Tuesday, August 12, 2014

The Robin Williams I Remember

What can one say about Robin Williams? He was a man that almost everyone throughout the world loved, admired, appreciated and respected for his talent, his charm, wit, charisma and willingness to show the world the scars along with the beauty that was his life.

Robin Williams has left this world, he has left us, his fans, but more importantly, he has left those closest to him, his wife and children.

I won't spend a great deal of time listing his long list of artistic achievements, accolades or awards. Nor will I spiel-off his unequaled professional performances in film, on stage and television. I will not issue a list of his shortcomings. There are plenty of other sites, newspapers and magazines that will be filtering that information for the next several weeks.

I simply want to share what Robin Williams has meant to me over these last nearly four decades since I first became acutely aware of him and his unique brand of schitzy and brilliant performing. Like most in the world I received my first full introduction to Robin when he made a guest appearance on the Happy Days sitcom in 1978. However, that really wasn't my freshman taste of his genius. I do remember an uncredited bit player in the 1977 very short-lived variety program known as The Richard Pryor Show. I thought then that this guy had something special but wasn't sure from just those few outings if he could blossom on the American television of the 1970’s. I was wrong.

Robin and I come from that same middle America generation growing up in the “duck and cover” 1950’s and the rebellious free love, sex and rock n’ roll 1960’s. Because of that kinship with me and the countless other U.S. ‘baby-boomers’ Robin spoke particularly to us and was, without doubt, the purest expression of our generation — full of break-out ideas and idealism, an almost psychotic-like need to express hatred for “the man” or authority of any kind (so wonderfully displayed in The World According to Garp, Good Morning Vietnam and Dead Poet’s Society), the need to create, build something new and different in all avenues of life both tried and true and untested horizons; and sadly, a destructive perchance toward deadly addictive behavior. Robin was our generation’s Poster Child — free-spirited, beautifully psychotic, schizoid in his unbridled creativity, raw intelligence off the charts, introspective yet with an unquenchable need to be seen and heard, as well as overtly obsessive.

Robin Williams was us while remaining uniquely himself and he will be greatly, greatly missed.

We love you Robin, I only hope you knew how much — R.I.P. and keep heaven laughing.

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