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RIP Robin Williams
August 11, 2014 4:40 PM   Subscribe

Robin Wiliams famous for his impressions, role as Genie in Aladdin, standup comedy, Mrs. Doubtfire and many other comedy roles has died at the age of 63.
posted by Carillon (856 comments total) 72 users marked this as a favorite

 
Fuck depression.
posted by eriko at 4:40 PM on August 11 [133 favorites]


O captain, my captain. :(
posted by Hermione Granger at 4:40 PM on August 11 [87 favorites]


He was a genius at his craft.

You will be dearly missed, Robin Williams.

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posted by royalsong at 4:41 PM on August 11 [3 favorites]


This is horrible. The death of someone in Hollywood has never brought me to tears before. RIP.
posted by nasayre at 4:41 PM on August 11 [17 favorites]


Just lit a candle.
posted by alms at 4:41 PM on August 11




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posted by Small Dollar at 4:41 PM on August 11 [1 favorite]


Holy shit.

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posted by zardoz at 4:42 PM on August 11


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posted by cashman at 4:42 PM on August 11


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posted by iviken at 4:42 PM on August 11


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posted by walkinginsunshine at 4:42 PM on August 11


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posted by Carillon at 4:42 PM on August 11


Nanu, nanu.
posted by chavenet at 4:42 PM on August 11 [31 favorites]


I actually expected to see this already but yeah problems with depression and substance abuse have really haunted Robin Williams for a good percentage of his career. It's a shame that a person that focused so much of his career on making people laugh seemed to struggle so much with his own passage through life.
posted by vuron at 4:42 PM on August 11 [34 favorites]


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posted by argybarg at 4:42 PM on August 11


Holy Shit. Very sad to lose someone so talented.

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posted by UhOhChongo! at 4:42 PM on August 11


:/
posted by elizardbits at 4:42 PM on August 11


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posted by suelac at 4:42 PM on August 11


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posted by achrise at 4:42 PM on August 11


You will not believe how bad this news will make you feel as it sinks in - this wonderful funny man, this genius, dead by his own hand, my god.

Goddam, my fellow mefites, if you have depression, please please please reach out to someone.
posted by madamjujujive at 4:42 PM on August 11 [155 favorites]


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posted by gauche at 4:43 PM on August 11


This tweet from The Trevor Project:
You are important, and you matter to us.— The Trevor Project (@TrevorProject) August 11, 2014

posted by larrybob at 4:43 PM on August 11 [14 favorites]


I do not like this at all.
posted by COBRA! at 4:43 PM on August 11


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Naa noo, naa noo.
posted by vrakatar at 4:43 PM on August 11 [1 favorite]




Fuck.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 4:43 PM on August 11


wow. he's been a comedy fixture since I was a kid. That's a big loss.
posted by angrycat at 4:43 PM on August 11


The comedown from fame seems especially brutal in celebrity-obsessed America. The amount of happiness he brought to millions is immense, and there is grace in that.
posted by four panels at 4:43 PM on August 11 [5 favorites]


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posted by nickmark at 4:43 PM on August 11


Ah, no. He will be very much missed and is very much loved.

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posted by but no cigar at 4:43 PM on August 11


Cocaine is a hell of a drug.
posted by klangklangston at 4:43 PM on August 11 [5 favorites]


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Too freakin' young. He was supposed to linger on like Mel Brooks and make wonderful cameo appearances.
posted by Atreides at 4:44 PM on August 11 [46 favorites]


Robin Williams work and life spanned so many generations and meant wildly different things to each of them.
If you're my age, your first impression of him was from Mork & Mindy and HBO specials you weren't allowed to come into the living room when the grown ups were watching. Back when he was a coked-up manic comic, the likes of which the world had literally never seen before. Ever.
My personal-best-favorite role of his was and probably will always be his Popeye from Robert Altman's ill-fated Nillson-songed musical in 1980. His take on what could have been a broad comic caricature read with a kind of tender loneliness that today just seems to put into harsh relief.
My gen also most-likely remembers him from a crazy run of hits in the 80s where he ran a vibrant spectrum of stylistic turns as everything from a recent Soviet emigre, to a motormouthed DJ, to a an oddball fantasy hobo, to an inspirational lightning bolt at an Ivy League prep school. Looking at his IMDB page right now its stunning seeing how many different faces he put on all run down in one place.
But he had a canny ability to—if not entirely chameleon himself—shape-shift himself enough to fit effortlessly into any number of different personas while still remaining very much himself.
If you're slightly younger, he's the genie from Aladdin.
Slightly younger than that, he's Mrs. Doubtfire.
Slightly younger than that, he's any one of his characters from his run of family movies in the 90s. Jumanji, Flubber, Good Will Hunting, take your pick.
He's spent the last decade leaving that stuff to the Ben Stillers and Adam Sandlers and exploring a darker side that we are just now seeing was darker than we thought, with left field turns in Insomnia, One Hour Photo and the brilliant World's Greatest Dad.
In everything he did, he always managed to communicate a certain vulnerability, even when working broad comedy like in Doubtfire.
Robin Williams was a unique and wholly uncommon talent and I doubt we'll ever see another quite like him.


posted by Senor Cardgage at 4:44 PM on August 11 [164 favorites]


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posted by Quilford at 4:45 PM on August 11


RIP, you magnificent, funny man.

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posted by theBigRedKittyPurrs at 4:45 PM on August 11 [2 favorites]


wtfbbqNONONO

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posted by New England Cultist at 4:45 PM on August 11 [3 favorites]


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posted by cnanderson at 4:45 PM on August 11 [1 favorite]


Shazbot!

