Remembering the joy of Robin Williams

click to enlarge JOY & PAIN: Robin Williams performs a segment about conflict on a 2012 episode of Sesame Street. - SESAME STREET
JOY & PAIN: Robin Williams performs a segment about conflict on a 2012 episode of Sesame Street.

Robin Williams died tonight at age 63. That’s by far my least favorite sentence I’ve ever had to write.

Being a relatively young man the first word that comes to mind when thinking about Robin Williams is “happy." So damn happy. Only now do we know how tortured he was internally.

Williams was one of, if not the most, joyful and energetic actors I can remember. Like many people my age, Hook and Aladdin were my two favorite movies growing up, the latter of which I knew every single line of as a 7-year-old. That’s what makes today’s news all the more gut-wrenching. Peter Pan, a symbol of eternal youth, has been taken from us.

It wasn’t until much later that I discovered his great dramatic work. He was the lead in the 1989 hit Dead Poets Society and won a Best Supporting Actor Oscar in 1997 for Good Will Hunting. The underrated Awakenings is a great film and got Robert De Niro another Best Actor nomination, but was so dependent on Williams absolutely nailing the role of Dr. Malcolm Sayer, which he did, of course.

To millions others he was Mork, the loveable goofball alien who launched Williams into stardom in the late ’70s.

Williams was so universally loved that it felt like he belonged to all of us.

The song “Friend Like Me” from Aladdin says it best; “You ain’t never had a friend like me.”

And we never will again.

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