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Adrian Cronauer: Inspiration behind 'Good Morning, Vietnam' talks Robin Williams

Tuesday - 8/12/2014, 10:02am  ET

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Meeting Robin Williams for the first time

Adrian Cronauer discusses Williams' death and "Good Morning, Vietnam."

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WASHINGTON -- "Gooooooooood morning, Vietnam!"

The line shouted by Robin Williams in the 1987 film of the same name goes down as an iconic movie quote associated with the Academy Award winning actor.

It's a phrase with which Adrian Cronauer is familiar, too.

Cronauer -- the Armed Forces Radio Service disc jockey portrayed by Williams in "Good Morning, Vietnam" -- recalled Williams' acting abilities and personality following his death Monday.

Although Williams played Cronauer in the film, the two didn't meet until the movie's premiere.

"Barry Levinson, the director, wouldn't let me anywhere near [Williams] or even the set because he was worried if [Williams] and I met, he would start to do, subconsciously, an imitation of me, which, of course, would change the characterization," said 76-year-old Cronauer, a lawyer who lives in Troutville, Virginia.

It may have been a good move, too, because Cronauer says he is nothing like character in "Good Morning, Vietnam."

"That was all Robin Williams. All Robin Williams. I'm a much more laid back person," Cronauer admitted.

Aside from the annual swapping of Christmas cards, Cronauer says he didn't speak to Williams much following the film's release.

Still, Cronauer says Williams' acting will live on through the movie as well as his other films.

Cronauer says he plans to re-watch "Good Morning, Vietnam" this week in tribute to Williams.

"I've seen it about half a dozen times now, but even on the very last ones, people have been laughing so hard, that by the time they stop laughing and I can hear the soundtrack again, he's gone through about three or four different riffs."

Williams was pronounced dead at his San Francisco Bay Area home Monday, according to the sheriff's office in Marin County, north of San Francisco. The sheriff's office said the preliminary investigation shows the cause of death to be a suicide due to asphyxia.

Watch some of the scenes from "Good Morning, Vietnam."

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