Robin Williams is Gone...A Tragic Loss
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It is hard to imagine, but actor Robin Williams is dead, apparently by his own hand. According to reports, he had recently checked himself into a clinic to attempt to ensure his sobriety, for he had been very depressed as of late. His wife, graphic designer Susan Schneider, whom he married in October of 2011 asked everyone for privacy for his family as they were all “totally devastated.”

I first saw Robin Williams in a “Happy Days” episode. Did you know the TV show “Mork and Mindy” came about as a small part in a guest appearance Williams had on the episode “My Favorite Orkan” of the popular show “Happy Days?

Until them Williams was an unknown. Honestly, I wasn’t a “Happy Days” fan, but when I happened to see him on it I was an instant fan of his. This episode was so popular that the producers went back and re-edited the episode so that Mork had to go back and erase everyone’ mind so they wouldn’t remember what was supposed to have been a dream.

After his moment of fame on ‘Happy Days”, the producers of many other popular shows asked him to come on theirs because no matter what he did it was simply hilarious. When ABC made the decision to give Rob in his own show entitled, not surprisingly, “Mork and Mindy” I was quickly hooked.

As an avid “Star Trek” fan I loved his “Na-Nu Na-Nu” Orkan greeting and weird Spock-like hand gesture. Actress Pam Dawber, his co-hort “Mindy” on the show, later said that Williams would start his free-wheeling and totally unexpected comedic routines at almost any time during the show.

As such, his fellow actors and actresses in the show found themselves as members of an up-close and personal audience of their own to his antics. Dawber said that quite often those in shooting the actual episodes found themselves dissolving into hysterical fits of laughter and unable to complete their tasks.

R-shooting of the episodes was very common, but no one seemed to mind, for every one was really having fun. “Mork and Mindy” immediately climbed to number three in the nation’s Nielsen ratings, only bested by the shows “Laverne and Shirley” and “Three’s Company,” even beating “Happy Days” which came in behind it in fourth.

Williams went on to accept many new challenges: he played a serious role as the Soviet circus performer in the movie “Moscow on the Hudson” for which he earned his first Golden Globe nomination; and he earned his first Golden Globe for role as a whacky and irreverent radio disc jockey in the movie “Good Morning Vietnam.”

As the English teacher at a fancy boys boarding school in the movie “Dead Poets Society” he earned an Oscar nomination; and after this role he became the voice, and some said the persona, of the much-beloved blue “Genie” in the Disney block-buster “Aladdin.”

Never one to rest on his laurels, Williams then took on the role of a man, Daniel Hilliard, living as a Scottish Nanny, Mrs. Doubtfire,” so he can spend more time with his own children in the movie “Mrs. Doubtfire.” Williams’ role in this film truly made him an American film legend.

Robin Williams searched a while for his next special moment, which came in the movie “Good Will Hunting,” where he played psychology teacher Dr. Sean Maguire. In this film, Maguire challenges a South Boston laborer to successfully reach his full potential. For this role, Williams won his first Oscar.

Next on Williams’ playlist was his creepiest, and probably most disturbing role, as the lab technician at one-hour photo lab in the movie entitled, not surprisingly, “One Hour Photo.”

In his real life, meanwhile, Williams had been battling drugs and alcohol with varying degrees of success, but he had still continued to work in films, such as “World’s Greatest Dad” and “Night at the Museum,” which earned him kudos from throughout the movie industry as well as his fans.

Still reeling (no pun intended) from Williams’’ unexpected and very tragic death, his legions of fans will be disturbed to hear that there were four movies “in the can” at the moment of his death, and that several other recently-announced films, including a sequel to “Mrs. Doubtfire,” will now likely never see the light of day.

His TV comeback in 2013 on the sitcom entitled “The Crazy Ones” had met with mixed reviews and was cancelled on May 10, 2014 after just one season. This show was Robin Williams’ last TV work before his death.

It is rare these days to see a comedian (or comedienne) that succeeds for than a short while. Good material seems to be very hard to find, especially if you want to stay with the ‘boundaries’ of what many would call “decency.” It seems, to me at least, that most comics these days choose the most offensive material possible.

Williams never needed that kind of an “edge,” for he had the ability to create comic moments which made fun of our society’s strengths and weaknesses, as well as our nation’s leaders, while still staying within what I will call the limits of propriety. His material was always new, never canned, and rarely repeated.

His greatest success, I think, was in his ability to have those people or places or corporations he made fun of actually respond positively to his jabs, even when they seemed rather sharp and pointed. Moreover, Williams had an innate sense of where to draw the boundaries around his comedic jabs. He seemed to have never ‘crossed the line’. As such, those who might have wanted to hate him couldn’t help but see him as their friend.


Latest Activity: Aug 12, 2014 at 6:26 PM


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Passinthru commented on Tuesday, Aug 12, 2014 at 22:22 PM

A sad end to a great actor and all round entertainer, and today we also learned of the loss of another huge screen talent, the unforgettable Lauren Bacall.

cameo commented on Wednesday, Aug 13, 2014 at 10:11 AM

So took easy way out,he turn out to be a coward,he should though about his family,he though about himself,he should of turn to god.

gawalkman commented on Wednesday, Aug 13, 2014 at 14:58 PM

Boo Hoo! Boo Hoo! Boo Hoo!
Blah, Blah, Blah!

