This past year, many entertainers and notable people have come and gone, but why has Robin Williams’ death affected us all so deeply?
First of all, his work appealed to audiences of all ages. Many memories were made in family rooms around the world with one of his movies playing on the TV.
Also, let’s not forgot how unique his performance style was. His excessive energy and improvisational skills brought an entire new form of stand-up comedy, inspiring comedians such as Steve Martin, Andy Kaufman and Jim Carrey.
Through his performances, we saw the genius he truly was. Williams performances are seen as being so phenomenal because of how natural they are. He had this unique ability to entertain like it was second nature, and the joy he brought helped us grow up.
Robin Williams was more than just an entertainer to us. He played a variety of roles in his lifetime, but perhaps the role he had in our lives was the most important of them all.
Think of his role in “Dead Poets Society.” Williams’ portrayal of the lively English teacher in a strict boarding school showed us the effect poetry can have on students like us, and he taught us how to “seize the day.”
Many of us were also first introduced to Williams in “Mrs. Doubtfire” where he played a divorced father disguised as a British nanny. The San Francisco home made famous from the movie now serves as a memorial to Williams.
If it wasn’t Mrs. Doubtfire that left an impression on us, it was more than likely his role in “Aladdin.” Few cartoon characters have ever been as significant as the quick-witted and brilliant Genie, who won our hearts over with his captivating musical numbers, his on-spot voice, and delightfully heartfelt story-line.
Williams is a primary example of what effect a single human being can have on so many people. It was not just his entertainment abilities that moved us, but his entire persona, which was shaped by his compassion and generosity.
The circumstances surrounding Robin Williams death demonstrates the atrocity of severe depression. Beneath the marvelous buoyancy and passion for bringing laughter, was a man who suffered intensely.
Depression is an illness that should never be taken lightly. Some of the most vibrant and exuberant people in our lives can fall victim to it, and if it goes unnoticed for too long, the results are often tragic.
What can we do? We can pay attention. We can try to recognize the first signs of depression in our loved ones, and try to help them before it’s too late. The assumption that extroverts don’t suffer from depression is harmful to society — it’s entirely possible for the seemingly happiest and loudest person in the room to be miserable on the inside.
A terrible, terrible pain was prevalent in this one man’s life, and an image of him has been painted that will never fade from our memories, and that image will hopefully help motivate us to reach out to those who are also suffering, and even if we couldn’t rescue Robin Williams’ from his own demons, it’s not entirely too late. We can learn how to save others, for his sake.