Some performers don't just grace your belly with joyous laughter, but warm your heart and inspire you deeply. Robin Williams has always been one of those performers. Captivating our spirits with his vibrant, contagious energy and making our lives more luminous with the bright light he exuded.
That light went out far too early, as we learned yesterday that Williams took his own life at age 63. He had been seriously battling depression for the majority of his years and finally surrendered to his demons to find some peace. A man who has brought so much joy to thousands across the globe, wasn't able to hold onto a glimmer of it for himself.
The passing of Williams hit me incredibly hard and left me pretty devastated. How could someone I've never met have this profound of an effect on me? That's just the kind of person he was. You felt as if you knew him and that if you ever ran into him on the street, that he would give you a big hug and smile that magical smile at you. His smile.
He was a huge part of my childhood. Someone I could always rely on. I learned how to hold onto my colorful imagination and maintain my childlike sense of wonder with his guidance in "Hook". I discovered that best friends come in all shapes, sizes and colors, from his magical portrayal of the Genie in "Aladdin". He urged me to seize the day, to follow my heart and make my life extraordinary in "Dead Poet's Society". I've been chasing my dreams ever since and I'll always be grateful to you for giving me courage, Mr. Keating.
Williams wasn't afraid to show us glimpses of all sides of humanity, even the parts with the darkest edges. In films such as "Insomnia" and "One Hour Photo", we learned that he could put that lovable warmth on hold, to embrace a subtle terror, that was absolutely chilling.
Of course, we'll never forget "Good Will Hunting", which rightfully earned Williams a supporting actor Academy Award. Some of the powerful scenes opposite Matt Damon still give me chills. He was pulling from deep within himself for that role and the result was breathtaking.
I could mention countless other gems of his like "Good Morning, Vietnam", "Jumanji", "The Birdcage", "World's Greatest Dad", "Death to Smoochy", "Mrs. Doubtfire" and so many others. You got lost in the wonder of his performances and swept away by his graceful conviction.
Whether it was witnessed through his impressive filmography, his stand up, or his admirable work with some of our troops or charities, Williams was a class act and a legend of his craft, with a huge heart to boot. His genius has been matched by so few and we have truly lost one of the greats.
Some may be quick to call what Williams did selfish. While his family, friends and fans were undoubtedly robbed of his many gifts, depression is a very real and scary disease. We cannot possibly fathom what he was going through, so instead, we should focus on honoring his life and remember the blessings his talent and character have bestowed upon us.
Oh Captain, my Captain. I hope you knew the profound impact you had on so many of us. You were our friend, our confidant, our teacher and so much more. The timeless, special characters you brought to life in our homes and hearts will be shared for generations. While the world is a bit less bright without you in it, we will forever be grateful for the beautiful moments you have shared with us.
"No matter what people tell you, words and ideas can change the world."
R.I.P. Robin Williams 1951-2014