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posted by Pink Frost at 4:45 PM on August 11 [16 favorites]


This is no good.

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posted by turbid dahlia at 4:45 PM on August 11


Jake Johannsen.

4:50 sums it up.
posted by Cyrano at 4:45 PM on August 11


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posted by Amplify at 4:45 PM on August 11


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posted by disclaimer at 4:45 PM on August 11


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posted by bolognius maximus at 4:46 PM on August 11


Don't even know what to say.
posted by jenfullmoon at 4:46 PM on August 11 [2 favorites]


"To quote from Whitman,
'O me! O life! of the questions of these recurring,
Of the endless trains of the faithless, of cities fill'd with the foolish...
What good amid these, O me, O life?'
Answer. That you are here - that life exists, and identity; that the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse. That the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse. What will your verse be?"

Robin Williams, you had a hell of a verse. It's a shame it wasn't longer.

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posted by that silly white dress at 4:46 PM on August 11 [37 favorites]


Always looked forward to him showing up on late night shows, where he was completely unpredictable, usually bonkers, and nearly always had me in stitches. No more. Deep sigh.

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posted by /\/\/\/ at 4:46 PM on August 11 [2 favorites]


fuck. .
posted by divabat at 4:47 PM on August 11


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posted by cooker girl at 4:47 PM on August 11


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posted by Kimothy at 4:47 PM on August 11


this is one of those things I will continuously forget about, like the fact that Phillip Seymour Hoffman and James Gandolfini are not here anymore.

Just because...it seems impossible. I didn't even like a lot of his schtick a lot of the time but as was said in the other deleted thread, it's basically impossible for there not to be something in his work you don't love.

Also, yes, fuck the depression and I know he'd been struggling with that and the shadows of his addiction.
posted by sweetkid at 4:47 PM on August 11 [27 favorites]


EIGHTEEN TIMES!!!!!!
posted by eriko at 4:47 PM on August 11 [2 favorites]


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posted by double bubble at 4:47 PM on August 11


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posted by migrantology at 4:47 PM on August 11


He was Popeye.
posted by chavenet at 4:47 PM on August 11 [12 favorites]


I remember hearing an interview with Steven Spielberg where he said that during the making of Schindler's List he would get so depressed about the nature of what he was filming that the only thing that could lift his mood was calling his friend Robin Williams to make him laugh.

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posted by gwint at 4:47 PM on August 11 [72 favorites]


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Mr. Williams was such an integral part of my childhood. It's sad that I'm only realizing this now.
posted by kyp at 4:47 PM on August 11 [25 favorites]


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posted by cybrcamper at 4:47 PM on August 11


Damn. .
posted by octothorpe at 4:47 PM on August 11


I am genuinely shocked. He was an amazing comedian, and his ability to make the transition to dramatic roles was impressive to say the least.

People will rightfully point to Mork and Mindy, Good Will Hunting, Good Morning Vietnam, The Birdcage, and a list of other classics that demonstrated his amazing abilities.

But for my money: Death to Smoochy (and briefly in the underrated Shakes the Clown). Fucking brilliant, dark, and awesome work that took his genius for comedy, his powerful drama chops, and just a weird sense of humor and combined them all into something better than it ever should have been.

He Will Be Missed.

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posted by quin at 4:48 PM on August 11 [23 favorites]


*stands on desk*
posted by desjardins at 4:48 PM on August 11 [74 favorites]


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posted by kythuen at 4:48 PM on August 11


. Watch this and think of him that way.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:48 PM on August 11 [3 favorites]


I loved his little part, as a disgraced shrink who now works as a produce clerk, in "Dead Again".

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posted by thelonius at 4:48 PM on August 11 [29 favorites]


I said "holy shit" a bunch of times when I heard this on the radio on the way home. Damn.

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posted by rtha at 4:48 PM on August 11 [2 favorites]


The comedown from fame seems especially brutal...

Depression will make the most bountiful situations seem like the most brutal comedown in the world if it wants to. That's just what it does. Senseless and brutal.

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posted by ambrosen at 4:48 PM on August 11 [21 favorites]


I've read about celebrity deaths so many times on the internet that I thought I'd become inured to it.

I was wrong.

When I saw it flit by on my twitter feed, I gasped, then immediately hoped it was another hoaxer. I couldn't wrap my mind around it, but the appalling scroll on Tweetdeck continued.

All of a sudden, I was sitting here with tears running down my face and onto my chest.

This one hurt me. Robin Williams was the most contemporary comic in terms of age and sensibility to my generation, I think. Seeing the Marin County Sheriff's press release was like a knife in my heart.

Oh, Robin, I loved your work so.
posted by pjern at 4:48 PM on August 11 [46 favorites]


Robin, it wasn't your fault.

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posted by the painkiller at 4:48 PM on August 11 [63 favorites]


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posted by homunculus at 4:49 PM on August 11


I cannot begin to describe how important Dead Poets Society was to me when I was 14. At the time, I wanted to be a teacher. What I really wanted to be was a teacher like Robin Williams's Mr. Keating.

Need proof? I'm pasting in this quote while looking at a wallpaper in my desktop at work with the words of "O me! O life!" on it. Uncle Walt is my spirit guide, and I have Robin Williams to thank for that.

