then went on to say that in the wake of the tragic loss, it’s important to him that people know that Williams was instrumental in helping the Everett secure a portion of the funding for the new projection system that replaced the old 100-year-old, out-of-date system.
“In that way, a piece of Robin Williams will live on at the Everett for a long time,” Stout said.