Thursday, August 28, 2014

Thanks for the Laughs

I know this isn't breaking news, but I still wanted to make a post about it.
Death is obviously a natural part of life, but it's always shocking when someone well-known or someone you personally know dies. That's how I felt on August 11 when news of Robin Williams' death broke. He was only 63, which really isn't that old for someone in seemingly good health. After Robin's death his wife revealed that he had recently been diagnosed with Parkinson's disease. Finding out that you have an incurable disease would  be a major blow.

Robin was an incredible actor and extremely talented at doing voices and impressions. His hilarious antics on-screen could make anyone laugh. Off screen he struggled with depression, which is ultimately what led to his death since he ended his life by hanging himself. I don't know what it's like to suffer with depression on an ongoing basis, but I've heard it's terrible. I know what it's like to feel sad, though, and the thought of waking up every morning knowing that you're going to be plagued with bleak, hopeless feelings would make for a miserable existence.
Robin was quite the philanthropist. He used his time, money and celebrity status to help others and was involved with more than 50 charitable organizations and causes. Robin worked with Comic Relief to raise money for the homeless. He also worked with the USO and toured the Middle East five times to help raise morale among our troops.
He worked with the Livestrong Foundation and Child Athlete Foundation. In 2010, he donated 100% of the proceeds of his shows following the devastating earthquake in Christchurch, New Zealand to all the people affected by the earthquake.
Robin supported St. Jude's Children's Hospital and never charged a fee for his participation in any events or activities for them. Whenever he had an opportunity to meet patients and their families he would do it just to cheer them and help them forget about their diseases for a while.
When Robin studied acting at Juilliard performing arts school, his roommate was Christopher Reeve and they developed a deep friendship. After Christopher Reeve broke his neck in a riding accident and became a quadriplegic, Robin went to visit Christopher in the hospital. He walked into the room dressed as a doctor, claiming to be a proctologist. Christopher said (of seeing Robin) that that was the first time he'd laughed since becoming paralyzed.

Robin served on the board for the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation for several years, and would do several fundraising events each year to raise money for spinal cord injury research. The CEO of the foundation said that many celebrities he'd worked with had requirements for cars and who they would talk to, but Robin would show up on his own and talked to everybody. He was also very generous and quietly donated a lot of his own money to the foundation.
Robin Williams had such a wide range in his acting abilities, from serious to laugh till you cry funny. Dead Poets Society was my favorite Robin Williams movie. I was also a big fan of Hook, Aladdin, Mrs. Doubtfire and Jumanji. I also really liked Robin's portrayal of Teddy Roosevelt in the Night at the Museum movies. Jack, Awakenings and Patch Adams were all really good, too.
Robin overcame addictions to drugs and alcohol. He was the father of three and an athlete. He won an Oscar (best supporting actor for Good Will Hunting) and was nominated for three others. He was extremely talented and loved by so many. Even though he was a celebrity, he used his wealth for good and was generous, thoughtful and seemed to get a lot of satisfaction out of helping others who were less fortunate. He's gone too soon and could've gone on making great films for another 20+ more years. Robin Williams  made the world a happier place and will definitely be missed!


Webster said...

Wow, Heather. Just wow.
This is the best eulogy of Robin Williams that I have seen. You put a lot of work and research into it. I agree that his recent diagnosis of the debilitating illness Parkinson's Disease was likely the straw that broke the camel's back for him. Behind his genius for comedy was a troubled man; one who will be missed.

Julie said...

Hi Heather,
Thank you for this, it's a lovely & touching tribute to Robin.

He was a great actor, comedian & bloke.

I didn't realise that he'd given so much to charity & didn't charge for many things.

It especially touched me how he helped Christopher Reeve.

When I heard the news I thought of you as I know you enjoy films. I was looking forward to your triibute & it was even better than I thought it would be.

My favourite Robin films are Mrs Doubtfire & Patch Adams.

We also lost another great actor a couple of weeks ago - Richard Attenborough. He was brill too.

Happy Labour/labor day.:)

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