“O Captain, My Captain”

I’ve never cried over the death of someone not close to me, let alone a celebrity. I feel sad when someone famous dies, especially when I admired them (Nadine Gordimer, Phillip Seymour Hoffmann) or was a fan (Kurt Cobain).

But I feel like I’m actually mourning Robin Williams, a man I never met nor was ever likely to. I watched an appearance of his from 2011 on Craig Ferguson’s show, and I laughed helplessly until I cried, also helplessly. My husband — who is a bigger fan of Williams than I — offered this when I asked WHY I was so sad.

“It’s because he gave so much,” he said. “He made us laugh, and he didn’t ask for anything from us.”

Addiction kills. Depression lies. Please, if you struggle with these diseases, please reach out and get help. Here’s information for a suicide hotline, or call 1-800-273-8255 (TALK). Or hell, I’m married to a man who can help you or refer you to someone who will help. DM me on Twitter.

I grew up watching Williams, starting with Mork & Mindy — I still can’t believe my parents let me watch that show. I loved his manic persona as Mork. I think part of his appeal to me as a child was that I didn’t understand the world in the same way as the alien from Ork didn’t understand it.

And Robin Williams on golf is still one of the funniest stand-up routines I’ve seen.

In no particular order, here are the movies I loved the best from Williams.

World According to Garp
Aladdin
Hook
Good Morning Vietnam
The Fisher King
Dead Poets Society

He was clearly brilliant in Good Will Hunting. But remember One Hour Photo? That was a creepy turn. My husband loves Patch Adams and What Dreams May Come.

And I watched this about 10 times last night, and I cried every damn time.

I will keep Williams’ family in my prayers. I cannot imagine what they are going through. I hope they know that their husband, friend, and father touched so many people with his joy. And that’s how we will remember him.

What’s your favorite Williams role?

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5 thoughts on ““O Captain, My Captain”

  1. The Fisher King is probably my favorite, along with Dead Poets Society, of course (did we see that in the theatre together?) I also remember SOBBING watching What Dreams May Come…but I honestly dont remember many details from that film , only that it was amazingly beautiful and I loved it. I hope his death and struggle with depression, anxiety, and addiction brings greater awareness and compassion for ALL those who struggle with mental illness. We as a society have neglected and ostracized the mentally ill for far far too long. Hugs to you my dear friend, my favorite poet. ❤

    • Fisher King doesn’t get enough credit, IMO. Mercedes Ruele! Jeff Bridges pre The Dude! It’s a great movie. I may have to rewatch that one too soon.

      I don’t remember who I saw DPS with, but in all likelihood, probably you, Annie, and/or Tracie, don’t you think?

      And, yes, I saw a lot of “oh, suicide and addiction will get talked about for a couple of days. But people don’t really care.” Wrong. I really care. I will listen, and I will help get help. But if I don’t know about a person’s struggles, I can’t do anything.

  2. Funny, I just finished a post that makes the same point… How can I be so upset over the passing of someone I never met? I haven’t been this upset over a high profile death since Princess Diana.

    My favorite roles of his were Adrian Cronaur (Good Morning Viet Nam) and the Genie from Aladdin.

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