I was five years old when Mork and Mindy debuted. I loved it. I watched it every chance I could. Mork was hilarious, unique, and amazing to watch. As I grew older I came to realize quickly that Mork wasn't so much a character as a representation of its actor, Robin Williams. I'm told much of the script consisted of blank sections labeled "Mork does his thing".
I honestly could not tell you how many Robin Williams quotes pop up in my everyday references, many of them thirty years old. I can still quote lines from some of his early standup routines. I watched Good Morning Vietnam more times than I can count, and Aladdin more times than that. Dead Poet Society remains one of my all time favorite movies, along with Hook, The Bird Cage, Mrs. Doubtfire, and more. I've seen many movies merely because Robin Williams was in it, and even the ones I didn't like, I usually still enjoyed Robin's performance. Happy or serious, he was always a great watch.
Throughout the vast majority of my life, Robin Williams has always been a treat I looked forward to catching. So it was heartbreaking this evening to find that he was lost to us to us today, even more tragic was the circumstances. After a long battle with depression, he apparently took his own life.
I've watched first hand as people close to me battled with depression. It's horrible to witness, and I can't imagine how much worse it must be to experience. Robin's loss only reinforces how dangerous it is. Upon learning of William's death, New York magazine film critic Bilge Ebiri tweeted "You start off as a kid seeing Robin Williams as a funny man. You come of
age realizing many of his roles are about keeping darkness at bay."
Today the darkness won. A man so loved and admired by many reached the point where he felt he had nothing and no one left to live for. A solid reminder of the dangers the disease presents. If you suffer from it, take the medication, seek help, and fight with all your might. If you love someone who suffers from it, never trivialize it, be there to support them, and take the steps necessary to see them safe, even if it is hard to do.
Hopefully, his loss will save someone else.
In the mean time, I will continue to appreciate what he left behind. Perhaps I'll go watch one of the above movies, or catch one of the few that I never got around to. Above all I will remember to carpe diem.
“You're only given a little spark of madness. You mustn't lose it.”
Captain, my captain.