"We don't read and write poetry because it's cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. And medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for. To quote from Whitman, "O me! O life!... of the questions of these recurring; of the endless trains of the faithless... of cities filled with the foolish; what good amid these, O me, O life?" Answer. That you are here - that life exists, and identity; that the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse. That the powerful play *goes on* and you may contribute a verse. What will your verse be?"
posted by zooropa at 4:49 PM on August 11 [46 favorites]


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posted by ob at 4:49 PM on August 11 [1 favorite]


I am frightened for all those who feel the demon of despair. He was the best ever.
posted by apartment dweller at 4:49 PM on August 11 [5 favorites]


He was so brilliantly quick and funny; it's so tragic that he gave laughter and happiness to so many, but couldn't find that for himself.
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posted by NoraCharles at 4:49 PM on August 11 [4 favorites]


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There's going to be a Robin Williams shaped hole in the world for a long long time to come.
posted by Grimgrin at 4:50 PM on August 11 [14 favorites]


quin, you absolutely need to check out World's Greatest Dad.
posted by Senor Cardgage at 4:50 PM on August 11 [7 favorites]


Fuck depression.

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posted by weathergal at 4:50 PM on August 11 [2 favorites]


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This sucks. My God, this man was funny. I am so sorry for his family. I knew he had demons, but I am so sad that he had to leave us to escape them. Rest in peace, sir.
posted by mosk at 4:50 PM on August 11 [3 favorites]


The comedown from fame seems especially brutal...

Don't presume that. He was working to the end and still famous (evidently).
posted by stbalbach at 4:50 PM on August 11 [7 favorites]


Depression is a hydra, and there are always more heads than swords. RIP buddy.
posted by mykescipark at 4:50 PM on August 11 [42 favorites]


Good night Vietnam
posted by humanfont at 4:50 PM on August 11 [4 favorites]


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He taught me how wonderful it is to laugh, which is one of the great pleasures of my life. So much in my life would be different had I not figured that out pretty early. I will always treasure him.
posted by sallybrown at 4:50 PM on August 11 [2 favorites]


Rest In Peace Mrs. Doubtfire. Fuck depression!
posted by RedShrek at 4:50 PM on August 11


They're not that different from you, are they? Same haircuts. Full of hormones, just like you. Invincible, just like you feel. The world is their oyster. They believe they're destined for great things, just like many of you, their eyes are full of hope, just like you. Did they wait until it was too late to make from their lives even one iota of what they were capable? Because, you see gentlemen, these boys are now fertilizing daffodils. But if you listen real close, you can hear them whisper their legacy to you. Go on, lean in. Listen, you hear it? - - Carpe - - hear it? - - Carpe, carpe diem, seize the day boys, make your lives extraordinary.

***

Twenty-six years buried in the deepest darkest jungle, and I still became my father.


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posted by learnsome at 4:50 PM on August 11 [15 favorites]


My boyfriend and I are working our way through Louis and saw the Robin Williams episode on Sunday night. I can't believe he killed himself.
posted by Wantok at 4:50 PM on August 11


How sad. For those interested in supporting suicide prevention, I just donated to SAVE (Suicide Awareness Voices of Education) this morning.

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posted by funkiwan at 4:51 PM on August 11 [6 favorites]


Also, if you haven't heard the WTF interview, you really should. Williams is so open and honest, and comes across as so fragile.
posted by gwint at 4:51 PM on August 11 [31 favorites]


As silly as it sounds, this is how I prefer to remember him.
posted by Senor Cardgage at 4:51 PM on August 11 [4 favorites]


you are important, and you matter to us.
posted by puckish at 4:51 PM on August 11 [5 favorites]


A lot of people on Twitter and Facebook are posting links to suicide crisis hotlines now.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:51 PM on August 11 [3 favorites]


"You know, everybody dies. My parents died. Your father died. Everybody dies. I'm going to die too. So will you. The thing is, to have a life before we die. It can be a real adventure having a life." -- World According to Garp, 1982.

Godspeed, Robin.
posted by Capt. Renault at 4:51 PM on August 11 [40 favorites]


Such a shock. I had no idea he was battling such severe depression. I remember being a kid and wearing out my VHS tape of Aladdin. It remains one of my favourite movies.
RIP.
posted by cozenedindigo at 4:52 PM on August 11


I remember that first HBO special of his in the late seventies. He was was like a different species up there, I'd never seen anything like it.
posted by octothorpe at 4:52 PM on August 11 [8 favorites]


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posted by LooseFilter at 4:52 PM on August 11


Oh honey. This is so sad.
posted by theredpen at 4:52 PM on August 11 [1 favorite]


I remember watching Robin Williams on Mork and Mindy, when it first aired. I even saw the Happy Days episodes it spun off from. I've seen him perform in movies, comedies and dramas both. I've seen his stand up specials, and him helping to host Comic Relief. I saw his amazing interview on Inside the Actors Studio, and his fiercely amazing piece of improv with the pink scarf (which I wish I could find online in its entirety). I've seen him on Whose Line, on late night talk shows, in all kinds of media settings.

He was beautiful and hilarious and unbelievably talented and riotously funny. When you are that crazy creative, the part of your brain that filters, that judges, is turned off, at least in that moment. I'm sorry it was not present to help him realize how beloved he was, and what an enormous loss his death would be.

Rest in peace, Robin. I hope there is an afterlife where you have the chance to feel as much happiness and joy as you gave all of us here on earth.

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posted by booksherpa at 4:52 PM on August 11 [16 favorites]


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posted by Michele in California at 4:52 PM on August 11


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posted by caryatid at 4:52 PM on August 11


He long acknowledged his debt to Jonathon Winters, who influenced him tremendously. This is another thing they had in common: both of them suffered from Bipolar Disorder.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 4:52 PM on August 11 [12 favorites]


... I can't even.

