Wausau man remembers Robin WIlliams - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Wausau man remembers Robin WIlliams


WAUSAU (WAOW)-- Robin Williams never performed at Wausau's Grand Theater, but one of its longtime directors worked with the comedian 25-years ago.

"Robin Williams was absolutely a magnetic stage presence," said Jim O'Connell, the former Grand Theater Executive Director.

O'Connell remembers the first time he met Williams. He worked at the Arizona state theater 25 years ago when Williams stopped by for a night of stand-up comedy.

O'Connell laughed at the memory.

"I only had the chance to shake his hand backstage but he maintained that same sense of unpredictability off stage as well as on," said O'Connell.

O'Connell has seen many performers live throughout his career, but the zany comedian who also starred in numerous movies sticks out in his mind.

"With Williams, it was nothing anyone could expect it to be," he said. "Exhausting and exhilarating."

The theater veteran says the world lost a talented artist.

"The loss of Robin Williams is a loss of that spontaneity, that unpredictable performance," said the theater veteran.

Williams touched generations of people with his energy and sense of humor. One of those people was O'Connell.

"Robin Williams was a once in a lifetime talent and it's a shame we won't have whatever work he might have done into the future."


was executive director at the Grand Theater for more than two decades before leaving earlier this year to teach arts management at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point.


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