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Was Robin Williams a Christian? His Faith and Religious Beliefs, Bouts With Depression

( [email protected] ) Aug 16, 2014 02:15 PM EDT
In the days after Academy-award winning actor Robert Williams apparently died of suicide, revelations regarding the state of his faith have come to light.
Robin Williams (1951-2014)

In the days after Academy-award winning actor Robin Williams apparently died of suicide, revelations regarding the state of his faith have come to light.

The 63-year-old comedian spent his childhood with an Episcopalian father and a Christian Scientist mother. In adulthood, he had a prolific acting career that included multiple film appearances. Before his death, the actor made his return to television in CBS's The Crazy Ones.

"Having been a choirboy, and I'm not Catholic, just going back to the old days when I was into going to church and remembering, as a Protestant, which is Catholic light once again, the idea of somebody that could really advise and has something offer," said Williams in an interview regarding his role as a priest in "License to Wed".

"It was just remembering those guys that I grew up with in the Episcopal church, which is there is no purgatory, just spiritual escrow. That was beginning of that. And then the idea that he's pretty much hands on as much as you can be without being a priest." 

Williams is perhaps better known for his onstage stand-up routines, where he often poked fun at religion as a whole.

"The Episcopal church was basically a protestant church. It was Henry VIII going, 'I'm Pope Now!'" he said during one such occasion. "Then, there were other Protestants who thought he was too loose and then they formed the Puritans, our [American] ancestors -- people so uptight [that] the English kicked them out."

Despite appearances, the actor has long-struggled with cocaine addiction and alcoholism. As such, Williams has often made references to his substance abuse. "Cocaine is God's way of telling you [that] you are making too much money," he once joked.

Over the years though, Williams became openly regretful about his addiction. In a 2010 interview with the UK Guardian, the actor admitted his shame after his second marriage ended in divorce due to alcoholism. Williams had gone through a period of steady recovery, when he checked himself into rehab in 2005.

Besides addiction, he suffered from long bouts of depression after going through open-heart surgery in 2009. In an interview with the LA Times, fellow comedian and friend Rick Overton said that Williams had "started to disconnect" with social life since the condition began. Other friends said that the CBS' cancellation of The Crazy Ones dealt yet another blow to the actor.

On Monday, Aug. 11, Williams lost his battle with depression when he was found dead, hanging from a leather belt at his residency at Tiburon, CA. The following day, the police confirmed the actor's death, but also stated that a complete investigation will take weeks. At this time, the authorities are testing his body for drugs and alcohol.