Robin Williams: 1951-2014

by Ryan on August 12, 2014

in Anything Else,Media,Pop Culture

Iconic comic Robin Williams was found dead yesterday of an apparent suicide at the age of 63.  The comic leaves behind a wife and three children, as well as a nation in shock and sadness.

How could a man so funny be dealing with such deep depression?

As someone close to a few people with mental illness, I can appreciate that trying to explain why people with mental illness act the way they do in a rational way is often fruitless — if their brain was working right, their actions would make sense, which frustrates and confuses those of us trying to make sense of things.

Today, social media and Hollywood are in mourning for Robin Williams, ironically, a man superbly talented at relieving people’s bad mood.

I can’t say I have a favorite Robin Williams moment, because his comedic mania can’t be nailed down to one moment or line.  Everyone loved Williams in Good Morning Vietnam, Mrs. Doubtfire and Aladdin, etc., and who can forget him meeting Koko the Gorilla, but I was most intrigued by Williams when he branched out.  Dead Poets Society was a brilliant film made indispensable by Williams’ iconic role of Mr. Keating.  Good Will Hunting showed us Williams as an actor with depth beyond his manic schtick — and the Academy rewarded him with his only Oscar for it.

However, Williams’ role in What Dreams May Come evokes the most poignant feelings today.  In the story, Williams character dies in a car crash and goes to Heaven, only to tragically find out that his wife killed herself from depression over his loss.  In the movie, those who commit suicide go to Hell, stuck in a darkness very few ever leave.  He decides go into Hell and try to retrieve her, but only if she is willing to go.  It’s one of Williams best films in my opinion and raises many personal and philosophical questions, brought to an unfortunate relevancy today.

Today, our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends.

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