Robin Williams would have been 70

seven years gone

Robin WilliamsRobin Williams died almost seven years ago, on August 11, 2014. I  wrote about him at the time, and I was surprised by how affected I was by his passing.

Mark Evanier wrote at length about Robin, both before and after his death. For instance, he found remembrances from Penny Marshall, who directed him in Awakenings (1990), and fellow comedian Lewis Black, among others.

In 2018, Vanity Fair excerpted New York Times culture reporter Dave Itzkoff’s then-new biography, Robin. From the article intro: “He was still harboring guilt about his divorce from Marsha Garces, his second wife, and mother of two of his children, and adjusting to life with his new wife, Susan Schneider, whom he married in 2011.

“Meanwhile, Williams was also reeling from a cataclysmic diagnosis: in May 2014, he had been told that he had Parkinson’s disease, news that stunned and overwhelmed the once-nimble comedian. Even more crushing than this is the possibility that Williams was misdiagnosed; an autopsy would later reveal that he actually had Lewy body dementia, an aggressive and incurable brain disorder that has an associated risk of suicide.”

Decline

You should read the piece, which attempts to discern why the performer kept working in less-than-stellar films. His last TV series, The Crazy Ones (2013) didn’t connect with audiences. And “starting in October 2013, Robin began to experience a series of physical ailments, varying in their severity and seemingly unconnected to one another.”

Also, in the September 27, 2016 issue of Neurology magazine, his widow Susan Schneider Williams wrote about “The terrorist inside my husband’s brain.”

But I just subscribed to Robin Williams’ YouTube channel because I need to remember the joy that he was having, something he had to share with others. And here’s a nice recollection by Dan Hernandez, a young writer on The Crazy Ones. Plus, 12 facts about the performer.

October rambling #1: Thoughts and Prayers App

Ronald McDonald Is Laying Low

trumpish-indianExplaining Progressive Christianity (Otherwise Known as “Christianity”)

He was tortured by the U.S. and held without charge. Suleiman Abdullah Salim is still haunted by the prison he calls “The Darkness”

Misogyny defied: Michelle Obama’s New Hampshire speech (start at 25:00) and Dear Men from Amy Biancolli

Time to Own the Legacies of Others

Five myths about Russia

John Oliver: Police Accountability

Racist Social Media Users Have A New Code To Avoid Censorship

Yes, Preschool Teachers Really Do Treat Black And White Children Totally Differently

Confessions of a former neo-Confederate – Who believes slavery wasn’t really that bad? I did

6 million citizens blocked from voting because of felonies

The ‘Green Book’ Was a Travel Guide Just for Black Motorists, which I wrote about here, plus a PDF of the 1949 iteration

How Evan McMullin Could Win Utah And The Presidency – It’s unlikely, but far from impossible

Robin Williams’ Widow Writes A Devastating Account Of His Final Year

The Ross Perot myth

Thoughts and Prayers App

Elena Ferrante published her books anonymously, but recently, the NY Review of Books published a piece that exposed her true identity. As friend Dan notes: “None of it was relevant; I would go so far as to say it was unnecessary.” One of many critics of the unmasking

950th anniversary of the Battle of Hastings

Bill Warren, R.I.P.

NOT a parody: Ronald McDonald Is Laying Low Until the Clown Craze Is Over

Racer disqualified for using ChapStick?

Professor and student interaction

All Of America’s Science Nobel Prizes This Year Were Won By Immigrants

PBS’ American Experience: Tesla premieres October 18

THE FANTASTIC URSULA K. LE GUIN – The literary mainstream once relegated her work to the margins. Then she transformed the mainstream.

How to memorize scripts, part 1 and part 2

Learning YouTube tricks

Now I Know: Baby, Not Bored

Audrey Munson, the first supermodel

Tank top

Why I Stopped Wanting to Make Serious Art Films and Came to Believe Movies Should Be Fun

Extra Gum ad: The Story of Sarah & Juan

Would you pull a Coke can off the head of a skunk?

Arthur, about me asking about his blogging, or somesuch

Music

Sir Neville Marriner obit and music

Sviatoslav Richter plays Handel keyboard suite in G minor, no.9

1812 Overture

Coverville 1142: 20 fantastic Sting and Police covers

No Man’s Land -Glass Hammer

Sara Rose Wheeler: Soundtrack of my life

K-Chuck Radio: More forgotten 60’s pop music

It’s Too Late To Apologize – New Republic with lyrics

Coverville 1144: 20 Simon & Garfunkel and Paul Simon solo covers for Rhymin’ Simon’s 75th

Duke Ellington – East St. Louis Toodle-Oo

Let’s Have A Party Albany (1986)

Robert Morse sings “I Believe In You”

“Fan” Star Trek Original Series Clip to “Common People” by William Shatner

The World Map of Nobel Prize in Literature, including Bob Dylan

Reggie Harris music

August Rambling: Deep dark secrets

I wrote this blog post about my ambivalence about blogging on the Times Union website.

WD40
The Hook-Up Culture Is Getting 20-Somethings Nowhere. On the other hand, Casual Love.

How we get through life every day.

Nixon’s still the one. And What We Lost 40 Years Ago When Nixon Resigned. See Harry Shearer recreate Richard Nixon as he preps and delivers his resignation speech. Plus George Will Confirms Nixon’s Vietnam Treason.

