A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

The ‘real’ Robin Williams is alive and well and living in Covington and, yes, making people smile everyday

By Andy Furman
NKyTribune reporter

Don’t look now – but they’re all over the place.

And there’s more to come.

We’re talking about the paparazzi – they’re swarming Northern Kentucky – and that’s not because the movie Wise Guys starring Robert DeNiro – is being partially shot in Covington.

Hollywood may have its eye on Northern Kentucky – but Northern Kentucky has its own stars living here.

The real Robin Williams, of course.

Tom Brady – not the quarterback – but the real one – he was born first – is the Associate Athletic Director at Thomas More University.

And Robin Williams is alive and well in Covington.

“I couldn’t figure if he had my name or I have his,” Robin Williams told the Northern Kentucky Tribune. “He was a little older than me, so I guess I got his name.”

The 69-year-old Williams – she looks more like 40 – is a Holmes High School graduate (’72) and says she’s been working since she was 15.

“I worked for the Housing Authority back in the ‘90s,” she said, “I was Marketing Manager of the Fitness Center.”

She spent five years in Springfield, Mass., with the man who eventually became her husband, “I worked for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts with their Food Stamp Program,” she said, “And when I called on people and told them my name, they said,’Yeah, Right.’”

Covington was home and she returned in 2015 – with her husband – and got heavily involved in community work and service.

“I’m what is called a Daughter of Elks, in Kentucky,” she said, “And, as a member of the Covington Elks she became, what she calls, ‘A Community Activist.’”

Williams says she’s just following in her mother’s footsteps with community involvement.

She’s also on the Executive Commission of the Northern Kentucky NAACP, and she proudly says in 2019 she was given an award for Community Awareness.

“With the Elks I’m involved in their Youth Department,” she said, “we prepare kids for college, and do tutoring in the neighborhood.”

The Elks, she says, has an Oratorical for kids in the 11th and 12th grades, preparing them for college.

“Some of the winners can win as much as a $10,000 prize. They must memorize their Oratorical, and complete in no more than eight minutes.”

Robin Williams loves Northern Kentucky and loves her community.

“It’s sure a lot different from when we were kids,” she said, “No one was hating back then – that’s because no one had anything. That’s back in the ‘50s and ‘60s. We didn’t have much money then, but I believe it was happier times.”

She said they made their own toys back then.

“We made our own sleds in winter,” she said, “We’d wait for someone to get a freezer delivered to their home, and we’d use the box to slide down the Flood Wall near the projects.”

But more than anything it’s her name that attracts the attention.

“Actually, I didn’t know my name was Robin until I was in the first grade,” she said. “My family always called me Robbie, but I love my name because my family gave it to me.”

Others love it because it reminds them of the late comic.

“I remember making an appointment for a mammogram at St. Elizabeth Hospital,” she said, “And when I got there I heard people saying, ‘oooh, Robin Williams is coming in. I think they were teasing – but it got their attention.”

The female version of Robin Williams says the real Robin Williams brought joy and laughter to people.

“That’s what I do,” she said.

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One Comment

  1. Steve Ruth says:

    Maybe it’s the name, Robin and I went to high school together, she had, has so much brightness, charisma, and comedy in her personality, she could have easily been a professional comedian, she has no fear. What she has chosen to do with Gods gift is pass her wisdom, kindness and experiences along to future generations! I am blessed to call her my friend!

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