Remembering Robin Williams
By Sami DeSocio
Whether you knew him as a friend (Aladdin), a baby sitter (Mrs. Doubtfire), or a boy who refused to grow up but somehow did anyway (Hook), chances are your childhood included Robin Williams in one form or another.
On August 11, 2014, it was announced that Robin Williams took his own life by hanging himself with his own belt. Since then, the conversations about depression, suicide and where to seek help have started. And while that’s something that is wonderful, those doors should be open, I feel everyone is focusing on how he passed, and why he passed, and nobody has really spoken much about what he did for everyone, and how wonderful he made everyone in his path feel. For me and my friends, who are all actors, we feel we have lost something much bigger than anything else- we lost our way.
I was in rehearsal for my latest project when I found out of his passing, and will never forget the shocked, hurt, and lost looks we all exchanged, each asking silently ‘what do we do now?’.
Since his passing, I’ve read articles, interviews, and countless re-counts of encounters with the man who must have had 1000 people living in his head, slipping between personalities and personas as easily as one would change a pair of socks. There is nothing negative that anyone had to say about the man. He was wildly talented, took no prisoners, and acted with his whole being. Not just his voice, not just his movements, but in a single blink of an eye could transform into a completely different person right before your very eyes!
I was always amazed by how completely he gave into his characters. Of course, while Mrs. Doubtifre is my favorite by far, a close second is Hook. And there, I feel, he really got his chance to play! To finally embody what he truly was-a boy who refused to grow up. A man who continuously played, making people laugh when they were at their lowest, and even teach them more about life than anyone else ever could (Good Will Hunting. Dead Poet’s Society)
I haven’t been able to bring myself to watch any of his stuff since he passed. It hurts too much. I watched a bit of Aladdin and had to stop myself from completely crying. I have Mrs. Doubfire recorded but haven’t been able to watch it.
Reading accounts of fans who have met him, soldiers whose lives he touched, and just ordinary people he was reaching out to makes me wonder why he felt like he couldn’t reach back. Why he felt he couldn’t turn to a friend and say ‘I need help.’. And unfortunately it is that, that made him take his own life.
There’s a beautiful quote from Hook that says “You know that place between sleep and awake, the place where you can still remember dreaming? That’s where I’ll always love you, Peter Pan. That’s where I’ll be waiting.”And I’d like to think that for his fans, friends, and family, that’s where we’ll all be able to see him again.
RIP Robin Williams.
If you or anyone you know is suffering, please do yourself, or them, the favor and make sure they get help. Whether it be a hotline, or a shoulder to cry on, you could be potentially saving their lives, or your own.