Actor and comic genius Robin Williams was found dead in his home this morning of an apparent suicide. He was 63.
The world became much sadder and a lot less funny.
Williams possessed a gift for improvisation. This was apparent from the moment he appeared on Happy Days in a guest spot. That guest spot would result in his own TV series Mork & Mindy co-starring Pam Dawber.
It took awhile for Williams to achieve success on the silver screen, but he would have a string of hit movies including Moscow on the Hudson, Good Morning Vietnam, Dead Poet’s Society, Awakenings, The Fisher King, Mrs. Doubtfire and Patch Adams. Williams would win Best Supporting Actor for his performance in Good Will Hunting.
Last year, Williams returned to the small screen in the CBS sitcom The Crazy Ones co-starring Sarah Michelle Gellar. However, it was cancelled after only one season.
During his early days of success, Williams would begin to struggle with alcohol and cocaine. He would attain sobriety by the mid-1980s, but these problems had resurfaced in 2006 when he entered rehab for alcohol addiction. It was only last month that Williams would again re-enter rehab. Williams also apparently had been suffering from depression. He didn’t look too happy in this photo taken at a Dairy Queen in Minnesota shortly before entering rehab.
It is sad that Williams could not overcome his troubles. Aside from being funny, he did a great deal of good in the world. He entertained our troops in a long association with the USO.
On a personal note, I have stolen many a line from Robin Williams and for that I am forever indebted to him. One of my favorites is, “Fashion should be a statement, not a question.”
Well, let me end this with a laugh. Here’s Robin Williams during his first appearance on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson.
ADDENDUM: When I awoke this morning, I thought about Williams’ scene with Matt Damon in Good Will Hunting on the park bench in the Boston Public Garden. I have walked past this bench numerous times. It occurred to me that the bench would become a makeshift memorial. Well, lo and behold.