The 2000s had been difficult for Robin Williams who was found dead yesterday at his home in California at age 63. That decade did not yield any major successes for the actor who wore bittersweetness on his sleeve and made poetry out of life’s daily vexations.
He earned one Oscar in 1998, a feat that happens rarely, if not at all, for most actors and directors (it took Scorsese forty years to grab the coveted statuette) for his role in “Good Will Hunting” (he was nominated several times for an Oscar, too).
[I went to rehab in wine country just to keep my options open]
Williams, a most accomplished and admired actor’s actor, was the Ted Kennedy of Hollywood’s agora, the Lion of the Senate, a man known for his charisma and that formidable yet self-effacing presence who many a younger comedian paid tribute to in their own career. An active supporter of the U.S. Democratic Party, Williams had been outspoken about his opposition to the war in Iraq, becoming the most consistent entertainer of U.S. troops since the war began. [While doing comedy for troops in Iraq] “I’m looking at a group of heavily armed people here. I’m telling myself ‘If you’re not funny, it’s a problem.'”
[Cocaine is God’s way of telling you you are making too much money]
An uneasiness, and a heart made out of Belgian chocolate is how I’d define the fragile thespian and Chicagoan native. In real life he was a little like his character Mork in “Mork and Mindy.” In that TV series (1978) Williams plays an alien who lands on earth, takes up a roommate and starts a human life, creating his own method to life in community and entertainment.
An extraordinarily long and eventful career followed this first role, which included the following milestones: “Good Morning, Vietnam,” “Dead Poets Society,” “The Fisher King” and “Mrs. Doubtfire.” Williams created his own characters from zero and made them living, breathing organisms that leapt off the screen and became forever embedded in our collective unconscious.
[Comedy is acting out optimism]
In recent years Williams had aged out of the Hollywood legends club along with Pacino and Hoffman. Could the terrible despair that may have led him to commit this act have something to do with this? Williams was known to have bipolar and depression disorders as well as problems with drug abuse. His last known relapse with drinking occurred in 2006.
He was America’s poet. There’s untold loss here. Rest in peace, Robin Williams.