Like millions of fans, I loved Robin Williams. I enjoyed his quick wit and no-holds-barred brand of comedy. I greatly admired his prolific career and Oscar-winning acting talent. Most of all, I adored his generous spirit. He touched so many lives in so many ways. I just can’t believe he’s gone.
“What Dreams May Come”
“Dead Poets Society”
“The World According To Garp”
“The Bird Cage”
“Good Will Hunting”
“Good Morning, Vietnam”
These were the Robin Williams films that made me laugh… and cry. Over the years, his work imprinted upon me, creating a tapestry of people and places and stories and memories that remain evident in the person I am today. While I’m tempted to hold a movie marathon in honor of this cinematic legend, I know that if I did so now, there would be too many tears.
Instead, I shall remember how often — and lovingly — Robin Williams spoke of his children: Zelda, Cody and Zachary. And how his wife Susan found the strength to give a beautiful and heartfelt statement so soon after losing her best friend.
I’ll think back to the time Robin Williams helped save his friend’s life. After actor Christopher Reeve was left paralyzed by a horrible horse-riding accident in 1995, he seriously pondered pulling the plug. It was then that Williams showed up at the hospital, dressed as a doctor, and did what he did best; he made his friend laugh (no easy task in such a dire moment). Reeve later told Barbara Walters, “I knew then: If I could laugh, I could live.”
I’ll recall Robin Williams’ many comedy specials, interviews and performances on television. These appearances, especially the one on “Inside the Actor’s Studio,” made me laugh until my cheeks hurt and my belly ached.
I’ll look back on the two times I saw Robin Williams live, once during a fascinating conversation with Lillian Ross at The New Yorker Festival, and once during a promotional event for “Man of the Year.” In both cases, I marveled at his genius.
I’ll search through my hard drive to find the Audible recordings Robin Williams created in the early oughts, years before podcasts were en vogue. I particularly enjoyed the chats he did with Oliver Sacks, Walter Cronkite and Harlan Ellison.
I’ll pay tribute to his tireless efforts to raise money and spirits for charitable organizations like Comic Relief, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation, the LiveStrong Foundation and the USO. Why, to many in the service, he was the Bob Hope of their generation.
I’ll reminisce about how Robin Williams’ performance in “Dead Poets Society” inspired me to launch a similar organization at my university. Late at night, our small band of literati would gather in the dark and read poetry by candlelight. I later wed my soulmate near a poet’s grave.
Lastly, I’ll remind myself of how much Robin Williams loved to make people laugh. Ultimately, that should be his legacy.