When I looked at my Facebook page this morning, I found to my surprise that the actor, Robin Williams (July 21, 1951 – August 11, 2014), had just a few hours previously passed away, and it seems, from the reports, he had taken his own life. What struck me and also came as a pleasant surprise, despite my sorrow, was the number of notes of condolences from a wide variety of people I know, each paying their own tribute to a man who had touched their lives.
Compared with certain other actors, I had only seen a small portion of his work. When I watched today’s breakfast news reporting on his death, it mentioned films like “Good Morning Vietnam” and “Mrs Doubtfire” that helped establish his reputation, which I haven’t seen or even had a particular desire to see. I do recall there was a time when I watched episodes of Happy Days, and like many could recall his performances as the alien, Mork, which first announced to the world that we had this comic genius in our midst.
The one film I did watch and which made a deep impression upon me was where he starred as an inspirational English teacher in “Dead Poets Society”. One of his mottos was Carpe Diem (Seize the Day), which I try to do! It is one of the few films I have watched on a number of occasions, and whenever I do I find my spirits strangely lifted, despite the tragic ending. If I were pressed what my all time favorite film is, this may be it. The main reason is Robin Williams.
Like many an actor, there was a dark side. He had been an alcoholic and had taken drugs. He had also fought a life time battle with depression, something that right away helps me identify with him and made me think that his ability to make people laugh and look at the world through fresh eyes was partly as a result of his own struggles and coming to terms with life, and one outlet to his pain.
Robin Williams’ legacy included showing a way whereby we can deal with the dark demons that beset us, even if in the end he felt he had enough. We mustn’t let his work be in vain, for addictions can be overcome and we can live full lives, even if we are depressed, and we ought to non-judgmentally be supportive of those similarly placed!
Thank you Robin Williams for making a difference and enriching the lives of so many people, including my own.