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posted by lonefrontranger at 4:52 PM on August 11 [2 favorites]


I was prompted to recall this recent piece in the NYT:
Abd al-Rahman III^ was an emir and caliph of Córdoba in 10th-century Spain. He was an absolute ruler who lived in complete luxury. Here’s how he assessed his life:

“I have now reigned above 50 years in victory or peace; beloved by my subjects, dreaded by my enemies, and respected by my allies. Riches and honors, power and pleasure, have waited on my call, nor does any earthly blessing appear to have been wanting to my felicity.”

Fame, riches and pleasure beyond imagination. Sound great? He went on to write:

“I have diligently numbered the days of pure and genuine happiness which have fallen to my lot: They amount to 14.”

Abd al-Rahman’s problem wasn’t happiness, as he believed — it was unhappiness.


Williams had an Oscar (and three additional nominations), six Golden Globes, and two Emmys. I wonder how many days of pure and genuine happiness he had.

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posted by dhartung at 4:52 PM on August 11 [28 favorites]


Fuck. No. This is so terrible.

I remember watching a video of one of his stand-up shows with friends in the late 80s and laughing so hard we were on the floor with badly aching ribs and we had to watch it all again because we had missed so much from laughing so hard.

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posted by drnick at 4:53 PM on August 11 [6 favorites]


I'm sorry you had to suffer through this, Robin. But thank you for getting as far as you could. You were a sweet, brave soul and you brought so many people joy. I will remember you for the Genie, the Captain and the Fisher King. And those episodes of Whose Line, oh man. Thank you.

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posted by fight or flight at 4:53 PM on August 11 [5 favorites]


We shared a birthday and, until recently, a first name, and in that weird way facilitated by the Internet that made me feel attached to him. What a loss.

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posted by dorque at 4:53 PM on August 11


Though I have my own personal understanding of depression, it still blows my mind how a person like Williams could have such insight into ways to make others feel better about life...

yet be unable to find that way for himself.
posted by nasayre at 4:53 PM on August 11 [6 favorites]


I watched and watched and rewatched "Live at the Roxy" so many times growing up. What a talent and what a loss. And I'll second Senor Cardgage on World's Greatest Dad. That's an amazing movie.

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posted by brundlefly at 4:53 PM on August 11 [1 favorite]


"A whole human life is just a heartbeat here in Heaven."

Aside from some slightly unrealistic ideas of relationships, What Dreams May Come also instilled in me a picture of what comes after this that no amount of church or skepticism has since been able to shake. I hope, whatever comes after, that it gives him some peace and a respite. It's so easy to get lost in pain, but nobody deserves it.
posted by Sequence at 4:53 PM on August 11 [8 favorites]


Oh, how sad.
posted by norm at 4:53 PM on August 11


I can't believe Robin Williams is dead! He seemed so irrepressibly full of life.

Some video clips from my mom's blog, Althouse, which I won't link to because of this site's policy:

His first appearance on the Tonight Show

With Johnny Carson again, 10 years later

A scene from Dead Poets Society:
Gerard Pitts (reading): This same flower that smiles today, tomorrow will be dying...

John Keating [Robin Williams]: Why does the writer use these lines? ... Because we are food for worms, lads. Because believe it or not, each and every one of us in this room is one day going to stop breathing, turn cold, and die. I'd like you to step over here and peruse some of the faces from the past. You've walked past them many times. I don't think you've really looked at them...
posted by John Cohen at 4:53 PM on August 11 [9 favorites]


And, separately, so no negativity in my remembrance of him:

Fuck you, depression, you goddamn fucking miserable bastard.
posted by booksherpa at 4:53 PM on August 11 [27 favorites]


This is terrible. He was around my entire life and every day I think of at least one skit or comedy bit of his. (Most often the funeral skit(s) on the Carol Burnett show, since every take was radically different from the last, but also his non-comedic part in The World According to Garp.)
posted by small_ruminant at 4:53 PM on August 11 [1 favorite]




YAWP!!!


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posted by kimberussell at 4:54 PM on August 11 [7 favorites]


Godspeed Mork.

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posted by MikeMc at 4:54 PM on August 11 [1 favorite]


Found this out when my friend texted the news to me... I literally yelled "oh no!"

Breaks my heart. I grew up with Mork & Mindy, Mrs. Doubtfire, and so many others. Husband and I will be watching Birdcage with a glass of wine to salute him.

Fuck depression. Gah.
posted by Verdandi at 4:54 PM on August 11 [1 favorite]


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posted by penguin pie at 4:55 PM on August 11


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posted by peripathetic at 4:55 PM on August 11


My personal favorite Robin Williams role was Sean Maguire in Good Will Hunting. There was something about his acting there that was so un-Williams-like that made it just transcendent. And, my wife and I met and fell in love during the Red Sox' 2004 playoff run, so there's that too.

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posted by The Michael The at 4:55 PM on August 11 [4 favorites]


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posted by aerotive at 4:55 PM on August 11


I know this sounds silly, but about once a year I watch Awakenings.

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posted by phaedon at 4:55 PM on August 11 [13 favorites]


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posted by radwolf76 at 4:56 PM on August 11


Also, if you haven't heard the WTF interview yt , you really should. Williams is so open and honest, and comes across as so fragile.
posted by gwint at 7:51 PM on August 11


It's one of the best interviews I've ever heard, and I think it initially turned a lot of people on to the WTF podcast. Williams was truly a very intelligent man.

