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Chicago Area Woman Remembers Teaming Up With Robin Williams As “Class Clowns”

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CHICAGO (CBS) – A west suburban woman who knew Robin Williams before “The Birdcage,” “Mrs. Doubtfire,” or “Mork & Mindy” said what you saw was what you got with the late comedian.

CBS 2’s Susanna Song reports Deni Weigel Eads and Williams were in the same 7th grade class at Deerpath Junior High School in Lake Forest. She said the two of them spent a lot of time together in detention.

“He was so much fun,” she said. “I can remember waiting in lines for the lunchroom, and he would be making funny jokes about the way people were dressed, or funny things that they wore, and yet at the same time here he is with a red bowtie on.”

So much has gone by since Eads last saw Williams nearly 50 years ago, but her memories are vivid.

“We were sort of the female-male version of the class clowns. I’m Tim Weigel’s sister, so it’s in my blood. We oftentimes spent time with our desks in the hallways, because teachers would get a little bit tired of our shenanigans, and shooting rubber bands through the air,” she said. “We oftentimes would take a rubber band, and put a paperclip, and we’d just kind of shoot it at the backs of people’s necks; and then, of course the spitballs and so forth. So ‘Weigel and Williams out! Out in the hall you two!’”

Williams was born in Chicago in 1951, and spent several years in Lake Forest and Lake Bluff before his family moved to Michigan.

Eads, who now lives in Warrenville, said she remembers Williams’ unique sense of humor. She said he would make others want to step out of the box, and be different and non-conforming.

When she found out Williams died of an apparent suicide, it was devastating, because she also suffers from depression.

Police have said all signs point to suicide by asphyxiation, and Williams’ family said he’d been suffering severe depression.

“Depression is a serious issue. It is a disease, and it needs to be addressed as such. It needs to be looked at, so that we can help others to fight this struggle. I, too, fight off depression; and you have to find avenues to move yourself out of those areas. If you don’t, you don’t want to end up like Robin Williams,” she said. “I’m sure Robin, if he were sitting here today, would say ‘Absolutely. Find another avenue. Find friends. Find help. Find support.”

Eads said her family’s support has been huge. She recently took up improve comedy, and she said it’s been a great outlet.

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