RIP Robin Williams… oh how you will be sorely missed.

RIPRobinWilliams

I can’t believe I had to do another in memoriam posts when the sting of the last one hasn’t quite left me yet. I was just about to get on the elliptical machine at my gym when I saw my friend texted me: “Robin William died. OMG.”

Then I looked up at the rows of TV sets above the gym equipments, and sure enough… his face was splashed on the telly, along with the indescribable and incomprehensible caption: Robin Williams Dead at 63 in apparent suicide.

My heart sank.

In fact, it’s now four and a half hours after I learned of his passing… and it still hasn’t quite sunk in yet. How could a man who brought up so much joy and laughter to so many people… could not find anything in his heart to be cheerful about? This was after all the same man who made his best friend and former Julliard School roommate Christopher Reeve laughed for the first time after his horse-riding accident that left him paralyzed. It was he who inspired Reeve to embrace life during the darkest moments of his life. Williams too was the go-to comic relief that even Steven Spielberg relied on to cheer up his cast during filming of Schindler’s List [per IMDb]

But I don’t pretend to know anything about depression and how it could overpower even the unlikeliest person, those we THINK didn’t have a care in the world, those with a seemingly la di da attitude… As someone who grew up with a mother who suffered from mental illness, I knew that the outside world never thought she was depressed or had a mental imbalance of any kind. She was a vivacious, cheerful, life-of-the-party type who seemed to have it all together. The fact is, nobody knows just what goes on inside a person. No one. At times not even the person in question… The fact that Mr Williams lived his life in the public eye must have made it all the more difficult.

I just want to take a brief moment to reminisce on what an amazingly gifted performer he is… truly one of a kind in every sense of the word. My first intro to the ferociously funny man wasn’t actually a full-on comedic role, though of course his comic timing was still on display. It was his role in Dead Poets Society as English teacher John Keating, a warm and passionate mentor who inspires his students to a love of poetry and to seize the day. Carpe Diem! I knew what that word represent before I fully knew what it meant. It’s eerie to think that he’s succumbed to the same fate as one of his students in that film.

RobinWilliamsDeadPoetsSociety

As I mull over his sudden passing this evening… I watched a bunch of clips of him in various movies and interviews, often with tears in my eyes… tears of sadness mixed with tears of laughter as I watched him being his crazy, zany self. I can’t count how many of his roles have become my favorites: Mrs Doubtfire, Nine Months, What Dreams May Come, The Birdcage, Good Will Hunting, and so on… he’s a lovable comedian to be sure, yet his villainous roles also made an impression, i.e. Christopher Nolan’s Insomnia.

Spanning over a hundred projects he’s completed, including voice work for TV & movies, he never seemed to run out of steam. Even as he underwent heart surgery and multiple rehabs, whenever he’s back on screen, he’s always in ‘firing all cylinders’ mode, never missing a beat. Oh how he will be missed. One thing for sure, I will treasure the wonderful performances Mr. Williams had blessed everyone, ardent movie fans and casual movie goers alike.

My heart goes out to his wife and three children. I will keep them in my prayers.


Thank you Mr. Williams for all the gifts of laughter and joys you’ve bestowed upon us. Your life was truly extraordinary… if only it weren’t gone too soon.

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62 thoughts on “RIP Robin Williams… oh how you will be sorely missed.

  1. I’m just beyond devastated. I’m still in shock. I just wrote my own tribute to him. The man meant so much to me. He wasn’t just a part of my childhood but also into my own adulthood. Him being missed is really just understating how sad this is.

    1. It’s good that we have a virtual collective group who grieve together over him. Yeah it’s devastating indeed. He’s loved by so many people, he truly was one of the greats.

    1. Hi Elina! I really can’t imagine anyone who hasn’t at least laugh at one of his work. He truly was a comic genius with a big, big heart.

  2. He will be missed. We will pine for him, but, like all luminary performers, we will always have his work. Countless film, television and stage-show hours of the man at his best. Solace will be drawn from that, but in the raw, our hearts ache.

    Such a loss.

  3. Awesome tribute, Ruth, you put words to a feeling I haven’t quite been able to yet. I grew up loving Robin Williams in Aladdin, one of the many movies I watched on an almost daily basis as a little kid, and have only grown to respect and appreciate his talent more and more. I can’t think of a single film I’ve seen him where he didn’t completely steal the show. I will definitely be praying for his friends and family as well.

