Entertainment

Robin Williams, as only a friend could see him

By Jason Hanna, CNN

Updated 9:09 AM ET, Thu August 11, 2016
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Thursday marks two years since actor/comedian Robin Williams ended his life. Photographer Arthur Grace struck up a friendship with Williams while capturing him for a 1986 Newsweek cover story, and from there the pictures -- for work, for the star, for whatever -- kept coming. Grace has compiled 190 of those photos for a book, "Robin Williams: A Singular Portrait 1986-2002." Here, Grace shows Williams with the entertainer's daughter, Zelda, and Williams' then-wife, Marsha, in 1989. Arthur Grace/Contact Press Images
After Grace spent a month on the road with Williams for the 1986 Newsweek story, the comedian asked him to shoot the cover for what would be Williams' Grammy-winning album "A Night at the Met." This picture was taken during a publicity shoot for Williams' August 1986 show at New York's Metropolitan Opera House. Arthur Grace/Contact Press Images
Williams' children Zelda and Cody are in the water, but the funnyman is the one with the goggles in this 1995 photo at home in San Francisco. Grace had the access of a friend, sometimes sharing family vacations or holiday meals. He would occasionally document the family at Williams' request, even taking their pictures for Christmas cards. Arthur Grace/Contact Press Images
Williams is shown during a makeup test for what would be the box-office smash "Mrs. Doubtfire" in 1993. Arthur Grace/Contact Press Images
Williams goes over notes in his dressing room before a 2002 show at Harrah's Lake Tahoe in Nevada. About 150 of the book's 190 photos have never been published, Grace said. Arthur Grace/Contact Press Images
Williams performs at the Metropolitan Opera House in 1986. Grace, a photojournalist who has covered the White House, said he and Williams hit it off in part over Williams' interest in politics and Grace's work travels to Eastern Europe. "His intellect was incredible," Grace said. "He was well-versed in any number of subjects -- always fascinating." Arthur Grace/Contact Press Images
Williams shares a moment with his pregnant wife, Marsha, in New York in 1989. The book's publication comes two years after Williams' 2014 suicide. "This book is for his fans and those who loved and respected and admired him," Grace said. "(I want them to) see what I considered to be the real Robin Williams: Happy, pensive, joyous with his kids." Arthur Grace/Contact Press Images
Williams rehearses a dance number with Billy Crystal and Whoopi Goldberg for Comic Relief in 1990. Arthur Grace/Contact Press Images
Williams' widow, Susan, has said her late husband had suffered from the progressive disease Lewy body dementia leading up to his suicide, weeks after he turned 63. Grace said he didn't know Williams' health was declining. Arthur Grace/Contact Press Images
The entertainer visits one of his favorite toy stores, Heroes Club, in San Francisco in 1993. Arthur Grace/Contact Press Images
This photo serves as the cover for the book. Grace said he generally stopped taking photos of Williams in 2002, though their friendship remained. Arthur Grace/Contact Press Images
Williams in 1995 holds one of his lightweight bicycles outside his San Francisco garage, which held 20 more. When the entertainer had a film coming out, Grace would go to Williams' home and take pictures of routine activities like bike riding. He'd then distribute them through a photo agency for distribution to magazines in conjunction with the movie's release. Arthur Grace/Contact Press Images
Grace, with Williams. "He was, in my opinion, the funniest person on the planet," the photographer said. Arthur Grace/Contact Press Images