I hate to see the artists I love the most succumb to a life I thought was happy. Yeah, I know no one can be happy all the time, and Robin Williams certainly wasn’t. They say comedians do what they in order to hide a tremendous amount of pain. They are more tragic than comic. I’m glad I never saw that side of Williams, at least I haven’t seen all of the interviews where he openly discussed his struggles with substance abuse. It took the death of a friend and another comedian, John Belushi, and the birth of his first child to make Williams turn his life around. He did, he relapsed, he did again, and then this past Monday happened.
From what I’ve read, not only did Williams struggle with severe depression as of late, he was also trying to get his professional career in shape. He sold a house, and he took a starring role in the CBS sitcom The Crazy Ones, which was canceled after one season. The fact was, his professional career wasn’t necessarily in a downturn. He completed two films before his passing; The third installment in the Night at the Museum series, and a voice role in an upcoming holiday film, Merry Friggin’ Christmas. Needless to say, it’s been a while since the actor had had a string of box office hits.
To me, I’ve lost big part of my childhood. From my love of Mork & Mindy, to my obsession with his box office flop Popeye, and my endless quoting of Mrs. Doubtfire. This is just a sampling of an epic career with so much diversity. I was talking with my parents today, and I was shocked at how many of Williams’ movies they have never seen. Among them, Dead Poets Society, The Fisher King, Patch Adams (I haven’t seen it!), Good Morning Vietnam, but they had seen some of his darker films like One Hour Photo and Insomnia. Although he seemed manic in most of his public/TV talk show appearances, the man was improvisational genius. He was always tuned into the pop culture of the time. It only took one syllable, and he was off and running.
And that’s just one appearance.
I’m sad, but I’m so lucky I got to experience the comedy and the tragedy of a mastermind.
Farewell My Captain!