Stefanie Keenan/Getty
May 12, 2015 09:25 AM

Robin Williams‘ and Brittany Murphy‘s lives were unexpectedly cut short, but their legacy lives on through their work, fans and costars – including Ashley Tisdale, who credits both actors for having a major influence on her life and career.

Tisdale, 29, first met Williams while guest-starring on his CBS sitcom The Crazy Ones. In Health magazine’s June issue, the actress discusses the effect the late comedian had on her in their short time together.

“He was one of the nicest people,” she says, adding, “Whenever I was around Robin, I just wanted to hug him the entire time. He was just a humble, nice man.”

In addition to his personal character, the High School Musical star says she was blown away by Williams’ professionalism.

“He was the first one on his mark – he would be waiting for everybody else,” she says of the star.

“It was funny because at the first table read, I was so nervous because Robin Williams was sitting at the table,” Tisdale says of her favorite memory with Williams. “And he laughed out loud at one of my lines. I remember telling my friends, ‘You know you’ve had a good day when you’ve made Robin Williams laugh.’ ”

Ashley Tisdale on the cover of Health
James White

After Williams’ death in August, Tisdale took to Instagram to share her thoughts on her late co-star.

“I can’t even put into words how sad I am,” she posted. “I grew up watching his movies and was lucky enough to get to work with him. He was a genius in comedy but also the one of the most professional actors I have ever worked with. He made everyone laugh in between takes and had such a warm heart. You will be missed Robin but I know you’re in a better place.”

As for Murphy, Tisdale met the Clueless star before High School Musical when finding consistent work was still struggle. “I was doing pilots, but they weren’t getting picked up,” she explains. “You get to this point where you’ve done it for so long where you’re like, ‘Is this what I’m supposed to be doing?'”

But that all changed when she met Murphy, 32, at the Kids’ Choice Awards.

“I was just like ‘I am your biggest fan,’ ” Tisdale told Murphy. “She said, ‘Are you an actress? Okay, you gotta keep going. Whatever you do, never give up.’ ”

Murphy then made her “pinky promise” to continue following her dream, which Tisdale says “was such a boost of confidence.”

Tisdale next stars in Clipped, which premieres June 16 on TBS.

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