Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Remembering Robin Williams: One-of-a-kind

As I am writing this post, I stare at my computer screen in disbelief. Discouragement, more precisely. Yesterday, actor, comedian, and producer Robin Williams was found dead in his Southern California home. Apparent suicide, according to the authorities. Unfortunately, there is no reason to attribute the cause of his death to accidental circumstances: the extraordinarily talented star of memorable feature films (Good Morning Vietnam, Dead Poet Society, Good Will Hunting, Mrs. Doubtfire) and iconic tv series (Happy Days, Mork and Mindy) had been battling some ruthless demons for quite a while. His addiction to cocaine and alcohol had brought him in and out of rehab clinics since the late '70s and although he had been successfully maintaining a long-term sobriety, severe depression was lately getting the best of him.

His death is a tragic reminder that appearances can be deceiving -- how could such a funny and creative character succumb to depression? According to an article published by Psychology Today, William's manic comedic style and improvising genius may have been a coping mechanism apt to mask and fight an underlying emotional struggle. "[...] even humor -- especially humor -- can be used as a mask that shields both the wearer and those around him from the pain underneath."

The premature passing (he was only 63) of the ingenious stand-up comedian and Academy winning actor (he won an Oscar for his Supporting Role in Good Will Hunting and was nominated three times for Best Actor) is a particularly heart-melting event: not only did we lose a deep well of talent and a uniquely gifted performer; we also lost a passionate advocate and philanthropist. 

Williams' enthusiastic activism matched his effervescent stage presence: his Windfall Foundation, founded with his former wife Marsha, raised money for several charities. St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, the USO (United Services Organization), the Red Cross, Doctors Without Borders, The Pediatric AIDS Association, Make-A-Wish Foundation,  and Comic Relief are among the many recipients, on an international and national scale, of his unbound generosity.

As a lifelong friend and former roommate of another unforgettable Hollywood icon (Christopher Reeve), Williams was involved also with the Christopher  & Dana Reeve Foundation, in support of research programs to treat and cure spinal cord injuries.

Using the gift of laughter, Robin Williams' legacy goes a long way: "No matter what people tell you, words and ideas can change the world."

Robin Williams (July 21, 1951 - August 11, 2014)


  1. I am heartbroken at this news. When I found out last night, all I could think was that the world suddenly felt so much darker with him in it. RIP Robin!

    1. Devastating news, indeed! He must have been in such a deep pain not to find a way to carry on. I will miss him!

  2. This was such a true loss. RIP Robin Williams!