RIP Robin Williams - A Remembrance

To be honest, when I was a kid growing up, I didn't think much of Robin Williams.  I really didn't didn't like Mork from Ork when he stopped by Happy Days, or when he got his own show. 

One night Tony Randall was a guest on the Tonight Show, and Johnny Carson asked Randall who he thought was and coming comedian.  Randall answered, Robin Williams.  I think the audience and Carson was a bit surprised by this, but Randall, held up his hand, and said something like, "You see him only on tv, where his energy is restrained."  Randall when on to say something like Williams had a unique energy and incredible improv skills that made him special.  I thought, at the time, "Yeah, right, he's just funny being goofy."

In the late 80's, he starred in Good Morning Vietnam, which is a drama, with funny moments.  All my friends loved the movie, as did the Academy, but I thought it was just all right. 

But three movies he made thereafter changed my opinion of Williams.  Awakenings, Dead Poets Society and Mrs. Doubtfire.  To generalize, two of these are dramas, and one is a comedy, but all three characters he played had such a wonderful sincere blend of seriousness, compassion, sincerity, and humor that I was enamored by his talent.  In short, I became a fan of his work.

From that point forward, I watched his performances more closely, and really appreciated the depth he gave the characters he played, and the improvisational talents he brought into the movie, best displayed by a particular scene he had with Matt Damon in Good Will Hunting.

A couple of years ago, I was watching Mork and Mindy re-runs on tv, and knowing how "Wild and Crazy," (to borrow a description that would be used to describe Steve Martin) Williams could be on stage, I really appreciated Williams as Mork.  Though it is  a classic sitcom, and one where there is a moral at the end of each episode, Williams brought a complexity to Mork that you don't see in one viewing.

So, I will miss Robin Williams.  He brought a lot of joy and smiles to many people.  Including me.  His characters had their share of sad and happy moments.  Through the characters he played, he showed that life is complex, that it is 360 degrees.

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