The news of the loss of Robin Williams, age 63, to suicide was somewhat unsettling for me. I recall feeling similarly when we lost Heath Ledger at an all-too-early age, but I couldn't put my finger on what it was that was truly bothering me.
Robin was someone I've grown up with, since his brilliant introduction to TV as Mork on Happy Days, to a stirring dramatic performance in Dead Poet's Society, becoming Mrs. Doubtfire, fighting Captain Hook as an adult Peter Pan, a comedic radioman in Good Morning, Vietnam, and my all time favourite role of his, that of the sensitive, caring Dr. Sean Maguire in Good Will Hunting, a man that has experienced the ups and downs of life first hand.
I think with Robin, I saw a little bit of myself, or what I wanted to be. He was a master of the one-liner, and could make people laugh almost on command. He was intelligent - you could see it in his eyes. He studied and understood people - not just big names such as actors and politicians, but the average person, and what we go through, and that reflected in his humour.
He had another side too, and that side we got glimpses of in his dramatic acting skills. He wasn't just a comedian - he was a performer. He had so much to show the world, to reflect back at us, not just on the surface, but a depth that he also understood.
His passing, most likely by his own hand, shows that even when one has the praise of the world, the wealth of a celebrity, the opportunities to do almost anything he wanted - sometimes its just not enough.
Robin in an excellent example of how important it is to love yourself. The outside world is your playground, your sandbox. You can enjoy it all you want, explore it, bask in it, ignore it - whatever you wish. But the true importance of finding happiness and peace only comes from within. If you can learn to love, enjoy and invest in yourself, that is the foundation to build upon. Robin did his best (and believe me, his best was outstanding) with a shaky personal foundation, and eventually that foundation cracked and crumbled.
So thank you, not only for the joy your performances brought to all of us, but for showing us the importance of taking care of yourself, mentally and spiritually. Message delivered, Robin, and rest peacefully.
I leave you with a look at Robin as Sean Maguire, and his advice to a young man who is way too smart for his own good.