Robin Williams, a fixture in my life ever since I was very young, has died. He was 63, and preliminary reports suggest that he died of suicide. I first became aware of him when Mork and Mindy began airing in 1978, when I was only six. I don’t recall much about the show, and haven’t watched it since it went off the air, but I know that as a little boy, I loved it.
As I aged, Robin Williams’ career progressed. He went on to play Popeye the Sailor in a rather odd musical film about the character. That movie…well, it wasn’t ever great, but it was at least interesting, as was his performance in it. Then he starred in one of my favorite movies, and his first real dramatic movie, Moscow on the Hudson. To this day, that movie, despite its 1980s stink, still holds up very well, as does his performance. He truly is convincing as a Russian sax player.
From there he went on to his first widely-known dramatic role in Good Morning, Vietnam, and that was quickly followed by various comedy and drama roles in movies like Hook, Aladdin, Mrs. Doubtfire, and his Oscar-winning role in Good Will Hunting.
Sadly, in the last decade or so, his career seems to have stumbled. His movies haven’t been critical or box office successes, and his recent TV show, The Crazy Ones, premiered to wide indifference from audiences and critics alike, and was cancelled after only one season. It didn’t help that he’d struggled with depression and drug and alcohol abuse, including a relapse into drinking, and a recent checking-in at a rehab facility.
That he is dead is a surprise to me. That it was suicide is not. He will certainly be missed. Now here’s something to laugh at.