Robin Williams was incredibly funny, so brilliant that his insanity helped to forge my style of writing as well as the way I still interact with the world. I remember his stand-up routines and his many movies, from The Fisher King (which left me sobbing) to What Dreams May Come (which left me hopeful), as well as his brilliant voice-over in FernGully as the demented and damaged Batty Koda, who hilariously helped halt the destruction of the last rainforest.
Robin could be funny, we all know that, but he could also be heart-wrenching, and it was often in these sorts of roles where he excelled. Dead Poets Society, Good Will Hunting (where he finally was recognized for his brilliance with a best supporting actor Oscar), and even his cold, terrifying role in One Hour Photo all served to show the massive range of his brilliance.
Hook was panned by just about every critic, but I think that's because all the critics had allowed their hearts and souls to grow up. They, like Peter Banning at the beginning of the movie, had lost their ability to believe. This movie is funny, sweet, and there were points where I even shed a tear or two. It was an odd choice of vehicle for just about every actor in the movie, but they left me breathless and feeling like I could fly.
Robin suffered for his art, going into rehab several times to deal with his addiction. It was only recently that he went back into rehab, to, his publicist said, “reaffirm his dedication to recovery.” The man also suffered from great depression, a terrible irony because he brought nothing but laughter and light to the world around him.
I feel deeply for his family and their devastating loss, but selfishly I feel even more bereft at my own loss, as a man I looked to, for laughs, to laugh, is gone; I have lost a father, a hero. The only thing left to say is from Hook: “To die would be an awfully big adventure.”
Keep flying, Robin. I hope you find that adventure and make the heavens echo with laughter.