Adrian Cronauer Recalls Robin Williams' Portrayal of Him

Tuesday, 12 Aug 2014 11:56 AM

By Melissa Clyne

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To Adrian Cronauer, the Armed Forces Radio Service disc jockey portrayed by Robin Williams in the 1987 film "Good Morning Vietnam," Williams never appeared outwardly depressed, Cronauer said Tuesday on Newsmax TV’s "America’s Forum."

"Whenever you encountered Robin, he was always on," Cronauer recalled. "You'd walk up to him and say hello and he'd start doing a routine for you. The only time my wife and I ever saw him let that down, even that little bit, was when he was playing with his own children. They are able to give him unconditional love and therefore, they were no threat to him."

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The 63-year-old acclaimed actor and comedian died Monday at his San Francisco area home of an apparent suicide.

Cronauer recalled his relationship with Williams, whom he first met at the film’s premier. (Williams was nominated for an Academy Award for his role). The director, Barry Levinson, purposely kept the men apart before then out of concern that Williams "would subconsciously do an imitation of me which would change the characterization."

They exchanged Christmas cards and Cronauer and his wife received an invitation to attend Williams’ 40th birthday party in California in 1991, he said.

"His mother, who was already in her 70s, had to leave early because she had a hot date that night," he recalled.

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Cronauer said he enjoyed the time he spent with Williams, characterizing Williams’ portrayal of him in the movie as "over the top."

"He was a little over the top, no he was a lot over the top, and anybody who's been in television, broadcasting, as well as anybody who's been in the military will tell you if I'd done half of that stuff, I'd still be in Leavenworth instead of Southwest Virginia," he joked.

"There's a lot of Hollywood exaggeration and a lot of imagination, but it was never intended to be an accurate point-by-point biography. It was intended to be a piece of entertainment, and he was nominated for an Academy Award. That's not too shabby, so it was entertaining."

He noted that Williams’ delivery of Cronauer’s signature line, a drawn out "Goooooooooooooooooood Morning, Vietnam!" was nothing like his own.

"He did not do it correctly," Cronauer said. "When I was doing it, it was more a matter of survival because you would always oversleep. You'd come tearing into the station, you don't know where your headphones are and you go, 'Good morning, Vietnam!"'

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