|Robin Williams from Good Morning Vietnam.|
*AUGUST 13 UPDATE: See below for links to comments from Robin Williams’ children, plus Russell Brand’s typically outstanding essay about the man he regarded as a genius. A man I’m sure Brand can relate to in more ways than one.
Robin Williams, one of the most brilliantly gifted actors and comedians of all time, has taken his own life at age 63. Straight away I thought of Billy Crystal – his old mate who he seemed to go hand in hand with. These are men with kindness, sadness and the best sort of wickedness in their eyes. For those like Crystal who were closest to Williams, this will be unbearable.
And then I thought of my favourite Robin Williams’ film, Good Morning Vietnam. The power of music when matched to images can be so captivating and the use of Louis Armstrong’s What A Wonderful World against a backdrop of the war in Vietnam is with me every time I hear it. That juxtaposition of all that is wonderful and all that breaks our hearts was a defining scene in a career-defining role for Williams.
For a man who brought so much joy to so many, here’s that scene from Good Morning Vietnam with What A Wonderful World. This is followed by Robin Williams’ acceptance speech at the 1998 Academy Awards for Good Will Hunting. Watch for the hug at the end between Williams and Crystal who was the Oscar host that year. So much love and respect between them. RIP.
“My family has always been private about our time spent together. It was our way of keeping one thing that was ours, with a man we shared with an entire world. But now that’s gone, and I feel stripped bare. My last day with him was his birthday, and I will be forever grateful that my brothers and I got to spend that time alone with him, sharing gifts and laughter. He was always warm, even in his darkest moments.
While I’ll never, ever understand how he could be loved so deeply and not find it in his heart to stay, there’s minor comfort in knowing our grief and loss, in some small way, is shared with millions. It doesn’t help the pain, but at least it’s a burden countless others now know we carry, and so many have offered to help lighten the load. Thank you for that. To those he touched who are sending kind words, know that one of his favorite things in the world was to make you all laugh.
As for those who are sending negativity, know that some small, giggling part of him is sending a flock of pigeons to your house to poop on your car. Right after you’ve had it washed. After all, he loved to laugh too… Dad was, is and always will be one of the kindest, most generous, gentlest souls I’ve ever known, and while there are few things I know for certain right now, one of them is that not just my world, but the entire world is forever a little darker, less colorful and less full of laughter in his absence. We’ll just have to work twice as hard to fill it back up again.” Zelda Williams.