When you're very smart and have a very active mental life, things that increase your ability to process even more information - cocaine, amphetamine - is rapturous. But it demands such a terrible price.
posted by four panels at 4:56 PM on August 11 [14 favorites]


If you haven't seen it (especially if you've only really known his more frenetic comedic roles), I highly recommend Awakenings.
posted by argonauta at 4:56 PM on August 11 [10 favorites]


For someone I never met, he had a hell of an influence on my life - Groucho Marx, Erma Bombeck, James Thurber and Robin Williams shaped my sense of humor, which has been core to my identity and mental health. I am shocked and really sad that he's left us so soon.
posted by gingerest at 4:56 PM on August 11 [9 favorites]


In addition to being crazily talented, he was a deeply generous man to others on stage with him. A gazillion years ago I sat in with an improv group he was involved in. Having him on stage felt so safe that everyone would be inspired to new flights of imagination.

The world without him and without Jonathan Winters, his inspiration, is a dark place.

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posted by jasper411 at 4:56 PM on August 11 [8 favorites]


Awakenings. Oh GOD, Awakenings. DeNiro gets to do his thing, but Williams' low key approach really hold that marvelous film together.
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI at 4:56 PM on August 11 [9 favorites]


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posted by ChrisR at 4:57 PM on August 11


I remember seeing Insomnia and thinking, wow, if you had told me twenty years earlier that Robin Williams and Al Pacino would one day star in a movie together, and you asked me to guess which one would give the more nuanced performance of the two, I'm pretty sure I would have guessed incorrectly.

Which is to say that there were so many layers to Williams' work, usually coming down to a deep sense of empathy, which itself is finds its core in the shared sorrows of humanity, as much as its shared joys. Even the more treacly turns of his career (Patch Adams, etc.) can be seen as an exercise in finding ways to laugh in the face of what seems unbearable or unendurable.

I am so sorry he couldn't bear his own pain any longer. That he endured as long as he could was a gift to us all. I hope he's at peace, and that his family finds some comfort in this awful, inexplicable time.

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posted by scody at 4:57 PM on August 11 [51 favorites]


I was never a huge fan of his, but I watched "One Hour Photo" a while back and was blown away. It showed me a completely different aspect of Williams as a performer, and it's sad to think that we won't have any more performances line that to look forward to.
posted by wintermind at 4:57 PM on August 11 [20 favorites]


I can't remember the trip. I don't know where we were going or whether we were on our way there or on our way back.

On the flight, though, on the in-flight entertainment system, there was a comedy station and on it they were playing a snippet from Robin Williams' comedy album. This was in the late 70's? The early 80's? I was a kid. Maybe 12.

The clip of Williams was him as Mr. Rogers, but a warped, twisted version of Mr. Rogers. Maybe it was Mr. Rogers on acid? I laughed so hard. I mean, I'd never heard anything like it in my life. The voices and the cultural references changed quickly and I'm sure he was saying stuff that went way over my head.

I wouldn't know - I was laughing so hard I could barely get a breath in. I listened to that same station for the entire trip just to hear that bit again and again.

I'm no Robin Williams, but I do comedy and I have depression. When depression washes over me, the evil little voice in my head tells me I'm letting everyone down by being sad. Put on a smile. Make a joke. Don't let anyone know or you'll ruin the fun for everyone. I'm projecting, but what must that be like when you feel like you'll be letting down absolutely anyone you meet if they know you're hurting? Lord know being anonymous means I can walk through the street with a frown and not feel like I'm a disappointment. Projecting, I know.

Mr. Williams, thank you for every single moment of joy you brought me over the years. Thank you especially for The Fisher King, especially for singing "Lydia the Tattooed Lady," but also for The Adventures of Baron Munchausen and - yes - for Popeye. And everything, really.
posted by Joey Michaels at 4:57 PM on August 11 [47 favorites]


Shocked to the core. He was one of my most favourite actors ever - I would watch anything with him in it, because he always gave 110%. My stomach hurts.
posted by NorthernAutumn at 4:58 PM on August 11


i'm going to highlight it again because it's just that good. if you haven't listened to marc maron interview robin williams you really should. it is an amazing hour and crucial for fans of the man or his work to hear.
posted by nadawi at 4:58 PM on August 11 [13 favorites]


Just listened to Williams on WTF with Marc Maron the other night. Maron must be getting weary of eulogizing his past guests and guest candidates.

I was in junior high when Mork and Mindy aired. Loved it, loved him.

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posted by Sheydem-tants at 4:59 PM on August 11


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posted by 404 Not Found at 4:59 PM on August 11


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posted by Smart Dalek at 4:59 PM on August 11


One period feels just way too small for such a large hole he leaves
posted by waraw at 4:59 PM on August 11 [9 favorites]


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posted by acb at 4:59 PM on August 11


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posted by batfish at 4:59 PM on August 11


Depression is cancer of the soul.

Fuck you, Depression.

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posted by romakimmy at 5:00 PM on August 11 [8 favorites]


I can't find any examples on youtube, but his improvs with Jonathan Winters on Mork & Mindy were some of the funniest things ever put on tv.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 5:00 PM on August 11 [6 favorites]


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posted by djseafood at 5:01 PM on August 11


. Dude, you were the best, and you were the funniest, and this breaks my heart.
posted by Wordshore at 5:01 PM on August 11 [1 favorite]


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posted by tonycpsu at 5:01 PM on August 11


No, no, no. This is horrible.

