The Touching Story Behind Robin Williams’ Close Friendship With Christopher Reeve

The true heart-warming story of the lifelong Hollywood bond between Robin Williams and Christopher Reeve has come back into the spotlight in the wake of Williams’ death, highlighting what a truly generous soul he was.

According to PEOPLE, the two met while attending college at Julliard as drama students and roommates in the ’70s. Their close friendship, described by the Reeve family as a “simple, steadfast” bond, only grew tighter over the years. Before they were famous, they made a pact of whoever found fame first, they would take care of the one struggling to make it.

Each rose to fame in their own right – with Reeve most notably portraying Superman and Williams getting his big break as Mork on Mork & Mindy – and they remained friends throughout their careers.

Then when tragedy struck Reeve in 1995 when a horse back riding accident left him paralyzed from the neck down, Williams came to Reeve’s side.

In Reeve’s book Still Me, he recalled how Williams picked him up when he was at his lowest, via Huffington Post.

Then, at an especially bleak moment, the door flew open and in hurried a squat fellow with a blue scrub hat and a yellow surgical gown and glasses, speaking in a Russian accent. He announced that he was my proctologist, and that he had to examine me immediately…it was Robin Williams…for the first time since the accident, I laughed. My old friend had helped me know that somehow I was going to be okay.

During his recovery, Williams stayed by Reeve’s side and even vowed to help his family cover any medical expenses they couldn’t afford. He became very active in the Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation, which is dedicated to curing spinal cord injury, and provided “unending support without fanfare or question,” according to the foundation’s website.

Following news of Williams’ death, the Reeve family released a touching tribute honoring the actor and his lifelong friendship with Reeve.

“The Reeve family, like many, will remember Robin for the humor, energy and brightness he brought into our lives through the screen. We will cherish him, though, for the quiet and unwavering support he showed our family through the hardest times. The world knew Robin as a comedic titan, but to our family, he was simply one of our Dad’s dearest friends. From the moment they were classmates at Juilliard, their friendship transformed into a brotherhood that was built on a mutual admiration for the theater, the arts and, most importantly, laughter.”

Read their entire statement on PEOPLE.com.

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