I wish I could say I was a surprised, but unfortunately over the last few years so many wonderful actors have died that, I didn't even really question it when I first saw the news. Nonetheless, it is still tragic considering the fact that Robin Williams died young for this day and age, and most sad of all, took his own life.
And then I wondered, if it doesn't sound to strangely selfish, what Robin Williams meant to me - because in the end, what else can an audience or film viewer ask? And the answer is, a lot. I realised that Robin Williams had an important part of my childhood movie experience. I had grown up watching Aladdin (1992), Jumanji (1995), Ferngully (1992) and Hook (1991). Films I shall always have a great fondness for - even still love. I mean Aladdin is just brilliant! Even into adulthood it is still one of my favourite Disney films, and Robin Williams is a huge part of its brilliance. An irreplaceable, integral part.
He was also the first actor I ever realised was the voice of someone from a Disney film, perhaps even the first voice actor I realised existed or recognised at all.
I also remember watching him in Bicentennial Man (1999), one of the few movies that made me cry. The fact I only caught it the once on my home television, and that yet I still remember it so avidly is kind of justification itself for the impact it had - and in retrospect, Williams perform was subtle, and moving. Something I doubt I appreciated at the time, again because I was young.
I need to watch that film again, and Jumanji, because in the end, I think, that's the best tribute you can give to an actor or a filmmaker. I'm sure I've said it before, about Gordon Willis and Elizabeth Sladen, but that's because I believe it's true. Enjoy what they created, watch their films. Laugh, and cry, and enjoy them - and they will never be forgotten. Robin Williams is the genie Aladdin and always will be, and hopefully not just for my generation, but all the next ones too.
Note: In this post I have not discussed the depression/mental illness that caused Williams to take his own life, even though there has been quite a bit of media connecting the actor with these issues. I just wanted to say that I do appreciate the issue of mental health and depression, and actively spread awareness about them, however I felt this blog was not really the place for an in-depth piece into those issues. I encourage everyone to do research into mental health to gain a better understanding of it and the help available.