Robin Williams left behind three children when he died by suicide seven years ago. They are now grown and leading successful careers. His son, Zachary Pym Williams, has often spoken publicly about his dad’s health struggles and went into business to help others with depression and anxiety. Zelda Williams is a director, and Cody Alan Williams was married on his late father’s birthday.
Robin Williams spoke about watching his kids grow up in a Reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything) September 25, 2013. He was asked what gives him a sense of wonder and what his favorite book was as a child. He responded:
“My children give me a great sense of wonder. Just to see them develop into these extraordinary human beings. And a favorite book as a child? Growing up, it was The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe — I would read the whole C.S. Lewis series out loud to my kids. I was once reading to Zelda, and she said ‘don’t do any voices. Just read it as yourself.’ So I did, I just read it straight, and she said ‘that’s better.'”
ABC’s Superstar: Robin Williams is taking a look at his life, career and personal struggles in its new episode tonight. The one-hour specials airs at 10 p.m. Eastern time Wednesday, October 20, 2021, and it will be available for streaming on Hulu the next day.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Zak Williams Opened Up About His Father’s Health Problems in a Recent Interview
Zachary Pym Williams spoke to podcast host Max Lugavere on “The Genius Life” July 21, 2021, sharing about his father’s struggles with illness leading up to his death and his own mental health struggles. He is the oldest child of Robin Williams and the son of Valerie Velardi, the comedian’s first wife. The date of the podcast corresponded with Robin Williams’ birthday, when he would have turned 70. Robin Williams died in 2014.
Robin Williams had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease dementia, or PDD, but an autopsy revealed that he actually had Lewy Body dementia. Zak Williams said the disease took away his dad’s “lightning-quick recall,” which was essential to his comedy. Zak Williams said the misdiagnosis and the symptoms took a toll on his father.
“It was a period for him of intense searching and frustration. It’s just devastating,” he said on the podcast.
Williams opened up about his own struggles with mental health after his father’s death, and addressed the effect of mental health issues on men in particular.
“I think many [men] feel isolated; many don’t have the outlets needed,” he said.
2. Zelda Williams Is a Director & Actor Known for ‘Kappa Kappa Die’ & Appeared on ‘Jane the Virgin’ & ‘Criminal Minds’
Zelda Williams is an actor and director with a blossoming career. In 2019, she was hired to direct her first feature film, “AMA (Ask Me Anything)” “a 2018 Blacklist script by John Wikstrom that weaves dark celebrity secrets and the dangers of the digital age together into a cat-and-mouse thriller,” according to Deadline. Williams, 32, is the daughter of Robin Williams and his second wife, Marsha Williams.
Williams also directed “Kappa Kappa Die,” a comedic horror about a sorority death. She also appeared in an episode of “Criminal Minds” and played Leona in “Jane the Virgin,” according to IMDB.
Williams recently made headlines when she wrote on Twitter asking people to stop spamming her a video from Jamie Costa impersonating Robin Williams in a clip called “ROBIN Test Footage Scene.” She said she has seen it and said that Costa is talented, but that it was bad timing for her to be flooded with the clip.
“Guys, I’m only saying this because I don’t think it’ll stop until I acknowledge it… please, stop sending me the ‘test footage’. I’ve seen it. Jamie is SUPER talented, this isn’t against him, but y’all spamming me an impression of my late Dad on one of his saddest days is weird,” she wrote.
3. Cody Williams Married Maria Flores on His Dad’s Birthday in 2019
Robin Williams’ youngest son, Cody Alan Williams, 29, was married to Maria Flores on July 21, 2019, the day that would have been his father’s 68th birthday, according to E! Online. The news outlet said the couple held a small ceremony with friends and family.
Cody Williams’ sister, Zelda Williams, wrote in an Instagram post that she already considered Maria Flores to be a part of the family, and that she is “a light” in all of their lives. E! Online wrote about the post in their article, but her profile is now private. The post said:
The 21st of July has meant many things to me over the years. It’s the birthday of one of my favorite souls still on this earth, @junotemple. It’s the day Neil Armstrong stepped on the moon (as a space nerd, that’s pretty d*** important). And it was the day my Dad was born, and the last day I got to see him. That last one had begun to usurp the joy of the first two in recent years… that is, until two days ago, when it became something new. On the 21st of July, 2019, it became the day I officially gained a new sister!
4. Zak Williams & His Wife, Olivia June, Started a Company Called PYM Which Sells ‘Mood Chews’
Zachary Pym Williams founded PYM, a company selling amino acid “mood chews,” alongside his wife, Olivia June. The chews “are made with amino acids and adaptogens that target the body’s hormone levels to manage stress and anxiety,” the website says. The company got its name from Williams’ middle name. He turned it into an acronym for the brand, “Prepare Your Mind.”
Williams wrote on his website that he self-medicated with alcohol and cannabis to deal with anxiety after his father’s death. After he got sober, he said he needed something to feel like his “best self.”
My brain still needed something to bring itself back to center. Through a lot of research, I discovered there are a wealth of botanical adaptogens and amino acid complexes that help recalibrate our body and brain so it can heal itself. I asked myself why nobody knew of these compounds and why they were so hard to find. I finally found something that actually made me feel OK, made me feel normal, and helped me not just get through the day but actually thrive.
June identifies herself as PYM’s co-founder on her LinkedIn page. She is also the founder and CEO of VINA, a tech company that “celebrates and empowers women,” her page says.
5. Robin Williams’ Grandchildren Are Learning About Him Through His Role as Aladdin’s ‘Genie’
Robin Williams has two grandchildren, who are both the children of Zak Williams and Oliva June. Their first child, McLaurin Clement, was named after his late grandfather, whose middle name was McLaurin. The boy is now 2 years old. He was born May 22, 2019, according to People.
“His mom [Olivia June] and I have certainly considered how we want to introduce my son’s grandfather, my dad, into his life,” Zak Williams told People. “Certainly through his movies and the cartoons that he participated in is a great way. My son, Mickey, points at a cel that we have in his room of my dad that has the genie from Aladdin.”
Cels are transparent celluloid sheets used in cartoon production. The couple has a collection of cels from Robin Williams’ films, Zak told People.
The couple was married in October 2020. In June 2021, they welcomed a daughter into their family, Zola June. Zak Williams shared photos of the baby girl on Instagram in a post announcing her birth. He said she was “one laid back little girl.”