Life’s worth living as long as there’s a laugh in it.” ~ L. M. Montgomery
What a sad, sad day, to hear of how much Robin Williams must have suffered.
Perhaps no one more than he conveyed such breadth of human experience through his art, in a medium that has allowed so many to explore his astonishing array of work.
The topography of my youth is indelibly marked with the wholly unique humour and magic of Robin Williams.
Before my time, he embodied the eclectic, frenetic, frantic persona of Mork, which captured me on reruns and filled me with wonder: the places he took me to were not places I could find on my own. He made me laugh, he made me nervous, he confused me, and he awakened in me a vivid desire to embrace passion.
He explained to me the inanities of war before I was old enough to comprehend how things like Vietnam come to be, in “Good Morning, Vietnam.”
He used his improv and impersonation gifts, and then tapped into his very serious, profound dramatic center—his range was sheer genius—to entertain children and adults alike, in enduring Hollywood films like “Mrs. Doubtfire,” “Hook,” “Happy Feet,” “Awakenings” and “The Fisher King.” And so many more.
“Good Will Hunting” had Williams reigning in some of his zaniness to play a psychologist with demons of his own, who helps a brilliant, troubled young person find direction in a life that is bound not to be challenging. He touched the world with this film, with this intricate, deeply textured performance and exploration of humanity.
One always had the feeling, watching Williams in interviews or doing stand-up, of being in the presence of something otherworldly. We all move in worlds of our own making, to a degree, but Williams outward manifestation this was staggering. Over and over, he welcomed us into his sphere, dared us to expand our ideas of what it means to be human.
My personal favourite is “Dead Poets Society.” If we’re lucky, we’ve all had teachers who broke with convention to teach according to their hard-won beliefs about the world and what is right. Watching Williams inspire a group of boys to be creative, and above all, to be themselves and to be free, is a stand-alone moment I have repeated over and over.
Robin Williams made the world laugh. Over and over. He also made us cry, think, and explore being. What a legacy to leave behind. May he rest in utmost peace.
“No matter what people tell you, words and ideas can change the world.” ~ Robin Williams
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Editor: Renée Picard