Earlier this week Robin Williams passed away. We shouldn’t dwell on the how. Or the why. But what we should as those who remain is dwell on what Robin meant to us.
Sure the man took his own life. Sure he was suffering from depression. And sure he was suffering the onset of the debilitating Parkinson’s disease. But these aren’t the facts that I choose to remember when it comes to the entertainer that Robin was.
I was not the biggest fan of Robin Williams but I remember the first time I ever saw one of his films. I was a starry eyed six year old who was eager to see the latest animated film from Disney. Yup. It was Aladdin. Williams’ Genie was the star in my eyes. I was laughing from the moment he popped up on screen. I vaguely remember my birthday that year being Aladdin themed and there being a Genie figure on top of my birthday cake.
Williams was a once in a generation talent that not only made you laugh, but he could make you cry and question life itself in one single scene. And that is what we should be taking from the heartbreaking news that we got this week.
They say that the funniest of us are the ones who are the most at risk. That the ones who make us laugh are the ones who are tormented on the inside. There are so many examples. Andy Kauffman, Chris Farley, John Belushi. All of them turned to drugs and other escapes from their pains. Yes Robin was not flawless, he was in and out of rehab but he was trying. But his private life was none of our business. It isn’t.
The cause of death is not what matters, and that is the point I am trying to make. Robin was as I had previously mentioned a once in a lifetime talent. How many actors or actresses can you say entertained you in the same way they entertained your parents, and at the same time?
My version of Robin will always be the family friendly comedic Robin. Aladdin was sort of a gateway drug into his realm of films. Mrs. Doubtfire was tremendously funny and a role only Robin could pull off. Sure his character was a dead beat but he truly loved his kids and you see what he did to see them, how he had phenomenal chemistry with them on screen. There was also the Speilberg engine Hook in which took a new take on Peter Pan and Williams excelled with Dustin Hoffman as the titular character.
But when Robin became the serious actor, look out. The drama films he did blew my mind with his excellence. They say that the best comedians excel in drama and Williams dominated. From playing the creepy photo guy in One Hour Photo to playing the villain in Christopher Nolan’s Memento Williams hit them spot on with his enthusiastic way.
Whether or not you were a fan is not that point but I plan on binge watching the classics, Good Will Hunting, Good Morning Vietnam, Jumanji to name just a few, because as I have stated, he is a once in a generation talent that everyone will only appreciate now that he is gone.
May you rest in peace Robin.