A Career of Carpe Diem: Robin Williams (1951-2014)
The word spread into the ether, leaving shock and sadness in its wake: Robin Williams was dead. By his own hand, apparently. When a celebrity passes away before retiring we always feel surprised. That can’t be true – I just saw his latest sitcom a few months ago. He was in this movie on cable the other night. Finally, all possibilities of a big mistake gone, we start attempting to understand and accept.
For me, Robin Williams could be a bit much at times. His manic energy sometimes went over the edge into a form of self-parody. To say this takes nothing from his accomplishments. In fact, he could still be appreciated because he was trying so hard to be entertaining. At best, I enjoyed an excursion to the pinball machine that was his mind, watching as ideas bounced everywhere and were quickly followed by the next.
It was in his movie career that I enjoyed him most. The anarchy of his comedy gave way to sometimes subtle, always affecting performances. A personal favorite was Dead Poets Society. Turning in a muted yet spirited performance, Williams’ Professor John Keating shows his students that in the rhythms of poetry lay the way to live a full life. Seize the day, he urges them (and us). Carpe diem.
This quote can now serve as a fitting epitaph for a unique career. At his best Robin Williams allowed audiences a peak inside the mind of a comic genius. It was in hiding behind dramatic roles that he truly showed the breadth of his talent. May he find immortality in those performances.
[Editor’s Note: Robin Williams died on August 11, 2014 in Tiburon, California at the age of 63. Despite bringing laughter to millions in comedic roles such as the cross-dressing Mrs. Doubtfire or the quirky alien in the classic TV show Mork and Mindy, he allegedly suffered from severe depression to led to a suspected suicide. He will be terribly missed.]
– Louis Burklow (aka, Hollywood Country Boy), Staff Writer, Phoenix Genesis
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