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posted by SpacemanStix at 5:01 PM on August 11


During my life, some old and some young celebrities have died. This is the first death that makes me feel mortal.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 5:01 PM on August 11 [2 favorites]


Gather ye rosebuds...

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posted by Navelgazer at 5:01 PM on August 11 [2 favorites]


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posted by fook at 5:02 PM on August 11


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I don't feel like I can say this to the person I want to say this to, so I'm going to say this to everyone here: if you have personal experience with suicide, and if it's going to be horrible for you to follow this, it's ok to step away from the news and the internet for a while. You are not obligated to read Twitter and Facebook and all the articles with all the gory details if it's going to make you relive shit and cause you pain. Feel free to turn it all off for as long as you need to.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 5:02 PM on August 11 [95 favorites]


Goodbye, Robin. You'll be sorely missed.
posted by Mooski at 5:02 PM on August 11


ah fuck, the sesame street tweet.
posted by nadawi at 5:02 PM on August 11 [43 favorites]


This is shocking, saddening news. That said, Robin Williams spirit lives on in everyone he entertained - and to whom he brought joy and one of the most marvelous senses of wonder and "aha!" moments in the history of our time.

There are few real comedic geniuses- especially with the special gift of unapproachable spontaneity that Robin Williams had. He could be jaw-dropping funny, and light up his audience' mind with his truly rare gifts of improvisation. He was a also superb actor.

Many years ago, I remember reading that when he want to Julliard, everyone there knew that he would make a significant contributions, but they didn't know exactly which ones because he had so many talents. He oozed spontaneous creativity and human insight.

Godspeed Robin, to your next adventure; I won't stop laughing, even through the tears.
posted by Vibrissae at 5:02 PM on August 11 [4 favorites]


Out of all of the celebrity deaths up to this point in my life, this is the only one that got me sobbing.

I never even knew he had depression.
posted by CottonCandyCapers at 5:02 PM on August 11 [2 favorites]


I am so very sad to read this. Hugs to his family, friends and fans around the world.
posted by Lynsey at 5:03 PM on August 11


What you all don't understand is how this scares me so. I know all about humor against depression. I've used it all my life.

And for the funniest guy on the earth? It didn't work. The darkness won.

Fuck. Just fuck.

God, I hope these meds keep working. Everyone who says "I can't believe this" is someone who's not fighting it.

God dammit, Robin, I thought you beat it. I thought you had the answer.

Fuck.

As to a moment of silence? No. Robin Williams hated silence, and I know why.

Fuck.
posted by eriko at 5:04 PM on August 11 [145 favorites]


Damn it, this is just plain sad. He was so good at bringing an emotion, wriggling like the most difficult thought, to the surface. Whether that emotion was joy, humor, sadness or regret to those who experienced him through his craft, his humanity. I will miss that very human sensibility. Damn.
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posted by jadepearl at 5:04 PM on August 11 [1 favorite]


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posted by Eyeveex at 5:04 PM on August 11


From the second I saw him on Happy Days I was a fan.

RIP, Mr. Williams.
posted by bondcliff at 5:04 PM on August 11 [2 favorites]


(Just a reminder of the There Is Help resources on the MeFi wiki.)
posted by argonauta at 5:05 PM on August 11 [14 favorites]


DAMMIT NO

From what I'd heard from the set of Good Will Hunting, he was very kind to the folks who worked on it. I tip my hat to you, sir, and I can only hope you find peace.

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posted by pxe2000 at 5:05 PM on August 11 [1 favorite]


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posted by macrael at 5:05 PM on August 11


Oh Captain, my Captain!

A simple dot doesn't seem enough, after all the joy you brought me over the years. Your phenomenal cosmic powers are now released from your itty bitty living space. May the stars chortle at your antics as we all did, shake their sparkling heads and say "That Robin. We can't take him ANYWHERE."

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posted by MissySedai at 5:05 PM on August 11 [4 favorites]


I saw him live in San Francisco in the late 80s. Maybe it was an anniversary show for The Other Cafe? We were up in nosebleed seats and there was a program of maybe 20 comedians each doing 5-10 minutes - really funny people. Paula Poundstone did a bit from behind a couch with her feet sticking up in the air. Dennis Miller and other headliners -- I don't even remember who. After two hours it was hard to laugh any more. Then Robin comes out as a surprise guest, not on the program. And does twenty minutes of screamingly funny, off-the-cuff material. I thought I was all laughed out but apparently Robin could reach inside me and yank out even more laughter. My abdominal muscles ached for days.

He... he just sparkled. What a loss.

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posted by rekrap at 5:05 PM on August 11 [5 favorites]


I was just on the phone with my Mom and saw the news in my facebook feed and said "hmph. Robin Williams died." and my Mom is just devastated. She was a big fan.

I never thought of myself as a Robin Williams fan until I just now looked at his filmography on imdb and realized that he was in like a dozen of my favorite movies and he'd been making me laugh since about 1978.

So, fuck depression.
posted by Cookiebastard at 5:06 PM on August 11




Mark Pitta on what it was like having Robin Williams show up as an unannounced guest at his comedy night.

I didn't see that particular show, but there were nights I saw him unannounced at Cobb's (a place he worked on getting back into comedy circa 1999), including Robin doing improv with Rick Overton There are a number of YouTube videos of Robin and Rick.
posted by larrybob at 5:08 PM on August 11 [2 favorites]


He did an amazing AMA on Reddit almost a year ago, and afterwards, remarked that it had saved him a lot of therapy time.

