On August 11th, the world tragically lost a great man at the fate of his own hands. But not just any man. This was someone who brought much laughter and joy to the world around him. He was someone who allowed himself to be a real human being not only to those who knew him but also to the cameras that filmed him. The world will miss Robin Williams.
Williams’ wife, Susan Schneider also expressed what the world lost. “This morning I lost my husband and best friend, while the world lost one of its most beloved artists and beautiful human beings. I am utterly heartbroken.”
Since his death, the public has been in mourning remembering the actor who brought such greatness to their lives while the media and those who worked with him are missing a legend.
Known for his eclectic array of films, from his stand-up comedic acts performed throughout his career, to the weird and funny alien named Mork on the Mork & Mindy show, to the big screen with such hits as Mrs. Doubtfire, Patch Adams and Good Will Hunting, Williams was known as a man who brought positivity to those who worked with him and the audiences that grew up watching his films.
While there have been some in the entertainment industry who has transitioned from one genre of acting to another, Williams was someone who could take on any role with great skill and artistry. He started as a stand-up comedian, but could also be taken seriously as an actor with roles that delivered admirable performances everyone could appreciate—a rarity at best.
Throughout his success and fame, it never seemed to change his humbleness as a person but only gave those around him a greater, brighter example in a world that doesn’t always welcome such things. Even if Williams’ struggles within himself were not always so bright, he still managed to put it aside, perform in his craft, and make those around him feel appreciated.
Actor Ben Stiller, upon hearing the tragedy, took to Twitter and expressed his thoughts about Williams.
“I met him when I was 13 and a huge fan and he was so kind and I watched him be kind to every fan I ever saw him with…and with other actors he was so generous and brilliant. He made everyone feel special and equal around him even though he was a genius. His heart was so big and even if you didn’t know him….”
Williams was quirky. He was out there and he was different, but that’s what people embraced and loved about him. His stand-up routines characterized a combination of theatrical antics which involved different voices, gestures, faces, etc. He covered all sort of topics, even his struggles in addiction and depression. Through all of his trials, he loved making people laugh.
Comedian Paul F. Tompkins took to his personal blog and said these things about the late actor:
“Robin Williams made me laugh so many times. So many times. When I was a kid, having problems of my own, feeling unpleasantly different from the people who populated my world, I found sanctuary watching this guy on TV who was celebrated for being a weirdo, for being an oddball, for being silly….”
The White House also issued a statement this past week, with President Obama describing his feelings on the actor saying,
“He arrived in our lives as an alien—but he ended up toughing every element of the human spirit. He made us laugh. He made us cry. He gave his immeasurable talent freely and generously to those who needed it most—from our troops stationed abroad to the marginalized on our own streets.”
With as many actors and other walks of life that remember such a great person who loved to make people laugh, many who express themselves through this art are not always laughing inside. Canadian comedian Kevin Breel shared a personal essay on CNN’s website recently discussing William’s death and his take on those that struggle with depression, putting life in perspective:
“But I’m also heartbroken that so much of the chaotic aftermath of his passing has been focused on his fame and societal stature and not the fact that depression, addiction and suicide are issues that affect every single one of us; whether directly or indirectly. We want to ask the question of how can someone be so accomplished yet so conflicted. In a lot of ways, it’s a fair question. But I think the real question we need to all be asking is: what are we going to do from here? What conversations are we going to have? What steps are we going to take? What change are we going to make? You can be known and still feel invisible. You can be successful and still broken. You can be loved and still feel alone.”
Despite the heartbreak of this tragedy and the circumstances surrounding it, it is a reminder of how fragile a human life is, a reminder to take a look at each others’ preciousness and embrace each others’ struggles. Williams will always be remembered as someone who could make the public laugh. He was someone who could always bring a smile to a face even if one didn’t think about smiling.
Williams’ daughter Zelda Williams left on her tumbler following the death of her father, “to those he touched who are sending kind words, know that one of his favorite things in the world was to make you all laugh.”