bike paths throughout the county, furi-
ously pedaling the curves of Paradise Drive,
instantly recognizable by that pelt of fur
covering your body — “sweater by Darwin,”
you called it. Girl Scouts lucky enough to ring
the bell at your home in the Cay were treated
to an array of falsetto shrieks — “No one at
home just now!” — before you threw open the
door and bought up their cookies.
We chatted with you as you pumped gas
on Tiburon Boulevard, ordered breakfast
at La Boulange, picked up takeout Thai
in Sausalito. We ran into you in cafes in
Larkspur, in Nordstrom, buying running
shoes at ArchRival. We exchanged glances,
shared smiles, made eye contact. You were
of us, one of us.
We were privy to stories, at least some
of them, of your incredible philanthropy,
on scales large and small. Your financial
generosity is legendary, but many of us
witnessed smaller incidents of you, for
example, as local lore has it, quietly giving
one of your bikes away on an off-road trail
to someone who needed it more than you.
While supporting dozens of national charities and troops overseas, you also gave of
both your time and your money to the Marin
Community Foundation and myriad local
causes. At 142 Throckmorton Theatre in
Mill Valley — a venue where you, usually
unbilled, popped up on stage to toss off a
genius set of improv — you threw fundraisers to help the place out.
After unanimous votes in both the state
senate and assembly, we renamed the Rainbow
Tunnel after you, a bit of an on-the-nose move
that will inexorably connect the landmark with
those garish suspenders of your Nanu Nanu
days. Christening the entrance to Marin after
you seems like the least we can do to honor
your memory in this county.
Your death can’t help but recall a story
you told as Parry, one of your most powerful, and perhaps most underappreciated,
roles. Only those closest to you know if
perhaps you were speaking of more than the
legend of the Fisher King when you recited
these words: “… the boy was blinded by
greater visions of a life filled with power and
glory and beauty. And in this state of radical amazement he felt for a brief moment
not like a boy, but invincible, like God, so
he reached into the fire to take the grail,
and the grail vanished, leaving him with
his hand in the fire to be terribly wounded.
Now as the boy grew older, his wound grew
deeper. Until one day, life for him lost its
reason. He had no faith in any man, not even
himself. He couldn’t love or feel loved. He
was sick with experience. He began to die …”
We loved what we knew of you. And we
cherished what we learned about you as a
neighbor, as a fellow resident of this county
you called home.
How we wish that would have been enough.
Rest in peace, Robin.
The residents of Marin
Your first real
exposure to drama
came at College of
Clock wise from top left: Williams at an
event in Sonoma; Mork & Mindy and the
famous rainbow suspenders; comedy
fest at the Depot in Mill Valley; at a
2005 social event.