The Academy Award winning-comedian filmed Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb, Boulevard, Absolutely Anything, and A Merry Friggin’ Christmas. Co-starring Joel McHale, Wendi McLendon-Covey, Lauren Graham, and Oliver Platt, A Merry Friggin’ Christmas holiday flick features Williams as a patriarch of a quirky family that reunites during the Christmas celebration.
“When we were on set, he was playing a kind of quiet, grumpy character,” McLendon-Covey, who plays Williams’ stubborn daughter (who repeatedly defends her “idiot husband” to dad Williams), says. “So between takes, if he said something and you laughed, he would light up like a Christmas tree and then keep going and keep going and keep going. It was like incense to him. If you would laugh at just the smallest thing he did, he just got giddy about it. It was so sweet.”
The film—which is still scheduled for release on Nov. 7 by distributor Phase 4—has “been finished for awhile,” the Goldbergs actress says. News of Williams’ suicide, she adds, was “shocking” for the entire cast.
But Williams wasn’t the only comedic genius troubled by addiction, The Groundlings comedy troupe alum says—and won’t be the last. “It’s horrible, and yet I know so many funny people who wrestle with the same feelings,” she says.
Like others in Hollywood who count themselves among Williams’ many fans, McLendon-Covey will miss her co-star. “We’re all just gutted over it.”