Today the news broke of Robin Williams passing. It seems like we’ve lost so many amazing talents this year but for some reason this feels different.
I remember seeing my first movie in theatres as a kid, and then I remember seeing my first FAVOURITE movie in theatres and that was Aladdin. Robin Williams captured my heart at 7 years old, and likely before that as my Dad was always quoting lines from Mork and Mindy that set me into stitches time and time again.
In 1993, my friend and I were taken to see Mrs. Doubtfire. Another movie that much to my Mother’s dismay was about the story of divorced parents that despite all odds are able to get along. My friend had just seen her parents separate and we had already failed once that year in trying to avoid divorce / reconciliation movies.
But regardless of how sad the story was to those who had just watched their parents go through divorce, Robin Williams was able to show the dark side, and then the light in an otherwise entirely crappy situation. I’ve seen Mrs. Doubtfire more times than I can imagine and despite being in high school when my parents divorced, I still had the comfort in understanding the power of a parents love for their children and the force that drives them to stop at nothing to keep loving their children in an otherwise love-less situation.
Then in 1995 I was invited to a birthday party at Empire Theatres and was invited to accompany the birthday girl into the projection room for a tour. Jumanji scared the pants off me but I will never forget that movie and it’s connection to my first time into the magical world of theatres.
My childhood memories of Robin Williams are endless. Flubber, One Saturday Morning, the introduction to those I had missed like Hook. The re-watching of all of those classics that I fell in love with.
Then came Patch Adams. I first saw Patch Adams as part of our local Youth Group movie night. Everything about that movie rocked me to the core and I went back to watch in theatres 3 more times. I was only 13 years old. It was probably the first drama that I really felt like I understood and it moved me from cartoon land to his more serious roles.
Without going into a full on IMDB summary of his work – the bottom line is from my early years loving movies, into my recent love for him in The Crazy Ones, Robin Williams has been part of my movie-loving DNA.
Within a few minutes of learning the news my sister text me. She’s easily seen Aladdin more times than should be humanly possible, (and oddly enough ended up siding with Jafar after all of that), but she told me that she heard the news and said a friend of hers said that he was so lost in Williams characters that he actually took a minute to figure out who they were talking about when they said his name.
A loss like this is so painful to think about. A man who brought so much joy and laughter into so so many lives, suffering with depression is just about as heartbreaking as it gets. His smiles and laughter I’m sure were often that of a man coping with demons far beyond what most of us will ever understand.
I hope somewhere deep down in his heart before he left us that he had some sense of what he brought to those who loved him. To those whose names he knew, or those of us who were nameless that sat in theatres time after time because we just couldn’t get enough.
Thank you Robin Williams for your smiles, laughter, and your honesty. I will truly miss you.