O Captain! My Captain! Remembering Robin Williams
This week the world is mourning the loss of a true entertainment legend. A man who has made us laugh ’til we cry, and touched many the world over with his moving performances, kid-at-heart nature and genuine kindness. Not only was Robin Williams a brilliant performer, he exuded a sincerity and warmth that made his eyes sparkle and people’s hearts sing. The world reacted with both shock and sadness at the news this week that the actor and comedian had died of a suspected suicide. Here was a man who had dedicated his life to providing joy and happiness to others; all the while he was battling with his own inner demons, ones that ultimately led to his untimely death.
Young and old are now left to reminisce about Williams and his work. And for many, the reflection has made them realise just how big a part Williams played in their lives. That’s certainly the case for me. I was raised on a diet of Robin Williams, with some of my fondest movie memories (both as a kid and adult) involving him. He brought magic, creativity and spirit to my childhood adventures thanks to Hook, which I fell in love with as a youngster and still adore to this day. Dead Poets Society was on high rotation in my house when I was growing up, a film that made me fall in love with poetry and literature and realise the power of words and how much they can inspire (check out the clip below). Of all the Walt Disney musical cartoons that were released in the ‘90s,Aladdin was definitely my favourite, and this was undoubtedly because of Genie. Robin Williams, who voiced the character, largely improvised his script, and it is a film that highlights his comedic genius brilliantly. There’s also Awakenings, Good Morning, Vietnam, Mrs Doubtfire (based on Madame Doubtfire), Jumanji (based on the book of the same name), FernGully, in which he voiced Batty, Jack, Good Will Hunting (for which he won an Oscar for), Patch Adams, One Hour Photo, The Birdcage, Toys, Nine Months, The World According to Garp. The list really does go on …
Dead Poets Society
Some people were fortunate enough to meet the man, maybe even call him a friend. For most of us though, we simply watched him with delight as he shone on screen or stage. And this alone was privilege enough. He was a man of outrageous talent and inimitable style. His comedy was fast, frenetic and unpredictable; his dramatic performances heartfelt, real and imbued with a tender vulnerability. His personality was one of a kind. Robin Williams will be sorely missed and the world is now a shade less colourful without him. However, while he is no longer with us, his films will live on forevermore and we can turn to them whenever we want to marvel at his brilliance. RIP Robin Williams. You will be missed by all and remembered as a true legend.
Robin Williams was an airman, a doctor, a genie, a nanny, a president, a professor, a bangarang Peter Pan, and everything in between. But he was one of a kind. He arrived in our lives as an alien — but he ended up touching every element of the human spirit. He made us laugh. He made us cry. He gave his immeasurable talent freely and generously to those who needed it most — from our troops stationed abroad to the marginalized on our own streets.” President Barack Obama
(you can read President Obama’s full statement here)