Charlotte actress remembers Robin Williams on set of ‘Patch Adams'

by: Jenna Deery Updated:


CHARLOTTE, N.C. - The world continues to mourn comedic actor Robin Williams, and that includes actors in Charlotte who worked with him on one of his most memorable films, Patch Adams.
Bonnie Johnson remembers driving from Charlotte to Chapel Hill with four other women to audition. That audition would lead to an opportunity that she calls "an honor."
Johnson showed Eyewitness News reporter Jenna Deery photo albums that had pictures, newspaper clippings and other memorabilia documenting her long resume of roles in major films. But it was a small role in the movie Patch Adams, shot at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill in 1998 that gives her the greatest laughs and a big smile.

Movie Clip: Patch Adams
She attributed the happy memories to her co-star Williams. Johnson played the role of the secretary of Dean Walcott played by Bob Gunton in the scene where Williams' character Patch Adams was being expelled from medical school.
"You can't just come in and take your own files," she told Adams.
"He came in one time without his shirt on or he would just come in and do crazy stuff and they just kept shooting," she said.
Williams was defined by his comedic genius that Johnson knew all too well during her time working with him the summer of 1998.
"When I was leaving, he grabbed me and kissed me right on the mouth. Nobody's ever done that, not even a big star like Robin Williams," said Johnson.
However, it was when the cameras were off that she felt she saw the real him. She remembered how he was when he interacted with the UNC students during filming.
"He would go up to the yellow tape and talk to them but he didn't want the cameras around like, 'Oh. Here I am. I'm a good guy talking to the students.' He was just so humble about that," she said.
Investigators have now revealed a dark side of the actor that many people didn't know about, involving his battle with severe depression. It ultimately dimmed a light, Johnson thought, was too bright to put out.
"I was so sad because he's such a gifted person, such a gifted actor. We just don't know what people are going through," Johnson said.

Williams tried to cut his wrist and hanged himself with a belt in a bedroom of his San Francisco Bay Area home, officials said Tuesday.
Williams' personal assistant came to the Tiburon home and became concerned when Williams failed to respond to knocks at a door. The assistant found the 63-year-old actor clothed and dead in a bedroom.