I knew he was awesome but I really didn’t know how awesome he was. I found out about Robin Williams passing when I was leaving the gym. During my drive back home I kept thinking about all the movies I had seen him in and trying to remember when I was first introduced to his performing brilliance. I got home to find my facebook newsfeed flooded with news updates and reactions.
It’s been 72 hours and neither the news updates, FB feed, or twitter feed have ceased, many of the bloggers I follow have written about him and/or depression and now here I am writing my own homage. As I write, I have Good Will Hunting playing in the background and I am reminded that: “You’ll have bad times, but it’ll always wake you up to the good stuff you weren’t paying attention to.” I wish he had been able to realize this before he took his own life. We are going to miss out on so much. Depression is a b*tch.
I was probably 3 or 4 when I saw Robin Williams in a movie for the first time. It was Popeye. I loved that movie and since then, I’ve always prefered real life actors over animations, unless of course, animation is the only way to go (like Happy Feet – click for Robin Williams singing Frank Sinatra in Spanish). I don’t remember Mindy & Mork a lot. I was too little to get it I guess. The next film I remember is Good Morning Vietnam, I was 10 when it came out. I probably didn’t understand the context of the Vietnam War just yet but I started to understand the power of mass media and my love for movies kept growing. The next year, I saw him as King of the Moon in The Adventures of the Baron Munchausen. In 1989 I saw him in the movie that would make me a Robin Williams fan forever, Dead Poet Society. If there is a fictional teacher I would ever draw inspiration from it would have to be John Keating: inspiring and motivational.
Then came the 90s and during my teens I saw Awakenings (1990), The Fisher King (1991), Hook (1991), Aladdin (1992), Toys (1992), Mrs. Doubtfire (1993), Jumanji (1995), The Birdcage (1996), Jack (1996), Flubber (1997), Good Will Hunting (1997), What Dreams May Come (1998), Patch Adams (1998), and Bicentennial Man (1999). During those pivotal years I learned about mental health, homelessness, parenting, loyalty, family, friendship, LGBT rights, science, psychology, suicide, healthcare, and got introduced to Asimov. It amazes me how much I can say I learned from Williams’ performances.
As I grew older some of Williams’ movies also turned darker and/or more serious. I enjoyed watching him play such different characters like sociopath Sy Parish in One Hour Photo (2001), and crime writer Walter Finch in Insomnia (2002), I also saw The Final Cut (2004), RV (2006), Man of the Year (2006), Happy Feet (2006) and II (2011), Night at the Museum (2006) and II (2009), License to Wed (2007), August Rush (2007), and World’s Greatest Dad (2009).
I’m sadden to admit that I hadn’t seen much of his latest work but I have seen his comedy specials and talk show interviews. I’ll be watching The Face of Love (2013) soon and I am looking forward to the third installment of Night at the Museum (2014). I will always regret never seeing him on stage.
I always knew he had tremendous talent but on the wake of his death I have read these intimate stories about him talking with soldiers, encouraging new comics, and being an awesome dad and avid video game player. He was this whole person fighting his own demons while playing all these other characters for us to enjoy. And I am so sorry that he is gone now, that I won’t get to see him in another movie, on stage, doing stand-up, in an interview. I am sorry that so many people will miss out from learning directly from him and his presence.
Death is always sad, suicide is always devastating, depression can kill. I hope that this helps people better understand depression and suicide. I hope it prevents someone from committing suicide and/or pushes someone to seek help. I’ll continue to take care of myself and work towards keeping my own demons at bay.
If you or someone you know is battling depression, don’t stay quiet and don’t keep it to yourself. Click here for a list of hotline/crisis lines. And remember,