    1. Thanks Billy! I feel that everyone must’ve grown up watching something Williams did, he’s done so many great work, esp in his earlier career. He’s definitely a scene stealer, not just in movies but in variety shows and interviews, in fact he probably could just have his own show where he’d play himself. Such a tragic loss!

  4. This was a wonderful tribute, Ruth. I found myself wondering the same thing – how could someone who brought so much joy to others be so troubled? But, you hit the nail on the head, we never know what someone is truly feeling.

    Williams was an magnificent performer, both in dramatic and comedic roles and he was also an incredible human being, actively supporting many charities. I didn’t realize this until all of the newscasts last night.

    Robin Williams, thank you for sharing your gift with us so fully and may you rest in peace.

    1. Hi Ashley! It’s really tough to comprehend that he was lost and desperate. As we discussed earlier today, sometimes people use humor as a mask to hide who they really are. It’s so apparent with Williams who seems to always be on fire whenever he appears in public.

      It’s admirable that he’s so generous even though I just learned that he’s apparently in a lot of debts from his two divorces. It’s really tragic to see him gone so soon.

  5. Nice tribute Ruth. Yet another awesome and gifted artist has left us too soon and in the worst of ways. This is truly sad and unbelievable. I will cherish his films all the more. I’m already planning to watch Dead Poets Society again, and give Fisher King a watch after hearing so many great things about his performance in that film.
    May he rest in peace.

    1. Hi Niels! I haven’t seen Fisher King either. I think a lot of people are going to catch up on his films in the weeks to come. There’ll be a tinge of sadness as we watch him on screen…

  6. jackdeth72

    Excellent tribute, Ruth!

    I remember many evenings of watching ‘Mork & Mindy’ while having dinner. And trying to keep from choking while laughing my head off at Mr. Williams. As he explored places never touched or seen before.

    No one could come close to his talent at “riffing” or “improvisation”. Always soaring without a script. Or reacting to and with his audience. His one man show and featured guest appearance on ‘Inside The Actors Studio’ is still some of his best, off the cuff work.

    Also remember his turning in a very underplayed, distraught role in an episode of NBC’s ‘Homicide: Life On The Street’. With Mr. Williams playing an out of town, shocked husband. whose wife was murdered. No laughs at all. But superlative dramatic chops!

    1. I wish I had grown up seeing Mork & Mindy but I realize how his catchphrase ‘Na-no Na-no’ is such a pop culture staple. His impersonations and accents are so hilarious and so effortless! I’ll see if that episode of ‘Homicide’ w/ him is on youtube, that’d be very interesting to watch. I knew he had dramatic chops when I saw him in Insomnia.

      1. daveackackattack

        Ruth I know that episode of Homicide: LOTS well. It’s called “Bop Gun”. Jake Gyllenhaal makes an appearance in it as a kid. Robin deservedly was nominated for the Emmy (Guest Starring Role in a Drama)

        I can remember seeing Good Morning Vietnam in a sold out, 700 seat theater in Boston back in ’87. The jokes were so rapid fire that I missed every other joke from all the laughter from the crowd. I had to see it a second time!

        This is why I love Robin Williams. Story goes was doing a press tour in Germany and one of the reporters asked him why he thought German people were generally considered unfunny and quick as a whip he replied “Well… you killed all your funny people.” He was as witty as he was zany. Say what you will about him… he was one of a kind.

        1. Hey Dave! That’s so cool you saw Good Morning Vietnam on the big screen. That’s actually one I still need to see! Ha..ha.. I just read about his quote about the press tour in Germany. He’s irreverent but with such a zany spirit that you can’t NOT love him!

    1. Hi Paula. DEAD POETS SOCIETY made a huge impression on me as I saw it in high school. Seeing how my mom suffered some mental issues, I immediately thought how Robin and her were so good at appearing as if life is good and there’s not a care in the world. It just hit me hard when I heard about this last night.

    1. Yeah, it seems that he’s had this problem for some time. If only he had asked for help… as he had helped so many others with his gift of laughter.

  7. Ted S.

    I was quite shocked when I read the news too, couldn’t believe he’s gone now. I haven’t seen a lot of his work the last few years but I really enjoyed his guess starring role in Louie, it’s such a weird and hilarious episode. I know his career has been on the downslide lately which is why he starred in that TV show last year. I was really hoping he’d make a comeback real soon, he’ll sorely be missed in the entertaining industry.

