Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Robin Williams (1951-2014)

Shazbot! For a lot of us, this hurts.

Oscar, Grammy, & Golden Globe winner Robin Williams passed away Monday, ending his own life at 63 after a bout with depression. What could've brought on the depression, you might ask. I cannot say for sure, but I would suspect that what Williams, and a lot of us, for that matter, thought might be a sure-fire hit, The Crazy Ones, was instead cancelled after one season, cutting short what had been a triumphant return to series television.

After being part of Richard Pryor's repertory company, Williams, of course, hit it big with Mork & Mindy, spun off from his appearance on Happy Days. Mork ran for four seasons, five if you count the ill-advised, misguided, animated prequel that ABC commissioned from Ruby-Spears & Paramount after the main series ended. However, Williams turned his enormous talents to movies, taking full advantage of his training at Julliard. The hits came one right after the other. "The World According to Garp". "Good Morning Vietnam". "Dead Poets Society". "Good Will Hunting", for which Williams won his only Oscar. "The Fisher King". Sure, there were the clunkers mixed in (i.e. "Cadillac Man", with Tim Robbins), but a lot of those were not his fault.

For an example of what he was capable of, let's look back at a time when Robin pulled double duty on Mork:

In recent times, Williams was making spot guest appearances on shows as diverse as Whose Line Is It Anyway? (w/Drew Carey) and Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, the latter the last of his villain roles. He has four more movies due out over the next few months, including "Night At The Museum: Secret of the Tomb", with Ben Stiller & Owen Wilson, which will be out for the holidays, and likely dedicated to Williams' memory.

I would imagine that there will be a Mork & Mindy marathon announced shortly (Hub was the last network to hold the rights, unless TV Land has a share), plus a sudden run of films airing on any number of cable channels. Whatever demons drove Williams to this point took away a genius who still had much to offer.

Rest in peace, Robin. Heaven's comedy club awaits.


magicdog said...

Mork & Mindy will always be my original introduction to such a manic performer! Every Thursday night the family would watch how Williams would top his last moment of wackiness.

Many times when watching him doing standup on TV, my dad would ask, "his he on drugs?", to which I would reply, "He swears he's clean!". How much energy was his and how much was from drugs I'll never really know. I was shocked and heartbroken to hear of his death - and by suicide no less. I thought at least he had toughed out his demons since guys like him tend to self destruct much sooner. He had been consistently in the public's eye from M&M onward.

Since you published your column, his widow came forward claiming he was in the early stages of Parkinson's Disease, which may have piled on to his other issues.

I just re-watched my favorite non-Mork performance - his voice as the Genie in Aladdin this morning on The Disney Channel. It makes me miss him all the more.

hobbyfan said...

I'd read about the Parkinson's diagnosis. Oh, man.

My favorite non-Mork performance by Williams was and always will be Good Morning, Vietnam. That was just off the hook awesome. Dead Poets Society runs a close second. Have only seen bits of the first Aladdin movie so I can't really comment.

You'll note that I reported on the jackasses at Westboro looking to piggyback onto the publicity surrounding Robin's passing. He doesn't deserve that at all.