Life goes on for each of us - regardless who lives or dies.

Why should we care about his death? How will you be impacted by it on a personal level? Will you lose your house or job over it? Will your spouse get up and leave you? Of course, if you get so distraught over this - maybe you should lose your job, house, and spouse.

The Pop media culture and our attention to it is ruining this country. There are more important problems facing us as individuals and as a society. We should focus on them instead of the lifestyles of the people who choose to escape reality by acting on the big screen.

The rape and death of the six-year old in Washington State by her 17-year old neighbor is so much more newsworthy because it deals with real people we are supposed to protect, not worshiping a 63-year old man like some kind of high idol. I wonder how many of you are following that news story out of Washington.

Suicide is nothing to make fun of. It is a social problem without an easy answer. If there is anything to learn from his death, it's the problem of suicide and suicide prevention. We start by learning about the warning signs. We follow this up by learning what to do in a crisis situation - calling 911 is only one step in the process. We also must be willing to be proactive in the lives of those around us. Don't be so hesitant to act, when your actions could save a life. We might not be able to save every life, but making the attempt of saving one's life instead of acting like a bystander is the ultimate goal.

Walkie

theflyonthewall commented on Wednesday, Aug 13, 2014 at 21:10 PM

Mental illness is often regarded as a moral failing, a product of the residual Puritanism that prevents us from solving many social ills.It is a shame that Robin Williams could not find the help that he needed. His story has been repeated far too many times.

Regional commented on Thursday, Aug 14, 2014 at 23:32 PM

gawalkman....

...part of living a good life is to try to be aware of others failings and weaknesses...

...and when those people act out in destructive ways which end their lives i believe we are called to feel not sympathy...

...which is you seem to think i was doing...but that is wrong...i was feeling empathy...

...in other words trying to put myself in their place and feel the depths of despair and desperation which caused them to take their lives...

....i cannot imagine what feelings robin williams was feeling when he killed himself...but i can only imagine how badly and hopeless and helpless he felt when he did.....

...and now knowing, as i had suspected might be at the root of at least some of his depression, to be diagnosed with Parkinsons disease...

...that must have been one of, if not the last, straw....and with the failure of his TV show certainly must have taken a toll on him...mentally as well as emotionally...

...i have to say gawalkman...your callous words do nothing but at least in my opinion think less of you...

...who knows, it may really be the way which is how you really feel...

...or your response may be a way you cover up deeper seated emotions which the issue of suicide causes inside you....

either way...your words do not do you proud....

Bryant commented on Friday, Aug 15, 2014 at 13:18 PM

Walkie, got to say your post was not what I usually expect. While I despise the inflated media coverage (which pales in comparison with Anna Nicole Smith and Michael Jackson), your comments are mean spirited. I didn't know Robin Williams except through his work. His passing will not affect me.

Neither did I know this six year old you say was raped and murderetd by a neighbor. I feel about her death as I do about Robin Williams', saddened - and moving on. Her passing on will not affect me.

FrankCostanzasLawyer commented on Friday, Aug 15, 2014 at 13:53 PM

Walkie,

Do you have a list of approved topics we should care about or do we need to check with you on each one we're considering?

gawalkman commented on Friday, Aug 15, 2014 at 16:56 PM

We live in this great nation where we are not only free to speak our mind, but also free to be criticized.

You have your opinion. I have mine.

Lawyer, this is an open forum. Talk as you wish. Just don't expect me to agree with the conversations at hand.

Hang on with me for a second...

Walkie has been on-stage in the Emma Kelly theater many times playing to sell-out crowds with his fellow cast members. Yet, the persona in which I projected during each show was nothing like who I am as a person. One prime example is my performance of Teddy Brewster in "Arsenic & Old Lace". I am nothing like Teddy; yet, I had to find it within myself to become Teddy. Luckily most people see me as Walkie, but a few continue to relate to me in the role of Teddy.

As a teenager, I had the wonderful fortune of meeting and getting to know the famous Karen Carpenter. Our music director at church was a background musician for the Carpenters. Karen was a wonderful person - just as beautiful inside as she was outside. Yet, a few years later she died as a result of her mental illness. I shed a tear upon the news because I actually got to know her.

A few years later, our youth director at church was working on his theology degree. One day his dad, DeForest Kelley (Dr. "Bones" McCoy from Star Trek), showed up for church services. Here was a man I very much liked for his role on screen. Yet, I respected his privacy and did not approach him.

In all honesty, I did enjoy some of Williams' work. Yet, much of his stand-up comedy was very "foul mouth" comedy.

The media coverage of his death has been blown way out of proportion. This was the first point I was trying to make.

The second point I was trying to make in my post was - suicide. All of us have a moral obligation to prevent it. In some situations, we can be prosecuted for not trying to stop it. Yet, many of us have no idea what to do. If there is anything to come from Robin's final act - it may spur something good to come from it as it relates to suicide.

Women continue to kill themselves more than men; however, men just take a more violent approach.

Yes, I am guilty as charged of not saying what I thought in a better manner or as complete as I should have. However, I will not apologize for my thoughts.

Walkie

Bryant commented on Friday, Aug 15, 2014 at 18:28 PM

Better explanation than the first post. Be well.


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