Almost a month later and the topic is still a sore subject for me. Robin Williams was someone who was always an inspiration to me. I always dreamed of working with him someday (when I was acting).
When I was younger, I remember watching him on Mork & Mindy and my parents saying how much my dad looked like him when they were the same age in the 70s. And as they both aged, they continued to look alike.
But it was more than the fact that Robin Williams resembled my father. This man was responsible for some of my favorite movies, two being in my top 10 (Mrs. Doubtfire and The Birdcage, in case anyone was wondering). He was responsible for making me roll over laughing for my entire life, and even before me. Throughout my entire life, he’s been my favorite actor for this very reason. We all knew he could do comedy, but he could do dramatic roles just as brilliantly. So many of his movies made you cry because he had this deep connection with each role he played. His roles in The Fisher King, Patch Adams, Jack, and so many more each brought me to tears. To this day, I still can’t watch Jack again because it makes me sob so much.
And then there was the comedy. Ohh, the comedy. The bread and butter of his career. What made him famous. Starting out as an alien and then Popeye and then a man dressed up as a Scottish nanny to be with his children. Whenever you were sad, you could put on these movies, and no matter how many times you saw them you’d be on the floor laughing. There are only a few people that have that ability and he was very high on that list, after Lucille Ball for me. Putting on one of his movies was like being with a friend you’ve known your entire life. A friend you’ve never met, but who is just as important to you.
His rapid speed style of comedy included stand-up, which was hilarious. A few years ago, I was lucky enough to see him in New York City at The Town Hall, where he performed his stand-up from the Weapons of Self Destruction tour. Looking back, I am so glad and blessed that I was able to experience him live and in person.
When you spend almost 30 years of your life watching someone on the big and small screen, they become real to you on a more human level. After his death, celebrities and fans alike came out and told stories of his generosity, his big heart, and his sweet soul. Every single person who spoke about him only had positive things to say, and every one of them used the word “sweet” to describe him. This man who made us all laugh was also one of the most down-to-earth actors to grace the screen. I found this very touching, and made it even harder to know that he will no longer be able to share his special gift with us.
There has only been one other celebrity death that has affected me so much. Since Lucille Ball died when I was only a few years old, her death didn’t affect me. It’s a good thing I wasn’t aware of her death, because I would not have taken that well either. Although she was older and died of more natural causes, it’s still hard to lose someone who was the reason you wanted to be an actress, just to be like her. The other person was Michael Jackson. I know there’s a lot of negativity that goes with his name (although suddenly when he died people started coming out saying they loved him, because it was more socially acceptable then), but I grew up listening to him and he was the one concert I always dreamed of going to. I was even contemplating going to London for his This Is It tour. Sadly, that never happened. I was in disbelief for a while, since he was such an iconic legend. I just started to accept it when on August 12, I was in the car and learned of Robin Williams’ death. I cried right away, and the crying lasted on and off for hours, and came and went throughout the next week or so. It’s a crazy thing when a man you’ve never met passes away and you can’t stop crying over it. When I see certain things about him, I will still tear up or cry, because the void is just so great. There is literally not a single person who will ever replace him. He is not once in a lifetime, he was one-of-a-kind.
A lot of people are saying “he had it all, he was a rich movie star, why would he commit suicide?!” As a lot of people don’t understand, it has nothing to do with circumstance. This is just evidence that no matter how perfect your life may seem, you never really know what’s going on with someone. Depression is not something that should be taken lightly, and if nothing else I hope that his death brings to light the truth about depression.
The reason I finally wrote about this was because today we lost another comedy legend, Joan Rivers. Someone else who was so iconic, someone who paved the way for women in stand-up. The red carpet will never be the same without her.
I think these simple words that were put on a billboard when Lucille Ball died in 1989 are perfect for Robin Williams (and now Joan Rivers):
“Heaven needed a laugh.”