Among his many triumphs, Robin Williams stood with striking writers

Shock at the death of Robin Williams led me to search to see what – if anything – we had written about him since 2002, the farthest back these archives go. What I found surprised me: a 2008 story about the Writers Guild of America strike, “Letterman proves union-made comedy is funnier.” (It surprised me because I wrote it and obviously had forgotten about it.)

Williams was the first guest on “The Late Show with David Letterman” after Letterman settled with the union during the contract fight. Williams puts on a working-class British accent praising Letterman, “You’re a friend of the brother worker, David, even though you’re dressed right now like Dale Carnegie…it’s a good thing what you’ve done, Dave. You’ve struck a blow … against, pretty much, insanity.”

As Letterman pulls out a photograph of Williams on the picket line, he jokes how he was out there “handing out donuts and caviar.”

Williams came on the show right after his USO tour of Iraq and Afghanistan, which he talks about at length.

Below is a 10-minute clip of that terrific show and – now unforgettable – moment in time with the brilliant Williams. 

Photo: Actor Robin Williams, left, marches in the picket line with others during the fourth day of a strike by television and film writers, Nov. 8, 2007, at the Time Warner Center in New York. Tina Fineberg/AP


Teresa Albano
Teresa Albano

Teresa Albano is associate editor of People's World and an award-winning journalist. Born and raised in Chicago, Albano is a member of the Chicago News Guild-Communications Workers of America and has been covering political, labor and social justice issues for more than 25 years. Albano was the first woman editor-in-chief of People's World, 2003-2010, leading the transition from weekly print to daily online publishing and establishing PW's social media presence.

Albano lived in New York City for 13 years and has traveled throughout the United States and abroad, including to India, Cuba, Angola, Italy and to Paris for the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference. She received awards from International Labor Communications Association, National Federation of Press Women and Illinois Woman Press Association, including its prestigious Silver Feather Award. Albano attends Northeastern Illinois University and recently received NEIU's Future Alumni Leader award. She will graduate in December 2016. 

Combining her passion for swimming and for social justice, she founded the blog, Swimming Social, during the 2016 Rio Games.