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I woke this morning to read of the death of Robin Williams. I immediately told this sad news to my partner (Marc), who shared in my shock and sadness. He was one of our favourite actors and comedians. Last night before I went to bed as I was turning off the TV, Night at The Museum was on, and I briefly stopped to consider whether I should sit and watch for a while as I thought to myself: “Robin Williams is coming up soon, he always makes me laugh”, or if I should just head up to bed. I did the latter.
I grew up watching Morc and Mindy. I never knew it was a Happy Days spin-off – only read that today somewhere – but it was a staple in our house. Even my parents loved it, and that was something. It was guaranteed to make me laugh, and that was a treat I really looked forward to every week. Dead Poets Society was also one of my favourite films for a very long time as a teenager. I cried when I saw that film. It had such a huge impact on me, that I even managed to persuade my parents to go and see it. (I think they were swayed because Robin Williams was in it). Unfortunately, they were not very impressed. I think it was too liberal for their sensibilities. I remember them saying something about a lot of self indulgence… I also remember feeling very sad & disappointed that they didn’t understand it, or love it as much as I did.
Other films I loved him in were: Good Morning Vietnam, Good Will Hunting, Awakenings, The Fisher King, Aladdin, Mrs Doubtfire, The Birdcage, One Hour Photo, Insomnia, Happy Feet, Old Dogs, Hook, and Night At The Museum. He really was a comic genius, as well as a warm and empathetic dramatic actor. He is responsible for beautiful, resonant sounds of laughter all over the world. Marc is not a fan of One Hour Photo, but he’s agreed it’s because Robin Williams played the part so convincingly, and it really freaked him out!
A few years ago, Marc and I travelled to San Francisco – a city I completely love – and one of the things I really wanted to do while there, was to see Robin Williams’ house. I had read an interview with him where he spoke about living there, away from all the flashiness and superficiality in Tinseltown, and I guess I was weirdly curious to see the home of someone I greatly admired and loved. So one day we went to China Beach and we found his house. It was very beautiful, and his neighbourhood was simply stunning. I remember feeling very happy in that moment, and Marc took a few pictures of me there to hold on to. In hindsight I can see how that could be viewed as a little bit mad, but so, I am.
As Robin Williams has famously said:
“You’re only given a little spark of madness. You mustn’t lose it.”
I’ve read a lot about this wonderful man today, and people are saying over and over again just how kind, generous and warmhearted he was. This, coupled with his amazing talent, makes it even more tragic that he committed suicide. It’s obvious that people everywhere are heartbroken and deeply affected by not only his passing, but the manner in which he chose to leave, so one can only imagine how his family and friends are feeling at this time. I can only think of them with wishes of strength, support and love, and even that does not feel enough. Now I find myself suddenly lost for words.
I will leave you with this: