Actor/comedian Robin Williams died Monday morning at his home in Tiburon, CA from an apparent suicide. The outpouring of grief from his family and friends, both in the biz of showbiz and out, has been huge. For the rest of his admirers, we reeled in shock that someone so incredibly talented in so many, many ways could be taken so young. What a loss! This man gave us so much for so long that some would call him iconic.
But the word iconic has become ubiquitous…it’s used entirely too easily and often, and would not meet the level of talent that this one man had and shared with the world. So, I’d rather call him a salesman, for that’s what he worked for - to sell the world his message in each instance, from his beginnings in Mork & Mindy to the heavy dramas he was finally led to, and all of the laughs in between.
My favorite Robin Williams movie was ‘Good Morning, Vietnam!’ in which he played a deejay airing songs to the troops each morning to lift their spirits. My second-fave was ‘Popeye.’ Williams won an Oscar for ‘Good Will Hunting.’
Time Magazine’s Belinda Luscombe called the phenomenal Williams a ‘chaotic, comedy geyser.’ I think Robin Williams earned and deserved the title, legendary man.
From AP reports come the following comments:
"This morning, I lost my husband and my best friend, while the world lost one of its most beloved artists and beautiful human beings. I am utterly heartbroken," said Williams' wife, Susan Schneider.
"Robin Williams was an airman, a doctor, a genie, a nanny, a president, a professor, a bangarang Peter Pan, and everything in between. But he was one of a kind. He arrived in our lives as an alien - but he ended up touching every element of the human spirit," President Barack Obama said in a statement.
He was accepted into the Juilliard Academy after high school, said the AP, where he had several classes in which he and Christopher Reeve were the only students and John Houseman was the teacher. Encouraged by Houseman to pursue comedy, Williams identified with the wildest and angriest of performers.
Their acts were not warm and lovable. They were just being themselves.
In his own words in the AP report, he explained why comedy was such a large part of him: "You look at the world and see how scary it can be sometimes and still try to deal with the fear," he said in 1989. "Comedy can deal with the fear and still not paralyze you or tell you that it's going away."
So long, Robin Williams, and thanks for making us laugh, cry, hoot, gasp and re-think spinach. Your insight and depth, your comedic excellence, your sincere understanding of human nature will be missed and likely never matched.