Robin Williams: The Man Who Changed Lives

It has been a while since an event came along that seemed to rock the world. It has only been a day since the announcement that one of the greatest actors and comedians of our time died in his California home, yet social media and news sites are still paying tribute over and over again. No one has shook their heads and said, “Yet another Hollywood star to die.” There is one simple explanation for that. Robin Williams was a man who changed lives.

No one will forget his brilliance, nor how he impacted them. Maybe the changes he brought to most of our lives were not direct, but the were certainly present.

I remember the first time I ever saw him acting. I was very young, too young  to really understand much of the show Mork & Mindy. Despite my age, some of the humor in the show was childish enough for me to understand. I laughed. It was the first time I really remember laughing from the belly at anything.

Just a short time after the show was cancelled, I saw Robin Williams in a brilliant movie. I was seven at the time, too young again to understand much of what was going on, or to care, but I recognized the man who made me laugh in that TV show, and I watched Good Morning, Vietnam from start to finish. Even at so young an age, I understood the beauty of that film. It is still one of my favorites.

I could go on listing some of my favorites (Dead Poets Society, Fisher King, Aladdin, Mrs. Doubtfire, etc.) but I’m sure that the films on my list are the same as the films on your list. Patch Adams stole my heart. Night at the Museum made me laugh. But for the last 24 hours, since I heard the news of his death and how he died, I couldn’t help but think of one of my all-time favorite Robin Williams films: What Dreams May Come.

I wonder if he thought about that film before he made his decision, and if he feared that maybe there was some level of truth to the premise of heaven and hell like the movie depicted. And I can’t help wondering if he is in such a dark place. It makes my chest tighten and my eyes well up.

Robin Williams left behind a glorious legacy. He touched the lives of everyone he met and everyone who watched his films. The world feels a little more bleak without him in it. Yet he has not left us completely, not yet. There are three films in post-production: Merry Friggin’ Christmas, Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb, and Absolutely Anything. I will watch all three to hold on to him just a little longer. I will re-watch my favorites just to remember what he left behind. I will never forget him.

None of us will.

In five or more years, this event will still be remembered on a tragic scale. Where were you when you heard that Robin Williams died?

What is your favorite Robin Williams movie? Why? Where were you when you heard the news? Leave comments and share in the laughter and tears.

RW quote

Nanoo nanoo. Gone too soon.

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