This one hit me pretty hard. Listen, there are tons of celebrities who have come and gone in my life time. There are a number of people that I have on my own personal ‘watch list’ as it were. Robin Williams was not one of them.
While the details of his death and apparent suicide are still forthcoming I’d rather focus on his rather large and storied contributions to my childhood.
I was born in 1986 so when Robin Williams was becoming the megastar in the 90s that he was, I was just getting to that age where I was starting to realize things that I liked and was able to consciously follow the things/people that I enjoyed. Listen I LOVED Batman as a kid but that was just it, I loved Batman, not Michael Keaton, not Jack Nicholson but the characters themselves. Robin Williams was one of the first actors/comedians that I really grasp onto as a child. I remember seeing Aladdin in the theaters and KNOWING that it was Robin Williams and I got joy out of that because I liked Robin Williams and not just the character. Hook is one of those movies that I watched over and over again and Mrs. Doubtfire I STILL quote to this day unabashedly.
As I got older I started to get to know him as a comedian as well as a serious actor. In 2002 One Hour Photo came out and it was my first real look into Robin Williams, the actor, as opposed to the comedian. This lead me to his older films like Good Morning Vietnam and to look forward to his future films like Worlds Greatest Dad. This may sound trite but I always felt Robin looked and felt out of place even in those Snickers commercials which to me seemed like a dumping ground for washed up pop culture figures looking for a quick buck. Maybe it was the nostalgic in me but I always felt like he got some unnecessary grief from the ‘hipster youth’ culture of people that saw him as an easy mark as a popular character who seemed woefully out of place in today’s world.
A few months ago when he checked himself in to rehab to “fine tune” his sobriety I honestly thought, “good for him” because I thought he felt himself slipping and he was a classy enough human to stop the problem before it stopped. Call me gullible but I really didn’t see this unfortunate scenario happening, at least not before a few public meltdowns.
I didn’t have much direction when I started this. I just wanted to write about my feelings and let somebody/anybody know how much he affected my childhood and my life in such a positive way.
Here’s to you Mr. Williams may you find happiness wherever you find yourself next.