ROBIN D WILLIAMS
The year was 1978 and I was standing in a line at the super market and suddenly I noticed that Time Magazine and Newsweek both had a cover photo of Robin Williams. My name is Robin Williams and I was in a form of show business. The thought came to me, “Will this Robin Williams ever affect my career?” I was to find out a few years later.
Then Mork from Ork came onto the planet. Nanoo Nanoo and all of that!
And then he was on every magazine cover.
I was doing a show in Santa Rosa, California and noticed a long haired dude in the audience. He wasn’t there after intermission.
In San Francisco while I was doing shows for EXPLORAMA, the newspapers did a giant article on me and my show entitled FLORENCE and ITALY’S HILL TOWNS. The management of Explorama called me into the office on Sutter Street in San Francisco and handed me a letter. It was a five page letter from the attorneys for Robin Williams warning me to discontinue using my name. A few weeks later another five page letter arrived telling me the same thing. Finally it rose to three letters. So, my goal of building my name for high quality was now attracting a warning to never use my own name for publicity or anything else.
An old high school friend had become an attorney and he asked me if he could handle this situation. I said, “Sure, have at it.” So he contacted the attorneys for Robin Williams and said, “Contact this office for anything relating to Robin Williams the filmmaker and narrator of lecture films.”
They called his office and they had a jolly old time talking about their personal careers and shared information on where they had gone to law school and as it turned out, they had attended the same law schools and dated the same females. After about an hour of shared stories, the attorneys for Robin Williams asked my friend “What does Robin Williams, your client, intend to do from here out?” My friend said, “Oh he is going to continue using his own name.” Then the surprise! They hung up on him.
I never heard from them again and neither did my lawyer friend. They disappeared.
My daughter had been acting on TV and movies for many years and she suddenly was cast in a movie with Robin Williams. They sat around talking while waiting for the director to call them for their scenes and she found out that his attorneys had done the same thing to three other people who’s name was Robin Williams also. Bottom line. You cannot tell people to change their name just because you are afraid they might use your fame to attract people to their element. If I tried to join Screen Actors Guild, I would not be able to use a name of someone already using the name. But, in no other instance does this apply. They wrote three five page letters just so they could charge Robin Williams a fee. This seemed to be a bit much. But, I did see clearly that I couldn’t care less about becoming famous. It did not appeal to me in the least.
I built up my name only to be told to never to use my name. That is the story of my life. But, you don’t have enough time to hear it.
Find Robin’s films at: rwfilms.com