Robin Williams has committed suicide, and the multitude are in mourning. We must ask ourselves, how much do we know about suicide? Have any of us paid attention? William Shakespeare gave us an interesting aspect.
"To be or not to be, that is the question, whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, or to take arms against a sea of troubles, and by opposing end them." To die: to sleep; no more; and, by a sleep to say we end the heartache and the thousand natural shocks that flesh is heir to, 'tis a consummation devoutly to be wished. For who would bear the whips and scorns of time . . . When he himself might his quietus make with a bare bodkin [dagger]?" (Shakespeare, Hamlet, act 3, sc. 1, lines 55-75).
How many of us have quoted that phrase “To be or not to be”, yet never understood it’s meaning? It is logical thought that is preceding a suicide. We can hear Hamlet’s voice in Shakespeare’s magnificent play, but could anyone hear Robin Williams? Is it possible that we have become such a regimented society that we no longer hear pain? Robin Williams committed suicide and it is likely that we will never know why. Whatever that reason may have been, nobody heard him, and we have lost a precious gem in this world. Laughter is healing, so Robin Williams healed many people around the world but there was no healing for him.
“Comedian Robin Williams, known for his rapid-fire delivery, died Monday morning in his residence in Tiburon, California, in an apparent suicide, according to the Marin County Sheriff's Office. The sheriff's Coroner Division suspects the death to be a "suicide due to asphyxia," but a comprehensive investigation must be completed before a final determination is made, according to a news release.
‘Williams, 63, was found in the home he shared with his wife shortly before noon (3 p.m. ET), the sheriff's office said. He had last been seen alive Sunday at 10 p.m., it said.”
Robin Williams had been clean and sober for twenty years. He was was a recovering alcoholic and cocaine addict. He did fall off in 2006, but he returned to rehab, and emerged with successful results. In fact, He even went back a second time as a retreat from the world he lived in, and as a renewal of his commitment to being clean and sober. He never returned to using after that. Certainly, that was something to be proud of. It is important to know this because it is so easy to label a person as another druggie who bit the dust. That did not happen to Robin Williams. Williams had struggled with depression for a long time.
“In recent years, theorists have argued that many depressed individuals depend upon others for their self-esteem, and that the loss of one of these emotional supports often precipitates a depressive reaction. A number of psychologists contend instead that depression is a result of learned helplessness, which occurs when a person determines through experience that his actions are useless in making positive changes. Other theorists have shown that genetic factors play a role in depression.”
Of course, we will never actually know what the cause was. Perhaps next time we will laugh a little louder. We will let our entertainers know that we can see them as a person as well as a personality. Twitter is filled with more compassionate tweets about Robin Williams than one can say.
Donna Brazile @donnabrazile
Prayers & condolences for the family, friends and fans of actor Robin Williams. He was a genius and made us all laugh. Now, we are in tears
Barack Obama @BarackObama
"Robin Williams was an airman, a doctor, a genie, a nanny ... and everything in between. But he was one of a kind." —President Obama
Ellen DeGeneres @TheEllenShow
I can’t believe the news about Robin Williams. He gave so much to so many people. I’m heartbroken.
Following are some of Robin Williams most memorable films. The list was compiled by Buzzfeed, 29 Great Performances By Robin Williams. It is a page worth visiting.
Mork and Mindy
A spin-off of Happy Days, Mork and Mindy was Robin Williams’ first real exposure to audiences. It remains an excellent first impression, the kind of television series that sounds silly on paper — an alien from the planet Ork arrives on Earth to observe human behavior — but works largely because Williams makes it work. His Mork is equal parts absurd and lovable, a combination Williams would bring to many of his future roles. —Louis Peitzman
Popeye is Williams’ first on-screen performance and as the iconic sailor, the actor proves he is a comedian in his very soul. Williams nails the character, from his facial expressions and his walk to his talk, which, in this role, really solidified how truly remarkable he is at playing different an array of voices, even with a pipe in his mouth. Williams also shows off his musical talents: singing, dancing, and physically fighting along the way. —Emily Orley
Good Morning Viet Nam!
Based on real events, Williams plays a freewheeling DJ who wildly bucks authority on U.S. Armed Forces Radio Service during the Vietnam War. The DJ scenes allowed Williams’ comic id its freest expression yet, and it earned him his first Oscar nomination. —A.B.V.
Good Will Hunting
As a gently honest Boston psychologist unwilling to put up with any bullshit, Maguire forces his patient Will Hunting (Matt Damon) to face his fears and offers the exact encouragement the boy needs. It’s the best example of Williams’ ability to mix raw emotion with a tough demeanor, all while continuously delivering powerful, moving pieces of advice — and it won him his first and only Oscar, for Best Supporting Actor. —E.O.
Williams’ voiceover work shows off his incredible physicality, and that’s all without actually seeing him perform. He brings so much energy and movement to the Genie just through his voice that you can easily envision him acting out the role. It’s hard to imagine another actor capturing the same balance of manic intensity and Disney heart. —L.P.
It’s hard to imagine an actor better suited to playing a grown-up version of Peter Pan than Williams. He is so convincing as the buttoned-up, too grown-up Peter Banning — who has long since forgotten that he used to be Peter Pan — that when Banning finally does accept himself as Peter Pan, it comes as a massive relief for the audience. We just want to see Williams fly. —A.B.V.
Williams holds his own against CGI animals coming from all directions. There is always so much happening in Jumanji, Williams becomes a kind of straight man, suppressing his usual antics to play a more subdued hero. And yet, of course, he still has his moments, as when he emerges back to reality after years trapped in the game. —L.P.
The Fisher King
Williams steps into this dark comedy and demonstrates his true range, swiftly transitioning through an array of emotions and holding his own next to Jeff Bridges. As an unhinged homeless man, Williams is at times fierce and frightening, and at others, he shows a painfully raw side to Parry while maintaining a straight face. But in most moments, he is a truly sympathetic (and sometimes funny) character. —E.O.
It’s a testament to Williams’ abilities that he turns what could have been an over-the-top performance into one of his greatest and most emotionally resonant roles. Yes, Mrs. Doubtfire is hilarious, and it offers Williams ample opportunity to act out. But he also completely disappears into his Mrs. Doubtfire persona, leading to some of the film’s most moving moments. —L.P.
Robin Williams played far more films than this article can hold. The cause of death was asphyxia, or suffocation if you will. However it may be, this writer is just among many who will miss him. Goodbye Mrs Doubtfire.
If you or someone you know needs help, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
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