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Wednesday, September 27, 2023


Robin Williams dies at the age of 63: I am not very sad, I am morose

“Do not use ‘very’ sad, use morose.” – Robin Williams as John Keating in “Dead Poets Society”

On Monday, Aug. 11, beloved actor and comedian Robin Williams, 63, was found dead in his home in Marin County. The Marin County Sheriff’s Office said Willams’ death is suspected to be suicide. Known as a comedian who brought joy to many, Williams quietly battled severe depression of late, his publicist Mara Buxbaum said.

As we mourn the passing of a man who made our sides ache from laughter, we should never ignore the severe reality of depression. And as I watch the condolences for the beloved Williams and his family flood the Internet, I cannot speak for how affected or unaffected he left others, but I am reminded of the impact Williams left on my childhood.

Unlike my parents, I did not grow up in the days of a young Williams, a man who first made gained attention as an alien in the show “Mork and Mindy.” Nor can I claim that I have seen all 102 credits on his IMBD profile — which would seemingly make me the ultimate fan. No, Williams was the kind of personality who just stuck with you, no matter your age. Viewers weren’t required to know every instance he made an entire room erupt in a fit of laugher in order to gain permission to call themselves a fan.

In more recent years, Williams may not have been a prominent actor on the radar, but when he did appear, it was like seeing a familiar, kooky and lovable uncle I hadn’t seen in a while, who I suddenly realized I missed terribly. While shamelessly watching “Night at the Museum” and “Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian,” I was overcome with little fits of joy in seeing Williams portray Teddy Roosevelt. I mean, come on, it was Robin Williams!

I believe that his fearless presence on screen was what made him memorable. Williams was unafraid to make an entrance as he woke up the whole country in “Good Morning, Vietnam,” to face his fears in “Jumanji,” to be a bangarang in “Hook” and to grant wishes in “Aladdin.” He was unafraid to dress up like a busty, old matron in “Mrs. Doubtfire,” to teach the value of love in “Good Will Hunting,” to seize the day and woo women in “Dead Poets Society” and to strive to be imperfectly human in “Bicentennial Man,” to name a few.

He seemed to approach all of his roles — even those that did not do well in the boxoffice — with an kind of “all or nothing” mentality. Despite his personal issues throughout the years, Williams always managed to be filled to the brim with zany voices and fantastically spirited facial expressions.

The main thing that I’ve taken from watching Williams for years is that every time I watch him, no matter the character, I am reminded of how cool it is to just be yourself. Because if he taught me anything, he taught me at a young age that it’s OK to be unapologetically and wonderfully weird — and honestly, that is the best thing he could have taught me.

Opinion editor Kelly Schafler is a print journalism junior and may be reached at [email protected].

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