It was an open secret among Japanese film distribution companies that Robin Williams, who died at his California home on Monday in an apparent suicide, was a "yobitai sutaa" ("a want-to-invite star").

Unlike other Hollywood celebrities, Williams was famed for two things: He never complained, and he was always appreciative. Add to this a deep and sincere love for Nintendo (Williams even named his daughter after Princess Zelda from Nintendo's "The Legend of Zelda") and what the distributors had was a Hollywood guest from heaven.

"Honestly, he was the nicest guy, ever," says Atsushi Hirayama, who looked after Williams when he came to Tokyo on a promotion tour for "Bicentennial Man" in 2000.