New Zealand’s non-partisan Get Out the Vote campaign. I don’t see such things often in the US. Sure, there’s get our SUPPORTERS to vote, but that’s a different animal.

Deep Dark Fears is “a series of comics exploring those intimate, personal fears that mostly stem from your imagination getting darkly carried away.” Read more about it.

Rod Serling’s closing remarks from The Obsolete Man episode of The Twilight Zone. “It remains profoundly prescient and relevant.”

All these in a 48-hour period: How games’ lazy storytelling uses rape and violence against women as wallpaper and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) has come forward with several stories of being called “chubby,” “fat,” and “porky” by her male colleagues in Congress and Fark prohibits misogyny in new addition to moderator guidelines and Snappy response to sexist harasser in the tech field.

Modern Office with Christina Hendricks.

FLOWCHART: Should You Catcall Her?

Guns and The Rule of Intended Consequences.

What our nightly views might look like if planets, instead of our moon, orbited Earth.

Cartoon: Pinocchio, Inc.

Remember when I wrote about flooding in Albany this month? Dan explains the systemic reason WHY it happened.

Arthur makes the case against “the case against time zones.” I’m not feeling the abolition of time zones either, at this point.

Nōtan: Dark and Light principles of Design.

The jungle gym as math tool.

The disaster drafts for professional sports.

The Procrastination Doom Loop—and How to Break It.

One of my favorite movie quotes, maybe because it’s so meta: “That’s part of your problem: you haven’t seen enough movies. All of life’s riddles are answered in the movies.” (Grand Canyon, 1991)

Seriously, Rebecca Jade, the first niece, is in about four different groups, in a variety of genres. Here’s The Soultones cover band – Promo video. Plus a link to her latest release, Galaxy, with Jaz Williams.

Tosy’s U2, ranked 40-31 and 30-21.

Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? Paul McCartney and Heather Mills, 2004.

August 22, 1969: The Beatles’ Final Photo Shoot

Coverville 1043: The Elvis Costello Cover Story III, in honor of him turning 60.

4 chairs, 4 women; 4 women, no chairs.

12 billion light-years from the edge. A funny bit!

Don Pardo, R.I.P..

Lauren Bacall: always the life of the party. And cinema icon of Hollywood’s golden age, 1924-2014. A Dustbury recollection.

More Robin Williams: on ‘cowardice’ and compassion. Also, a Dan Meth drawing and Aladdin’s Broadway cast gave a him beautiful tribute. Plus, a meeting of Yarmy’s Army and Ulysses.

Jaquandor remembers little Quinn. Damn middle recording made me cry.

The Wellington Hotel Annex in Albany, N.Y. was… murdered in plain sight in front of hundreds of onlookers. “If I were a building, this is how I’d like to go.” Here’s another view.

SamuraiFrog’s Muppet jamboree: C is for Clodhoppers and D Is for Delbert (who evolved) and E is for Eric the Parrot and F is for a Fraggle and G Is for the Gogolala Jubilee Jugband.

New SCRABBLE words. Word Up has identified some of the new three-letter words.

I SO don’t care: one space or two after the period. Here’s a third choice.

The ultimate word on that “digital natives” crap.

Whatever Happened to the Metric System?

Freedom from fear.

Ever wondered what those books behind the glass doors of the cupboard might be thinking or feeling?

The New Yorker thinks Yankovic is weirdly popular.

Here’s a nice Billy Joel story.

Pop songs as sonnets.

House of Clerks, a parody of House of Cards.

Saturday Night Live Political Secrets Revealed.

This Sergio Aragonés masterpiece is included as a fold-out poster within Inside Mad. His priceless gift to all Mad fans shows over six decades of Mad contributors and ephemera within a mish-mash of Mad office walls. The only thing missing in this beautiful mess is a key. Doug Gilford will be attempting to label everything you see with brief (pop-up) descriptions and links to pertinent pages…

Hello Kitty is not a cat. You may have known that; somehow, I missed it.

You May Have Something Extremely Valuable Hiding In Your Change.

Improved names for everyday things

GOOGLE ALERTS (me)

I wrote this blog post about my ambivalence about blogging on the Times Union website. J. Eric Smith, who used to be a TU blogger, responds at length.

SamuraiFrog responds to my response to 16 Habits of Sensitive People. Also, per moi, he does his #1 songs on his birthday: 1987-1996 and 1997-2006, and 2007-2013. I’ll go back to this myself, eventually.

Dustbury on the theme song to My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, which a passage in Schutte’s Mass resembles more than slightly. He discovers a Singapore McDonalds product.

Jaquandor answers my questions about vices such as swearing and politics/American exceptionalism.

He also writes of buckets and the dumping of the water therein, which Gordon thinks hurts nonprofits. Snopes, BTW, debunks the claim that 73 percent of donations to the ALS Association fund executive salaries and overhead.

Do you know that ABC Wednesday meme I mention with a great amount of regularity? I think this recent introduction I wrote explains it fairly well.

Robin Williams has died. SHAZBOT!

It’s damn disconcerting that the comedic mask hid such despair.

public domain
public domain

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

More CLIPS.

Read this 2010 interview.

A very serious piece from CRACKED: Robin Williams and Why Funny People Kill Themselves