Boston Remembers Robin Williams

People stopped by the bench made famous in Good Will Hunting to pay respects to the great actor.

Photo by Steve Annear

Photo by Steve Annear


“You ain’t never had a friend like me.”

“It’s not your fault.”

These were just some of the notes and messages based on famous lines in Robin Williams’ films that were scrawled next to a bench in the Boston Public Garden, the same spot where the Academy Award-winning actor and comedian once sat with Matt Damon to film a scene for Good Will Hunting.

As news quickly spread of Williams’ apparent suicide death on Monday, social media sites like Twitter and Facebook filled up with quotes, images, video clips, and other remembrances paying tribute to the man whose career spanned decades, and touched millions of people ranging from adults to children.

Outside of the online grief, Bostonians made their way to the Public Garden and set up a makeshift memorial for Williams at the small wooden bench overlooking a pond.

It was on that bench that Williams sat with Damon and described to him what love and loss truly mean, and that it can’t be comprehended by reading books, or examining human nature from an outsider’s perspective.

“Real loss is only possible when you love something more than you love yourself,” Williams said in the film. That very line was written on the concrete just in front of the bench Tuesday morning.

The scene—and his role in the film as a whole—would lead to Williams snatching up an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor in 1997, forever leaving a special mark on Boston that few actors have been able to make.

“It wasn’t surprising that people set this up,” said David Renks, who did a loop through the Garden before heading to work. “It seemed kind of fitting. I thought I’d come down and take a look. I think every movie and character kind of rang true [for people]. Everything he did was something cool for me. This is a little landmark for people to come and pay their respects.”

Boston resident Richard Jones also took a detour on his way to work to remember Williams. “I just wanted to come by and see it. Robin Williams had quite a big influence on my life, and my kids,” he said. “To know that he spent some of his time here, it means a lot.”