I had heard that Robin Williams had passed away while I was hanging out with some Times Union bloggers Monday night, Chuck Miller and Don Rittner and David Kalish. My first thought that maybe it was a hoax, which says a lot about the news these days. But it wasn’t until I got home that I discovered that he had apparently committed suicide.
The FIRST person I thought of was Amy Biancolli, who I’ve met, whose husband – I have a signed copy of one of his books about faith – was a very public suicide. I wondered how she would react to the news. Unsurprisingly, she dropped her phone “onto the kitchen counter and wept. Really wept.” And at that moment reading that, so did I.
A friend of mine of 20 years wrote a lengthy piece that began: “My grandfather, aunt, and father committed suicide… Clearly, we must be more connected in a true, loving, helpful, connected way; we must reach to those who are struggling.” I had had no idea; I was slack-jawed.
SamuraiFrog was “rather surprised by the depth of the emotional reaction” he was having to the news. Me too, actually. (Here’s his follow-up.) It’s damn disconcerting that the comedic mask hid such despair.
I have few words. He was a comic genius, sometimes too “on”, as Evanier mentioned, but brilliant nonetheless. Dustbury noted that “seemingly everyone in my tweet stream posted a favorite comedy or dramatic bit — and in a full hour, there were no duplicates.” Here are a bunch of tributes. Even President Obama noted his passing. Got to read a story of his kindness.
I saw him in a LOT of things. His last TV show, The Crazy Ones, I caught only about 15 minutes of.
2008 Law and Order: Special Victims Unit (TV series – episode) Not a show I tend to watch, but he did well.
2006 Night at the Museum – as Teddy Roosevelt
2006 Happy Feet (voice)
2002 One Hour Photo – good in a serious role
1998 Patch Adams – cloying, but that seemed to be what was called for. CLIP.
1998 What Dreams May Come – for the life of me, I don’t remember how this ended.
1997 Good Will Hunting – liked him in this a lot. CLIP.
1997 Deconstructing Harry – a small role.
1996 The Birdcage – actually played the more straightlaced part against Nathan Lane; liked that.
1995 Jumanji – I bought into the schtick
1994 Homicide: Life on the Street (TV Series – episode) Here’s an interesting remembrance.
1993 Mrs. Doubtfire – I totally related to this, a desperate situation required desperate measures. CLIP.
1992 Aladdin – brilliantly wacky as the genie. CLIP. Plus the Williams-Disney fight.
1991 The Fisher King – plays a person trying to find his way back quite convincingly. CLIP.
1990 Awakenings – he plays a doctor convincingly. CLIP.
1989 Dead Poets Society – I liked him as the inspirational teacher. Hear some music from the film. PLUS this CLIP.
1987 Good Morning, Vietnam – he was great as the crazy DJ; I have the soundtrack on LP, I just recalled. CLIP.
1984 Moscow on the Hudson – a tad hokey, but I enjoyed it anyway.
1982 The World According to Garp – strange film, as I recall, but I liked him.
1978-1982 Mork & Mindy (TV Series) – was there ever a better season of comedy than the first season of Mork and Mindy? Got strange later, especially Jonathan Winters as their son, but before that, quite entertaining
1980 Popeye – don’t think it worked
1978-1979 Happy Days (TV Series, as Mork) – funny stuff
Read this 2010 interview.
A very serious piece from CRACKED: Robin Williams and Why Funny People Kill Themselves