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Matt Damon says he owes 'everything' to Robin Williams

"I could never thank him enough," the actor said of Williams. "I look around at the life I have and how blessed I feel and so much of it started with him."

By Annie Martin
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Matt Damon says he owes 'everything' to Robin Williams
Matt Damon says he owes 'everything' to Robin Williams. (UPI/David Silpa, Jim Ruymen) | License Photo

NEW YORK, Sept. 29 (UPI) -- Matt Damon says he owes "everything" to Robin Williams.

The 43-year-old actor discussed the late star in a new interview with Katie Couric. Williams helped Damon and Ben Affleck get started in Hollywood by starring in their film Good Will Hunting (1997), and Damon credits the actor with his success.

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"Ben and I owe everything to him," he said of Williams. "He said yes to our movie and he got it made. I could never thank him enough. I look around at the life I have and how blessed I feel and so much of it started with him."

Williams died by suicide at age 63 in August after struggling for years with depression. Wife Susan Schneider later revealed the actor had been diagnosed with Parkinson's disease shortly before his death. Damon told Couric he was "shocked" by Williams' suicide, and expressed regret for not keeping in better touch with the star.

"I think [Williams' death] affected everybody in the country, actually," he suggested. "We all felt like we knew him and that he was a part of our lives... I think everyone who wasn't there with him at the end feels bad that they didn't see it coming."

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"I hope that it can start a conversation in the country about depression and just how serious it is, and what an exceptionally powerful disease that it is," he continued. "I hope I become better at checking in with my friends. I hope that we, as a country, get better at checking in with each other."

Damon has starred in such films as Saving Private Ryan, The Bourne Identity and The Departed since Good Will Hunting, and will next appear in Ridley Scott's The Martian.

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