Local actor/comedian Mark Critch says he was "absolutely shocked" by the death of Robin Williams on Monday.

The larger-than-life actor reportedly committed suicide at his California home after a long battle with additions and severe depression.

Critch says Williams had an influence on his career ever since he was a boy.

"For me, Live at the Met and the Throbbing Python of Love, these cassettes, these brilliant improv stand-up shows were just like a trigger, like a calling. There's-other-people-out-there kind of a thing," he said.

Critch interviewed Williams twice on CBC's This Hour Has 22 Minutes.

"I was very nervous. He's an icon, he's a mountain of a talent. And approaching him, he was immediately turned on. He was immediately funny. And he knew so much about Canada. He was making Chretien jokes and Harper jokes and all this," he said.

Critch recalls Williams spending a lot of time afterward signing autographs and speaking with young fans.    

"He seemed like a very sensitive kind of guy, a very caring kind of a guy. [He] went to Juilliard. Brilliant actor, brilliant stand-up comedian, brilliant improv person, and for that you had to have a sensitivity, feel the room, to trust yourself, be very naked," he said