“I was hired by the New Yorker in 2002 to photograph Robin Williams, and after doing my research what stood out most for me was that he was a very physical comedian. I came up with this idea to photograph him swinging from a chandelier in a grand hotel room. Most publicists shoot down these kinds of wild ideas, so I didn’t tell anyone what I was up to, but rigged up a chandelier at the Waldorf Astoria hotel for him to swing from. When Robin got there and saw what was happening, he lifted up his shirt and showed me this enormous scar on his shoulder. He’d just had surgery and couldn’t so much as lift his arm. He was so disappointed! He really felt bad about not being able to do it, because he loved the idea and really wanted to help me accomplish my vision. Unlike most Hollywood stars, he was unfazed by his success and position. He talked to everyone from stylists to the crew, to the hotel staff. We ended up asking a maid at the hotel to swing from the chandelier instead, and I asked him to just sit there and read a newspaper, which I think in the end was an even funnier, more unexpected picture.” – Martin Schoeller, photographer, about doing a photoshoot with Robin Williams (picture above) for The New Yorker in 2002.
Photographers share their stories about the legendary actor on TIME Lightbox. Click the link to scroll more pictures.