Of all the anything everyone asked... could someone have asked the right thing.....

It makes you wonder how well we listened. And makes you want to listen harder to those in your own life.

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posted by barchan at 5:08 PM on August 11 [5 favorites]


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posted by firstdrop at 5:08 PM on August 11


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posted by JaiMahodara at 5:08 PM on August 11


Well, that headline got a big WTF? can't quite even process what I was reading moments.

Did not know had been a fellow traveler in the Land of Depression. Was his manic onstage persona just an extension of bipolar mania?

Glad others brought up Awakenings, one of the times he tamped down the hyper, the OTT persona.
Good in Fisher King too. And I just rewatched Birdcage again a few weeks ago. (Every once in awhile I like to say this bit.)
posted by NorthernLite at 5:09 PM on August 11 [1 favorite]


I have no words.


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posted by nubs at 5:09 PM on August 11


That he was in that much pain makes me so sad.
posted by Ink-stained wretch at 5:10 PM on August 11 [2 favorites]


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posted by dogheart at 5:10 PM on August 11


Hoffman and Williams. It's been a bad year.
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI at 5:11 PM on August 11 [10 favorites]


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posted by joethefob at 5:11 PM on August 11


This is such a punch in the gut. In every performance, he showed such depth, such heart. I've known that darkness, and as it always does, no matter who it takes, it feels so profoundly unfair. I don't have the words; just an ache in my chest, a Robin-sized hole in my heart.

O me, o life.

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posted by cellar door at 5:11 PM on August 11 [1 favorite]


There used to be an animation exhibit at EPCOT where you could walk through and watch animators working. There were video monitors at various points along the way, running successive sections of a video featuring Williams and Walter Cronkite. Cronkite was playing straight, and Williams was doing his usual frenetic manic personality.

Reportedly it took a very long time to film because Cronkite kept breaking up laughing. So it took a LOT of retakes.

That exhibit is closed now; I wish those videos were still available somewhere.

UPDATE: FOUND IT!
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 5:12 PM on August 11 [24 favorites]


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posted by thewalledcity at 5:12 PM on August 11


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posted by newdaddy at 5:12 PM on August 11


[I wrote this for elsewhere, but it seems that my anger requires me to put it here as well.]

Robin Williams is dead by suicide (presumed).

Fuck you Depression. I've looked into your black heart and blazing red eyes, and seen how you consume all that is good in people. You rot us out from the inside until we can't feel anything anymore, and the world fades to a dull grey roar that never stops and keeps us up at night.

You pick us off one by one, with your subtle cunning of hurting people and at the same time, keeping them from seeking help.

Fuck you Depression. If you had one neck, I'd happily break it, and spare the world from your silent infectious feelings of worthlessness and self loathing.

posted by quin at 5:13 PM on August 11 [17 favorites]


"Man goes to doctor. Says he's depressed, life is harsh and cruel. Says he feels all alone in threatening world. Doctor says, 'Treatment is simple. The great clown Pagliacci is in town. Go see him. That should pick you up.' Man bursts into tears. 'But doctor' He says, 'I am Pagliacci.'"
       — Alan Moore, Watchmen
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 5:14 PM on August 11 [219 favorites]


Dont forget about his guest on Homicide in one of that show's best episode.
posted by octothorpe at 5:14 PM on August 11 [10 favorites]


I went to YouTube to find a clip of him and was made so miserably more depressed by seeing all the scabs posting vacant videos with splash tags about his death.

God, it reminds me how much more now than ever we need all the comedians we can get.

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posted by Muddler at 5:15 PM on August 11


This showed up on my phone via the NY Times app, and my first thought was, "This can't be that Robin Williams."

And then I realized that it was.

And then when that started to settle in, and I saw that it was suicide...

I just can't even. This is so incredibly sad.

What a terrible loss for his family, friends, and the world.


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posted by litera scripta manet at 5:15 PM on August 11 [1 favorite]


Best tweet I've seen so far (and the saddest): "He took all the happiness he had and gave it to us."
posted by ColdChef at 5:16 PM on August 11 [83 favorites]


Shit. Godspeed, Mr. Williams. You did a lot of good.


I don't mean to be flippant, but in a very real and unfortunately dark way we probably have his depression and/or bipolar issues to thank for his best work, for better or worse.

Speaking from personal experience, a lot of my own funnier comments here were written during some of my most depressed and darkest moments as... well, release. Natural therapy. Out of choosing to laugh instead of cry. Out of channeling pain and loneliness into something else, because fuck depression, and fuck pain.

Sure, he may have been funnier without depression. Or maybe he would have ended up as a nice, stable buttoned-up accountant and an otherwise functional but unremarkable life. We don't know.

But he might have not been so in touch with what it means to be human without it, and he might not have been so driven to laugh and make others laugh with him, because it was better than no laughter at all.

This doesn't you shouldn't get help for depression, or that it's some kind of super power. It's not. It is indeed a cancer of the soul. It is a lot of invisible, nonsensical pain and a burden to carry.

But... remember that. That at his funniest, most alive and most human moments, he was probably struggling inside, and in a lot of pain. And instead of complaining about it, he wanted for us to laugh with him, and at him, to push the pain away just a little longer.

And that is part of what made Robin Williams who he was to us. Gentle, human, hilarious, and willing to laugh at himself right along with us. Because he knew, and you could tell that he knew. And this was good.

