- Posted August 12, 2014 by
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When Those Who Bring Laughter are in Pain - In Memoriam: Mr. Robin McLaurin Williams (July 21, 1951 – August 11, 2014)
On July 21st, 1951, a talent was born in Chicago, IL, a talent who would one day emerge as a comedic giant. A man who would one day bring laughter to millions around the world, or to just a handful of people by just entering a room. This man, who became part of the entertainment fabric of America, and later to become regarded as Hollywood Royalty, would become known by many names characterized by the plethora of his memorable silver screen and stage performances.
I first became aware of this man and his amazing ability to make me laugh, even when I may have been in the foulest of moods, by the name of “Mork”. “Mork” was an alien who traveled to earth in a one-man egg shaped intergalactic spacecraft from his home planet of “Ork”. Back in 1978, being a teen-aged black kid from “the Hood” and being a fan of the show “Mork and Mindy” certainly did not make me one of the coolest young lads in my community, however never the “follower” type, I did not care. This guy, this “Mork”, to me he was funny, in a very unconventional way. While most of my contemporaries were infatuated with the comedic expression of Bill Cosby, believing Cosby to be “one of our own”, “Mork” was more aligned with my somewhat nerdy, “don’t follow the crowd” personality.
And from there, it began. From “The World According to Garp”, “Good Morning Vietnam”, “Dead Poets Society”, “Good Will Hunting”, “Jumanji”, “Aladdin”, “Happy Feet”, “Night at the Museum” and so many more characterizations of people and stories that left many Robin Williams fans breathless. As a passionate fan of all the arts, Robin McLaurin Williams often portrayed characters on screen with such a commanding performance, I would often forget that I was watching Robin Williams the Actor, and become totally absorbed in the realness of the many characters he portrayed so very well throughout his phenomenally amazing career.
While Williams’s character portrayals often would leave audiences in awe of his sheer genius as an Actor, Comedian, Film Producer and Screenwriter, I often became absorbed in the many one liners or quotes from his movies. In one of those movies, “Good Will Hunting” Williams portrays the psychiatrist “Sean”, who attempts to break through the tough exterior of the title character “Will”, portrayed by Matt Damon. In a scene on a park bench where psychiatrist “Sean” attempts to psychoanalyze Matt Damon’s character “Will”, he laments:
“You don't know about real loss, because that only occurs when you love something more than you love yourself. I doubt you've ever dared to love anybody that much. I look at you; I don't see an intelligent, confident man; I see a cocky, scared s@%tless kid.”
I could so relate to those lines later on in my own adult life, leveraging the sheer power that eventually came through the self-introspection that is often required to come face to face with ones’ own ego. To become honest with oneself, and recognize that irrespective of how intelligent we believe we may be, none of us is ever above learning more; more about ourselves, as well as about our fellow man, the individuals and groups that make up our Human family. Yes, it was this phenomenal movie, and many other inspirations I would come to utilize throughout my life as I reflect on performances such as those characterized by the incomparable Robin M. Williams.. And now he’s gone.
Who knew, other than those who were closest to Mr. Williams that he suffered and felt tortured from the dangerous disease known as depression? How could this man of Hollywood Royalty, of immense fame and incredible fortune succumb to such a silent but deadly assassin? How could this man who has brought laughter and joy to millions around the globe, this man who portrayed characters on film that brought meaning to the lives of so many people, just as he did with me when I watched Good Will Hunting, how could this man now be gone, a victim of an illness that often strikes it’s final blow when its victims are alone, often dying alone and in silence?
Mr. Williams works will live on in infamy, as those who are regarded as Hollywood Legends works often do. Nonetheless, the incredible sadness felt throughout the world today at his passing, from the immediate pain reflected by his lovely wife, Susan Schneider, the incredible sense of loss and sadness most assuredly felt by his children and immediate family, to those who worked with Robin, and to those of us who admired the man and his works over several decades, it just doesn’t seem to make any sense.
Now, there will be the usual panels of talking heads that debate the realness of this disease called depression. There will be those that want to dig into “what really happened” to cause Mr. Williams to presumably end his own life. There will be those that question where were his family and friends and why was he not entered into a facility that could have treated this silent assassin? There will be those that attempt to question all aspects of his life, from his relationship with his wife and children, to his financial health and well-being, all in the sake of ratings. To all of them I would say, whatever you do, whatever you think you have to say, irrespective of how much of an expert you feel you may be, or how intelligent you feel you are, let this man finally rest in peace, and let his family and friends have whatever time is needed to mourn the tragic loss of this man who brought such joy and laughter to the world.
As opposed to trying to dig into Mr. Williams personal affairs, remember, this is Mr. Robin McLaurin Williams, NOT a Kardashian. Respect the wishes of his family, honor the memories of his friends, and above else, thoroughly explore the reality, and potential treatments for this silent assassin, DEPRESSION. Ask yourself, do you know of a friend or family member who just lost something; their job, a loved one, or something meaningful in their lives, something, anything that would provide a gateway for the silent assassin known as DEPRESSION to creep in through the now unlocked doorway of their sub-consciousness? If so, call upon that person, visit that person, often, whether they make you feel welcome or not. Know that their very lives could depend on it.
To Mr. Williams’s family, while this writer offers his condolences for your terrible loss, I also want to thank you for sharing this remarkable man and his talents with the world. Thank you for allowing Robin McLaurin Williams, this amazing, one-of-a-kind talent to make us all laugh, and at times cry, for decades.
And to Mr. Williams, while your works will live on, the memory of the man that you were, through all your personal struggles, and through your triumphant victory’s over those struggles, know that we, your admiring fans, love the way you loved your craft, and that the example of your works and influence on our culture is reflected by the millions of people around the world who mourn your loss.
We’ll never say goodbye to you Robin, but for now, we’ll just say, “Good Night, and Rest in Peace”
R. Paige, A.K.A. "True Stories" is a Philadelphia, PA based Author, Television and Radio Talk Show Host and freelance writer who primarily focuses on Political, African American Culture, Entertainment, Music, and Sports interest stories. Listen to R. Paige on WURD Radio every Sunday Night - 8:00 PM - 9:00 PM – on the "Staying Resilient” Talk Radio program. To listen to WURD on your SmartPhone or Computer, click on: http://900amwurd.com/,
In August, 2013, R. Paige published his BLOCKBUSTER relationship advice book; "Think Like A Woman, Act Like A Man", now available on iBooks, BarnesandNoble.com, Amazon.com, and wherever eBooks are sold!!
COMING SOON!! In September, 2014, watch for the DEBUT of R. Paige’s critically acclaimed TV Talk and Entertainment Variety Show, “MAN ANSWERS TELEVISION”, coming to you on the NAZCA Network!!
(Follow R. Paige on Twitter, @TrueStories2)