Robin Williams Did 'Stand-Up Over the Phone' to Lift Steven Spielberg During 'Schindler's List'

The director said the phone calls were the highlight of his week

Steven Spielberg had a famous friend to lean on during the making of Schindler’s List.

During a 25th anniversary celebration of the Oscar-winning film at the Tribeca Film Festival, Spielberg said he relied on weekly phone calls from Robin Williams to keep his spirits up.

“Robin knew what I was going through, and once a week, Robin would call me on schedule and he would do 15 minutes of stand-up on the phone,” Spielberg said on Thursday, according to IndieWire. “I would laugh hysterically because I had to release so much.”

Spielberg and the late actor had worked together a few years prior on the 1991 film Hook.

Schindler’s List told the story of a German businessman who helped save the lives of thousands of Polish-Jewish people during the Holocaust.

American Museum of the Moving Image Honors Robin Williams
Ron Galella/WireImage

The director said the phone calls were the highlight of his week during the making of the classic.

“The way Robin is on the telephone, he’d always hang up on the loudest, best laugh you’d give him,” he said. “He’d never say goodbye, just hang up on the biggest laugh.”

The film went on to win an Oscar for Best Picture and a directing award for Spielberg at the 1994 ceremony.

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And while he was certainly happy to win, Spielberg said he didn’t have the typical celebration one might have after winning an Academy Award.

“That night wasn’t really a celebration at all,” Spielberg said. “I don’t feel this movie is a celebration. The subject matter and the impact the film had on all of us … took sort of the celebration out of that.”

Williams passed away at the age of 63 in 2014 after suffering from Lewy Body Disease, a type of dementia that effected his thinking, memory and movement control.

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