American Oscar-winning actor and comedian Robin Williams was found dead at his California home on Monday. Th
American Oscar-winning actor and comedian Robin Williams was found dead at his California home on Monday. The 63-year-old star was known for his success spanning several decades, his roles ranging from manic slapstick to poignant diatribes about life, and death.
Born in Chicago, Williams rose to fame in Seventies television series Mork and Mindy, and went on to star in blockbusters such as Good Will Hunting, Patch Adams and Good Morning Vietnam.
His sudden and tragic death is even more heart-breaking if the rumours of a suspected suicide are true. For someone who gave so much, to so many, he privately fought his own demons for the most part of his career.
“One of a kind”
Twitter was flooded with tributes from celebrities and fans alike in the early hours of Tuesday morning, with moving notes on how Williams’ films had formed such a large part of so many people’s childhoods.
US President Barack Obama left a particularly personal, emotional message, detailing how Williams burst onto our screens as alien Mork and played almost every role there is:
“Robin Williams was an airman, a doctor, a genie, a nanny, a president, a professor, a bangarang Peter Pan, and everything in between,” Obama said. “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.”
Williams was so versatile in his work and captured the human form beautifully, from the inattentive scientist in Flubber to the lovable Genie in Aladdin, two of just a string of brilliant films that graced each decade. Williams no doubt shaped the senses of humour of children of the Eighties, Nineties, Noughties and beyond. His understated comedic performances could have you in tears of raucous laughter and then tears of touching sadness, often in the same film.
An inspiration to millions
Staggering versatility, and a stunning talent for improvisation saw him ad-lib his way through some of Hollywood’s most celebrated scenes. The oft-repeated phrase “Seize the Day” in Dead Poets Society, became one of many of Williams’ most notable performances.
Adopting it again in 1993 as Scottish nanny Euphegenia Doubtfire fell victim to loose dentures, Williams fished them out of a glass proclaiming, “Carpe dentum- seize the teeth.”
Leaving co-star Pierce Brosnan struggling to keep a straight face, Williams demonstrated the investment he put into each and every character he delighted us with.
His turn in Dead Poets Society inspired a generation with unconventional teacher John Keating, in which he utters the words of utmost importance, “Make your lives extraordinary.” Williams’ life was certainly that, and heroically so.
As reported by his publicist, he suffered from severe depression of late. His death is such a loss, but if it encourages people to speak about depression and mental illness, it will not be in vain.
Perhaps what is most bittersweet about Williams’ passing is that he was clearly so loved and admired, if only he could have seen that.
The word is thrown about a lot, but the performances of Robin Williams are nothing short of legendary. One thing is for sure, this Captain will not be forgotten.
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