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.”
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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
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?