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 in 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 followup.) 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 tweetstream 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 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