Monday, August 11, 2014

The passing of Robin Williams - one of the greats

I never thought I'd ever write the words Robin Williams and passing all in one sentence, except if by some stroke of luck he passed me on the highway--a near-impossible feat as he lived in California and I in northern Minnesota.

But he did pass away.

And he was one of the greats.  If not the greatest.

Robin Williams

One of the first movies I ever saw in the theater was Popeye.  He played the part to a T.  I clearly remember being mesmerized by the spinach-eating, muscle-bound sailor who tried to save Olive Ole from Bluto and company.

Over the years, Robin Williams starred in movie after movie.  Now, most of them were comedies, and even in his stand-up performances, he was an absolute genius.  I split many a gut from his antics.

It wasn't until I saw Awakenings that I understood just how talented Robin was.  Awakenings wasn't a comedy.  There were a few scenes that made you laugh, as one cheered on his co-actor Robert DeNiro.  But in that movie, as well as in Dead Poet's Society, I was in awe at his talent in such a serious role.

Robin Williams completely transformed the characters he played and brought them to life.  He portrayed such a wide range over the years, from comedies to serious roles to even a serial killer, that you saw past the actor and saw the character.  He was that good.

No, he was that great.

Robin Williams battled depression, as millions of people do.  A close friend of mine passed away a few years ago, and he also suffered from depression--both met a similar tragic end.  I won't cloud the memory of what Robin has done, in entertaining the masses, by how it all ended.  I will just remember his greatness.  And his geniusness at making us laugh and cry and be mesmerized by what he was able to do.

One that could never be replaced.

Goodbye, Robin.  Rest in peace.

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