    1. Hi Ted, it’s very shocking indeed. I didn’t realize he’s been in so much debt but I noticed I haven’t been interested in any of his newer movies, seems that he was doing them just for the pay check. It’s so tragic as he’s such a gifted actor.

  8. I too was truly saddened to hear of Robin Williams’ passing. I grew up watching several of his movies and being inspired and uplifted by his characters. I pray for his family and hope that the legacy he left continues to bring smile, hopes, and laughter to people’s lives. Pan the Man has flown away and we all feel like lost boys now. :-\

    1. Hello T! He really is extraordinary that he touched so many lives, those he met and those who saw him on screen. Yes his legacy will live on surely.

      Thanks for reblogging my post btw, what an honor! 🙂

  9. Reblogged this on The Focused Filmographer and commented:
    I was going to write my own memoriam post about Robin Williams but Ruth over at Flixchatter summed it up so beautifully. I will only add this: Williams put so much joy and hope and laughter into our hearts thru the years and his passing as left a hole where happiness once was in the movie world. Pray for his family. Williams’ work inspired and uplifted so many, including yours truly as HOOK remains my all-time favorite film, and as Pan the Man has flown away we feel a bit like lost boys now. Robin Williams we thank you for so many smiles and laughter, O Captain, My Captain. -T

  10. Such tragic, tragic news! I was genuinely devastated this morning when I heard the news. An incomprehensibly talented actor and comedian… such a sad loss.

    1. Hi Dan! Yeah my jaw dropped to the floor when I saw the news. It’s such a sad loss indeed, made me even sadder that he took his own life.

  11. Dreadful news. Still hurting. So many great movies he left behind. Nobody ever had a bad word to say about him. I didn’t know he helped Christopher Reeve so much. Thanks for letting me know.

    1. Hi Alex. Yeah, Robin & Christopher were best friends since they went to Julliard together. What a beautiful friendship it was, too bad they’re both gone too soon!

  12. Beautiful tribute, Ruth! Robin’s passing didn’t hit me as hard because I wasn’t a big fan, but death is always sad and even more so in those tragic circumstances. May he rest in peace.

    1. I think even if you’re not a fan, you likely have seen him in something. It’s true that a tragic passing is always so regrettable. I really feel for his family

        1. I can’t imagine how his wife’s feeling. He just got married 3 years ago! I saw a video of him w/ his daughter Zelda last nite… oh that brought tears to my eyes 😦

    1. It’s still hard to believe even a couple of days later isn’t it? I don’t think there’s anyone who could match Robin’s comic timing, he’s very special indeed.

  13. Very nice post Ruth. Williams’ death was very surprising and heartbreaking. Depression is not an easy illness or fix; once you think it’s managed, it comes back swinging at full force. It never really seems to go away even in the happiest of times. I’m hoping he has found some peace, even if it was in this tragic sudden way.

    1. Thanks Alex! I literally couldn’t focus on anything else the evening I heard the news so I watched a whole bunch of clips from movies and his always-entertaining interviews. His legacy lives on… even now that he’s gone, he shall continue to bring joy to our lives with his comedic talents.

  14. Fine post on a great talent, Ruth. I was still coming to terms with Philip Seymour Hoffman and now this. It’s been a crap year for deaths in the film industry. One of the worst years I can think of. 😦

    1. Thanks for reading Mark. Yeah this is truly a sad year for film fans. I’m glad you did a trivia post on Mr Williams as well as a tribute, he’s lived an extraordinary life… if only he didn’t cut it short 😦

  15. Tom

    Very lovely piece Ruth. It’s going to take me awhile to get through this. That sounds silly since i never personally had the honor of even shaking the guy’s hand, but his imprint on my film experiences both as a kid and as an adult is so so deep it can’t be forgotten. Neither will this week.

  16. Very nice tribute, Ruth. Still can’t believe he’s gone. I watched Hook the night I heard of his passing. Out of all his films, that’s what we picked. Hardly a great movie, but it was a childhood favorite of mine, and his performance is so much fun in it. RIP.

  17. Beautiful write-up, Ruth! He was a big part of my childhood, and it’s a shame he couldn’t be as happy as he made others. Still, he left a legacy of great work for future generations to see.

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