Robin Williams passed away yesterday at 63 from an apparent suicide.
I was initially not going to comment on this, to write about it, because I didn't want to be seen as jumping on the bandwagon. How silly of me. Expression of grief and loss as a community and a species is not bandwagon jumping.
It goes without saying I was, and remain, a huge fan of Robin Williams' work. He was a great comic, a great comedian, and an even better character actor. I watched reruns of Mork & Mindy as a kid. It was very far ahead of its time. He's remembered for the roles that made us feel good (Mrs. Doubtfire, Good Morning Vietnam, Dead Poets' Society, Good Will Hunting), but there are two of his movies in particular that are appointment viewing.
Hook was amazing in updating the Peter Pan story, to the point where in my mind, Peter Pan and Robin Williams are one and the same. It's the kind of casting that is a complete no-brainer, and left an indelible mark on my life. I have made an effort, actually, to live my life according to one line he delivers toward the end of the movie, where he tells the Lost Boys to "protect everyone smaller than you." (The smallest Lost Boy then asks him "Who do I protect?" and he says "Neverbugs. Little ones.")
And then there's the creepy store attendant he plays ingeniously in One Hour Photo. If you haven't seen it, I won't ruin it for you.
Much will be made about the demons he faced, about depression as mental illness, and about suicide. Perhaps that's something to write about later. But today we light a candle for one of the best our species had to offer. And wherever he is now, we can be sure he's entertaining the hell out of them.
Rest in Peace, Mr. Williams. The world has lost an irreplaceable spark of madness.