The news of Robin Williams death struck a chord in me. When someone dies, it’s sad. But when someone takes their own life, as it looks Mr. Williams did, it is tragic.
When a famous person dies, it always seems to be old age or an overdose. But it is worse when it is a suicide. Suicides are baffling. It makes you wonder how someone could get so down psychologically that the only reprieve they can see for themselves is death. In 2006, my best friend took his own life. It was a very difficult thing for me to grasp, and to this day I still struggle with dealing with it. I never really talk about it, and writing just these few sentences about it is uncomfortable. Depression, unlike other illnesses, can hide fairly easy from the people around the person suffering from it. It leaves a trail of questions that will never be answered. Like “why?”…
I’m in one of those age groups where just about every point in my life, Robin Williams was a part of in some way. Growing up in the 80s, I would watch re-runs of “Mork & Mindy.” I was at the right age for when “Hook” “Aladdin” and “Mrs. Doubtfire” came out. When I started enjoying surrealistic art and movies, “What Dream May Come” was in the theaters. He rightfully won an Academy Award in 1997 for his role in “Goodwill Hunting.” And when I really started getting into stand-up comedy, his specials were always great. Him, George Carlin and Richard Pryor were the first stand-up specials I remember watching as a young man.
And who can deny his excellent performance in “Death To Smoochy?” That is one of my favorite films of all time.
I didn’t enjoy every movie he made. But I always admired how much he put into his projects. Especially when he was promoting them. He always seemed like he was going at 110 percent. His energy was truly amazing (and given his history with drugs, some of his specials in the late 70s were, at times, almost too fast to follow).
I really liked it when he played darker roles. He was great in Christopher Nolan’s “Insomnia.” And I stopped using camera film after “One Hour Photo” because even the remote possibility that someone as deranged as his character existing in the real world and developing my film was too much. Because he was so convincing in that role. It was great and spooky at the same time.
His last stand-up special, “Weapons of Self Destruction” is also great. I listened to it today, and he was on fire. His delivery, wit and energy had not dulled over the years.
Yes, he was a true icon to comedy. He made millions of people laugh. And the gift of making others happy, but not himself, is truly sad. He will be missed.