As we get older, we witness the passing of our heros, our inspirations and our youth. Every time a celebrity from our youth dies, a part of our youth dies with them.
Last year, it was Ray Manzarek, keyboard player for the Doors, today it’s Mr. Williams. My sister Brigitte introduced me to Mork and Mindy way back in 1978 and quite frankly I hadn’t found my “brin de folie” yet as a young 11 year old kid so, I turned away from the sitcom and thought it was quite possibly the worst thing ever made on TV. But, like many fine young teenager growing up in the late 80s, it was Dead Poet Society that won me over, made me rediscover Robin Williams. What a movie. It was said for a long time that if you turned 16 in the 70s and 80s, the Government would assign you a social security number and a Peter Frampton Comes Alive album as a right of passage. Well, in the 90s, Frampton was replaced with a VHS rental coupon for Dead Poet Society.
From this moment on William had my vote. Movies like the Fisher King, Mrs Doubtfire, his outstanding performance in the cinematic marvel that is What Dreams May Come to the unforgettable Good Will Hunting, Mister Williams knocked these crazy balls right out of the park. Heck, I still appreciate Patch Adams and Death to Smoochy, which some may argue were not his finest moments. I disagree, all of Mister Williams movies and TV show appearances (namely his character Merritt Rook in Law & Order SVU) took us on a roller coaster ride that only his amusement park could provide.
Mister Williams’ talent came at a high price for him, I’m afraid. This much madness whether through laughter or drama conveyed an intensity that only a troubled mind could tap into. There were many doors in Mister Williams’ mind, the ones he opened to us displayed a content so brilliant it is difficult to imagine any one else will second such performances, but unfortunately there were many other doors in his mind, doors that opened up to dungeons and caves filled with spider webs and snake pits… the very doors to the many rooms where only he entered and took refuge far too often and eventually decided never to leave.
Tonight, Mister Williams, I raise my glass to you, a fine Cherry Coke Zero. God better hold a special place for you on his couch, maybe even with a remote control privilege. However, if you’re denied Heaven because you took your life, knock St-Peter’s teeth out and have a blast in Hell, that’s where the fun crowd hangs out anyways.
Sorry our love for you couldn’t help clean out some of the webs and rid you of the dark rooms in your mind…