I’ve never been affected by the death of a celebrity. I don’t know any celebrities, and while many have met very tragic ends, and I feel empathy for their loved ones, my world has continued on relatively unchanged after the loss.
When I heard the world lost Robin Williams, I believe I shared the same response as so many others: shock, sadness, and disbelief. This person that I never knew has brought me and so many others a tremendous amount of joy over the years. It is truly a remarkable gift to be able to lift someone’s spirit, and he was able to touch so many lives with his gift. When I’ve had a busy week or I’m going through something particularly rough, it’s the escape of his wit and humor that has pulled me through. Mrs. Doubtfire, Aladdin, and Patch Adams were staples of my youth, often quoted in my everyday conversations, and always producing smiles when found on TV. I think I have Jumanji and Hook forever memorized. I watched Awakenings and Dead Poets Society in my high school psychology and drama classes, respectively, and saw a different side to his talent. Later, I fell in love with What Dreams May Come and one of my all-time favorite movies, Good Will Hunting. I listened to his stand-up on the long drives home from Tallahassee to Orlando, laughing out loud by myself in the car. There was no one else like him, and I don’t believe there ever will be. I’m saddened that a man who brought laughter to millions left us because of his despair.
Below is a clip from one of my favorite episodes of Inside the Actors Studio. I distinctly remember watching this years ago on a flight home from New York, and later reading that the interview went so long because of his antics, only a fraction of it was shown in the episode’s final cut. When I read that, I felt jealous of those film students, and of James Lipton, that they got to sit through the whole, unedited display. It was the most inventive and entertaining thing I’d ever seen, and I remember being awestruck by the talent of Robin Williams.