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August 12, 2014 10:15 am
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Jews Around the World Mourn Death of Actor, Comedian Robin Williams

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Robin Williams. Photo: Twitter.

JNS.org – The Jewish community mourned the loss of actor and comedian Robin Williams, who passed away at the age of 63 at his home in northern California on Monday.

The Jewish Federations of North America posted a photo of Williams on their Facebook page along with the caption, “We mourn the loss of the great actor, comedian Robin Williams, z”l.”

Williams, who was born Episcopalian, was well-known for incorporating the use of Yiddish and Jewish humor into his comedy, and has played several Jewish characters on film, including 1999’s Jakob the Liar, where he portrayed a Jewish shopkeeper in Holocaust-era Poland, as well as in the 1986 film Seize the Day alongside Jewish-American actor Jerry Stiller, and Armand Goldman in 1996’s The Birdcage.

Jewish-American comedian and actor Billy Crystal, a close friend of Williams who appeared alongside him and Whoopi Goldberg in the Comic Relief specials from 1986 to 2006, simply tweeted “No words,” in response to William’s sudden death.

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Last February, while on set for his short-lived TV show The Crazy Ones, Williams tweeted a picture of himself wearing a kippa and saying “Too late for a career change? Rabbi Robin?”

There is also the famous scene from 1993’s Mrs. Doubtfire, where Williams, along with Jewish-American actor Harvey Fierstein, sing a rendition of Matchmaker from Fiddler on the Roof.

The Marin County Sheriff’s department said in a statement that they suspect Williams’s death was a suicide due to asphyxiation, but that a complete investigation is still needed to determine the exact cause of death. William’s publicist Mara Buxbaum said that he had been battling severe depression recently.

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