I don't think about art when I'm working. I try to think about life.

Remembering Robin Williams

It was August 11, 2014 a day like any other day, until it wasn’t any more. News hit hard and it was hard to swallow, and those that heard it first didn’t want to believe it. It was a punch in the stomach, and as more details came out, we all heard that Robin Williams had passed away. The immediate breaths after reading, or hearing someone say the news, were tough. No one, no single person can say that they didn’t tear up, or have trouble believing, everyone struggle with the news, and in the aftermath, it is still something that causes people of all ages, and all backgrounds to choke up.

More Than A Comedian

Millions of people first heard of this iconic actor with the television show “Mark & Mindy”. Playing an alien he completely inspired a whole new generation of actors, comedians, and people through his entertaining reach. The hit show and his stand-up career would bring to the world an incredible talent, and one that would be showcased in a variety of movies that immediately come to mind. 

An actor’s actor, Williams was classically trained, and came up with elements in film on the fly, some which weren’t scripted as the cameras rolled. He would create iconic comedy characters in movies like “Popeye”, “Aladdin”, “RV”, “The Birdcage”, “Night at the Museum”, “Mrs. Doubtfire”, and so many others. But it wasn’t all comedy and fun, he found a way to create empathetic characters, deeply moving portrayals and iconic pieces of beauty that are still being talked about. 

In movies like “Dead Poets Society”, “The Fisher King”, “Hook”, “Jack”, “Good Will Hunting”, “What Dreams May Come”, “Insomnia”, “The Final Cut”, and “One Hour Photo”, Williams would showcase his deep understanding of psychology, and pulled through serious film. He would win awards and nominations for his incredible portrayals, some of which are among the most iconic of all dramatic, and serious work in cinema ever. It was with “Good Will Hunting” that Williams shined and won an Oscar, but it was long before that win that people found him to be an incredible talent, worthy of praise and nominations.  

Humanitarian

Robin Williams was a major influence in charity work. This side wasn’t as publicized to many, but yet he was always finding philanthropic efforts. From “Comic Relief” where he served as host alongside incredible comedians, to helping charities like Children’s Promise, and St. Jude, Williams helped serve people, with comedy, making others laugh and smile. He was a major influence with the USO, preforming for the Troops, and in 2010 he donated all proceeds of his stand up release “Weapons of Self Destruction” to help build New Zealand city, and help with earthquake relief. He gave back, used comedy to make so many people laugh, when they even in the hardest of times.  

The Struggle

Williams struggled with addiction, he struggled with depression. He was candid about this, and he shared his struggle with others, and even checked into rehab several times. His struggle was very real, and it was in these struggles that he eventually succumb to the inner demons. His death and the details that are surrounding the tragedy, is serving to help create a conversation about depression, help, and suicide.   

Never To Be Forgotten

Regardless of the details surrounding the death of Robin Williams, he will never be forgotten. He struggled, but he also lived with a vibrancy and joy that helped millions. It is his comedy, his drama, and his beautiful heart that unites millions of fans today. From stand-up comedians, to actors, and all the millions of fans, this tragic loss serves to help us realize that depression is real, addiction is real, and no matter how high we may climb, we are all still human. Robin Williams was a friend to us all, even if we never met him, and his work serves to showcase how amazing his talents were, and his charity work helped lift spirits in the hardest of situations. No matter what day it is, no matter how life passes, there is a beauty in remembering Williams for his life, times, and entertainment. In his passing, we lose an icon, but let it be known that heaven has received another angel, and those struggles that were felt here are no longer there. It is in this tragedy, that we remember him and others that may have dealt, are dealing with, and are working through depression. 

Robin Williams, a legendary human being is gone, but he’ll never be forgotten. He will always be in our hearts, we can look to the many hours of entertainment, interviews, and writings, and look up to the stars, because they’ll shine for us in his remembrance.

-Tyler Simmonds

Tyler in Toronto