This one hurts. I woke up this morning feeling strangely down. I couldn’t pinpoint the reason, so I just put it down to feeling slightly groggy from being shocked awake by the unnaturally invasive door buzzer. Then I read the news. Suddenly my mood was deep-rooted. The world has lost someone truly special today. A flame has gone out. This one really hurts.
I can’t find many words here, as nothing I can say will change what’s happened, but from the first time I saw Mrs. Doubtfire as a kid, to putting on The Fisher King just a few hours ago, Robin Williams has always been one of my favourite actors and comedians. I feel like I owe him a debt for bringing me such joy over the years, most notably in the form of his cross-dressing nanny. Maybe Mrs. Doubtfire isn’t his best film – in fact, I know it’s not – but it’s my favourite because of the nostalgic memories it brings me of watching it with my family, time and time again.
I literally couldn’t count the number of times I watched it growing up. It may have been due to the limited selection of films we had, but I think there was another, more forthright, reason we would continually go back to it: it’s hilarious. Precisely because of Williams’ wonderful, wacky performance.
Yet even when he took on more serious roles he was just as compelling. Few actors can shift so seamlessly between zany comedy and measured solemnity, but Williams always made it look easy. From Good Morning Vietnam! to The Fisher King, from Alladin to Good Will Hunting, there’s so much to draw from his performances. I can’t think of a better example of his unmeasurable talent than when he steals the spotlight from Matt Damon’s bar speech in Good Will Hunting, to produce not only the best scene in the film, but one of the best scenes in cinematic history. And all he does is sit on a park bench talking about love, experiences and loss.
The hardest thing to come to grips with is the nature of it. I just can’t comprehend such a sudden, tragic loss. Sadly, we just never realise how serious depression is until it’s too late. Money and fame doesn’t buy happiness, despite what some Daily Mail commenters might think, but at times like this I wish it did. Then the world wouldn’t have been robbed of not only such a wonderful talent, but a wonderful person. A father, a husband and a friend. Robin, it pains me to think about what you must have been going through, but please know that the joy that left you didn’t disappear into nothingness; you passed it selflessly onto all of us.
“You’re only given a little spark of madness. You mustn’t lose it.”
– Robin Williams
I had never heard that quote before today, but it sums him up so perfectly. Robin Williams was always the spark in an otherwise bad movie. He was often the spark in a great movie. He could always be the spark in a bad day. And he never lost it.
Rest forever in peace.