The world lost one of its true comedic geniuses on Monday as Robin Williams died of an apparent suicide after reportedly dealing with severe depression. Williams was 63.
As a child of the 90s, Robin Williams holds a special place in my heart for films like “Hook,” “Mrs. Doubtfire” and “Aladdin.” He provided countless laughs even when I wasn’t able to grasp the full concepts of the joke. His energy and wide array of impressions radiated off the screen to elicit a big old laugh. Williams was one of, if not the first, actors that I truly recognized, and immediately got my attention for any project that he did.
That passion continued as I grew and I was able to expand my knowledge of not only his acting career, but also his standup. While perhaps not as iconic or as revolutionary as famous performances from Eddie Murphy or Richard Pryor, Williams’ “Live on Broadway” is my favorite stand up performance ever. If you haven’t seen it, do yourself a favor and catch it as soon as possible. His rant on golf is still one of the funniest things I have ever seen (helps that I’m a golf fan), watch it for yourself above, though be warned, NSFW.
But Williams' greatest and most lasting contributions will be his film roles. His previously mentioned comedic roles are essential for any discussion on the actor, but he was just as adept at dramatic turns. Whether he was nominated for an Oscar like in “Good Morning, Vietnam,” “The Fisher King,” or “Good Will Hunting,” which he won an Oscar for, or inspiring us like in “Dead Poets Society,” (another Oscar nominated performance) Williams had such a great screen presence. Even in films like “Patch Adams” he was a joy to watch, even if the film overall wasn’t an ultimate crowning achievement. I would be lamented not to mention some of his other great performances like “The Birdcage” or his dark turn in “Insomnia.”
The great thing about film though, is that we never completely lose the great ones. We can always revisit Williams in these great films, and I’m sure in the coming days and weeks we all may make an effort to do just that. And there is still some roles that we can discover, old and new. Personally I look forward to watching films like “The World According to Garp” and “The Fisher King” for the first time, or maybe even catching some episodes of “Mork and Mindy.”
There are also upcoming films that Williams completed coming out in the near future. He will reprise his role as Teddy Roosevelt in “Night at Museum: Secret of the Tomb,” the holiday film “Merry Friggin’ Christmas,” as well as doing voice work as a talking dog in Monty Python’s newest film “Absolutely Anything.”
Williams leaves behind his wife and three children.
While his departure is tragic and reminds us all just how serious depression can be, Williams’ legacy is what will be how he inspired us, how he made us the laugh, and that ear to ear smile. Rest in peace o captain, my captain.