I met Robin Williams very early in his career.  He was all of maybe 27.  I was even younger, but even as a neophyte reporter, I knew he was not only unusual but maybe genius in his ability to frack ordinary life into extraordinary comedy.

GALLERY: Robin Williams Top 10 Movies

GALLERY: Remembering Robin Williams

He was Mork and ABC had offered him up for promotional interviews to its affiliate stations. From San Antonio tv, I waited my turn of 15 minutes with Williams, after dozens of other reporters from all across the country.

I was nervous.  He was full throttle.  I laughed and laughed, even as I wondered how anyone could talk and act so rapid fire and unscripted…but with full knowledge and understanding in his eyes.  Robin Williams knew how to connect, with himself and with others…total strangers.

I’ve never forgotten those few minutes of nanu-nanu in LaLa Land.

WATCH: Why The Death Of Robin Williams Is Hitting So Hard
WATCH: Robin Williams First Appearance on Johnny Carson