How Robin Williams helped Christopher Reeve cheer up after accident

Even in trying times, Robin Williams’ friends could always count on him to crack a joke. After Christopher Reeve fell off a horse in May 1995 and was left quadriplegic, one of the first people who visited him in the hospital during his recovery was none other than his pal Williams.

“Robin felt partially responsible for not having done enough to save his friend [John] Belushi, so when he entered the hospital room for Christopher Reeve, he dressed up as a German doctor. He had a thick accent,” National Enquirer columnist Rob Shuter recalls in a sneak peek of Robin Williams: When the Laughter Stops.

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Robin Williams with Christopher Reeve
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Robin Williams with Christopher Reeve
Robin Williams and Christopher Reeve Attending a Broadway Show in New York City. March 1982 �� Walter McBride / Retna Ltd. (Photo by Walter McBride/Corbis via Getty Images)
Christopher Reeve and Robin Williams during Circle Repertory Theater Benefit at Green Street Cafe in New York City, New York, United States. (Photo by Ron Galella/Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images)
Christopher Reeve and Robin Williams (Photo by Ron Galella/Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, UNITED STATES: Actor Christopher Reeve (L), wife Dana (R) and comedian-actor Robin Williams (C) pose while at the Governor's Ball after the 68th Annual Academy Awards 25 March in Los Angeles. Reeve made his first appearance before the Hollywood community after an equestrian accident left him paralyzed a year ago. AFP PHOTO Vince BUCCI (Photo credit should read Vince Bucci/AFP/Getty Images)
Christopher Reeve and Robin Williams during Celebrity Sports Invitational Awards Dinner And Auction To Benefit The American Paralysis Foundation at Westin Rio Mar Beach Resort in San Juan, Puerto Rico. (Photo by Ron Galella/Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, UNITED STATES - FEBRUARY 25: (L-R) Actress Dana Reeve, husband actor Christoper Reeve, producer Marsha Garces Williams and husband actor Robin Williams at production of play Not About Nightingales at Circle In the Square. (Photo by Marion Cu
Robin Williams attends a benefit gala in New York for the American Paralysis Association (APA). The APA became the Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation when Reeve, a close friend of Williams, became chairman in 1999. (Photo by mark peterson/Corbis via Getty Images)
Will Reeve, Dana Reeve, Christopher Reeve and Robin Williams (Photo by Gregory Pace/FilmMagic)
Ron Meyer, Paula Zahn, Kim Cattrall, Barbara Walters, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Michael Douglas, Al Roker and wife, Robin Williams, Christopher Reeve and Daryl Mitchell (Photo by Ron Galella/Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images)
Christoper Reeve (front row, C) is surrounded by comedian Robin Williams (front row, L) actor Daryl Mitchell (front row, R), actress Kim Cattrall (back row, L), Barbara Walters (back row, 2nd L), actress Catherine Zeta-Jones (back row, 2nd R) and her husband actor Michael Douglas (back row, R) at the 12th Annual "A Magical Birthday Bash" in New York 25 September 2002. Reeve, Zeta-Jones, Douglas and Walters all celebrate their birthdays. The event was a benefit for the Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation. Reeve is celebrating his 50th birthday. AFP PHOTO Doug KANTER (Photo credit should read DOUG KANTER/AFP/Getty Images)
NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 25: Actor Christopher Reeve (5th from L) poses with (L-R) Paula Zahn, Ron Meyer, Robin Williams, Kim Cattrall, Barbara Walters, Daryl Mitchell, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Michael Douglas, Deborah Roberts and Al Roker during the "Magical Birthday Bash" celebrating the birthdays of Christopher Reeve, Michael Douglas, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Barbara Walters and Ron Meyer at the Marriott Marquis on September 25, 2002 in New York City. (Photo by Matthew Peyton/Getty Images)
Christopher Reeve, Robin Williams during Tribeca Film Festival screening of "House of D" at Tribeca Performing Arts Center in New York, New York, United States. (Photo by Sylvain Gaboury/FilmMagic)
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“He insisted that Christopher Reeve turn over and have an exam, a proctology exam,” Shuter says. “Reeve was really, really surprised. He couldn’t figure it out. Then, he finally realized this was his mate, this was Robin Williams. The two of them had a great laugh, maybe the first laugh since the accident occurred.”

Although Reeves was left paralyzed from the neck down and unable to breathe without a portable ventilator after the accident, he pressed on, lobbying for stem cell research and founding the Christopher Reeve Foundation, among other notable accomplishments. He died at the age of 52 in October 2004.

Williams, for his part, died at age 63 in August 2014 in a suicide by hanging after being diagnosed with Lewy body dementia. The upcoming REELZ documentary chronicles how the actor-comedian, with his raucous energy and spitfire style of telling jokes, battled alcoholism and drug abuse throughout his adult life.

Robin Williams: When the Laughter Stops premieres on REELZ Sunday, August 11, at 9 p.m. ET.

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Christopher Reeve iconic images
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Christopher Reeve iconic images
24-year-old American actor Christopher Reeve plays the comic-book hero as he mends a broken railway track in a scene from the film 'Superman'. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)
American film actor Christopher Reeve, in his role as comic-book hero Superman. (Photo by Central Press/Getty Images)
Christopher Reeve posing for shot; circa 1970; New York. (Photo by Art Zelin/Getty Images)
24-year-old American actor Christopher Reeve plays the hero's mild-mannered alter ego Clark Kent, in the film 'Superman'. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - CIRCA 1978: The Actor Christopher Reeve Dressed As Superman To Promote His First Film On The Comic Book Superhero, In New York In 1978. (Photo by Keystone-France/Gamma-Keystone via Getty Images)
American actor Christoper Reeve (1952 - 2004), best known for his role as Superman, 1st December 1978. (Photo by Jones/Evening Standard/Getty Images)
Headshot of actor Christopher Reeve as Superman in a scene from the film, 'Superman,' 1978. (Photo by Warner Bros. Pictures/Getty Images)
Christopher Reeve during 'Private Benjamin' New York City Premiere at Ziegfield Theater in New York City, New York, United States. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage)
Margot Kidder watches as Christopher Reeve pours her a glass of champagne in a scene from the film 'Superman II', 1980. (Photo by Warner Brothers/Getty Images)
1980: American actor Christopher Reeve in a Universal Pictures promotional photograph for the film 'Somewhere In Time' (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)
Gae Exton and Christopher Reeve during Photo Exhibit by John Denver at Hammer Galleries in New York City, New York, United States. (Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)
Christopher Reeve as Clark Kent in scene from the film 'Superman III', 1983. (Photo by Warner Brothers/Getty Images)
Christopher Reeve as Superman using his super human powers in scene from the film 'Superman III', 1983. (Photo by Warner Brothers/Getty Images)
Gae Exton and Christopher Reeve during Christopher Reeve and Gae Exton Sighting at Spago's - July 21, 1984 at Spago's in Hollywood, California, United States. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage)
American actor Christopher Reeve (1952 - 2004), best known for his role as comicbook hero Superman, 1986. (Photo by Larry Ellis/Larry Ellis Collection/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
American actor Christopher Reeve (1952 - 2004), best known for his role as comicbook hero Superman, 1986. (Photo by Larry Ellis Collection/Getty Images)
CIRCA 1987: Actors Gene Hackman and Christopher Reeve in a scene from the Warner Bros. movie 'Superman IV: The Quest for Peace' circa 1987. (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
Portrait of Christopher ReevePhoto: Frank Micelotta/Getty Images*** SPECIAL RATES APPLY ***
Christopher Reeve and Dana Reeve at the Neil Simon Theater in New York City, NY (Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)
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