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Remembering Robin Williams through his unforgettable characters

He inspired our generation as the beloved, wise and profound professor John Keating – “or if you’re slightly more daring, O Captain My Captain” - in the iconic film “Dead Poets Society” released in 1989.

Robin Williams as English teacher John Keating in the 1989 film "Dead Poets Society".

“Carpe Diem” became a byword in the 90’s as Keating encouraged his young, impressionable students in the film to not just enjoy poetry but to seize the day and to make their lives extraordinary.

Award-winning actor Robin Williams, who played the role of the unorthodox poetry professor, had left many lasting impressions in the film, including poignant storylines and quotes that many of his young audience devoured with passion.

“Dead Poets Society” was only one of many films that Robin Williams breathed life on in order to touch the lives of the millions of people that believed in him as an actor, an entertainer and more significantly, a messenger of laughter, inspiration, wisdom and joy.

For those of us who did not get to know the actor as a person, we only have his many characters to reach out and relate to, share guffaws and happy tears with, create inspiring moments and discover “emotional awakenings” with.

He was our John Keating, our Mork, our Peter Pan, our Dr. Malcolm Sayer, our Genie, our Dr. Sean Maguire, our Mrs. Doubtfire and many more.

Sadly, Robin Williams will not be able to add any more characters to what he had already gifted us with. The actor passed away yesterday afternoon according to news reports, as confirmed by his family and publicist.

To honor Robin Williams’ brilliance and his unwavering passion to give his audience joy and laughter through his craft as an actor, let us look back at his many unforgettable characters - the fictional names and traits that we have become so familiar with, having grown up in the generation where Williams seemed to have flourished the most.

– Robin Williams as Mork in the TV series “Mork and Mindy" (1978-1982)

“No matter what anybody tells you, words and ideas can change the world.”
– Robin Williams as John Keating the film “Dead Poets Society (1989)

“ .. the human spirit is more powerful than any drug - and THAT is what needs to be nourished: with work, play, friendship, family. THESE are the things that matter. This is what we'd forgotten - the simplest things.”

– Robin Williams as Dr. Malcolm Sayer in the film “Awakenings” (1990)

“Well, He broke the mold when He made me. He made me very special.”
– Robin Williams as Mrs. Doubtfire in the film “Mrs. Doubtfire” (1993)

“They saw in my eyes that I meant it.”
– Robin Williams as Dr. Sean Maguire in the film “Good Will Hunting” (1997)

For most of us who grew up with Robin Williams, he was more than an actor. He was a mentor in many ways - the funny guy who made tremendous sense.

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