Go smoke a stogie with Vonnegut and Twain, Mr. Williams, and laugh. You've earned it.
posted by loquacious at 5:16 PM on August 11 [41 favorites]


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posted by quazichimp at 5:17 PM on August 11


My little brother is named Zachary, largely because that's Williams' son's name. My mom has already posted above about seeing him perform, a story I've heard many times. This truly feels like a loss to my family.
posted by rabbitbookworm at 5:17 PM on August 11 [1 favorite]


It's probably telling that, even being fully aware of the fact that he had just died under such sad circumstances, the links that John Cohen posted here made me laugh out loud.

Even in the midst of sadness.

That says something about him.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:18 PM on August 11 [1 favorite]


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posted by AloneOssifer at 5:18 PM on August 11


I've struggled with depression a lot in my life. At the moment it's kind of at bay, but I know that it's much like an addiction — you're never really ever "cured."

Sigh, what a shitty fucking reminder of that sad fact.

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posted by CommonSense at 5:19 PM on August 11 [3 favorites]


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posted by localroger at 5:19 PM on August 11


You do an eclectic celebration of the dance! You do Fosse, Fosse, Fosse! You do Martha Graham, Martha Graham, Martha Graham! Or Twyla, Twyla, Twyla! Or Michael Kidd, Michael Kidd, Michael Kidd, Michael Kidd! Or Madonna, Madonna, Madonna!... but you keep it all inside.

Robin Williams as Armand Goldman dance-directs in The Birdcage
posted by MCMikeNamara at 5:19 PM on August 11 [13 favorites]


Some more clips, including the pilot of Mork and Mindy.
posted by John Cohen at 5:19 PM on August 11 [2 favorites]


A friend of mine called to tell me because I lost my husband in a similar manner four weeks ago today. So glad I found out from him instead of my Facebook feed.

RIP, and may your soul find some peace at last.
posted by luckynerd at 5:20 PM on August 11 [57 favorites]


Genius has a price.

I sat on the couch with my sister at your second comedy special - we had tears running down our faces we laughed so hard. Nothing left to say but a feeling of tremendous loss...

Peace.
posted by fluffycreature at 5:20 PM on August 11 [1 favorite]


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posted by zaelic at 5:20 PM on August 11


shazbot
posted by Drinky Die at 5:20 PM on August 11 [2 favorites]


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posted by Elly Vortex at 5:20 PM on August 11


I'm 26. Mostly when I hear of celebrities or even just famous people dying I don't even know who they are. But this, this is real to me. I can't believe seeing him in the crazy ones was the last thing I'd watch of his.

This is surreal to me. I don't have words for what a genius he was, how I loved his unique brand of comedy and drama, and how much I will miss his presence.
posted by Aranquis at 5:21 PM on August 11 [1 favorite]


His work in Nolan's Insomnia was spectacular. And though the film is slightly flawed, I'd recommend watching The Final Cut which is an interesting SF-ish film with a brilliant character that suffers from a few plot holes. And then there is Awakenings which just hits you home, but thats also because of Bobby. Such a brilliant actor.

His more serious roles should not be overlooked.
posted by Fizz at 5:21 PM on August 11


My mouth rarely hangs agape, but it did when my phone flashed with this alert. I grew up with him, too (in Aladdin!), and it's pretty unbelievable that he left us so soon.

Shocking, and tragic.

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posted by Chutzler at 5:22 PM on August 11


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posted by saulgoodman at 5:22 PM on August 11





posted by Buttons Bellbottom at 5:22 PM on August 11


I am so deeply hurt at hearing this terrible news. I'm honored to say that I got to help him fly in Hook. If you haven't seen it, check out The Bicentennial Man, a sleeper gem of his.

Second star to the right and straight on till morning, Robin.


posted by dbiedny at 5:23 PM on August 11 [25 favorites]


Fuck. Just... fuck.
posted by The Confessor at 5:23 PM on August 11 [2 favorites]


Very sorry for your loss, luckynerd.
posted by Pink Frost at 5:23 PM on August 11 [20 favorites]


I grew up with Robin Williams and all the movies mentioned above. I loved him and his frenetic personality. I remember seeing him on Oprah as a teenager and he was talking about his daughter, who was very young, maybe still a baby. He said that they told their son that he could pick her name. The son was really into The Legend of Zelda at the time and wanted to name her Zelda. A promise is a promise, so they named her Zelda. I always thought that was such a charming and sweet story. His last instagram was a few weeks ago for her 25th birthday - a photo of the two of them when she was young.

He made local news recently when he popped into a local Dairy Queen and graciously posed for pictures with the staff. He was here for a brief stay at Hazelden.

This is such a sad loss. RIP.
posted by triggerfinger at 5:24 PM on August 11 [2 favorites]


You know, people post these long obit threads, and I've never understood them. "They're just some famous person! You've never met them! They're probably a huge asshole. Why the fuck are you sad? Don't post your stupid period. Get on with your life and care about better things."

I've never met Robin Williams. I'm genuinely sad, and keeping getting close to tears.

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posted by curious nu at 5:24 PM on August 11 [11 favorites]


oh no!

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posted by Jacqueline at 5:25 PM on August 11


Category:Trickster gods

R

• Ravens in Native American mythology
• Robin Williams


Which is not to diminish the deeply human struggle of his life, but a humble acknowledgement that Robin will forever symbolize to me the divinely indescribable nature of consciousness, the tragic and comic fucking ineffability of living in the world.
posted by Lorin at 5:25 PM on August 11 [12 favorites]


Listening to the WTF interview with Robin Williams, there's an amazing recollection he tells of a bit Richard Pryor did at the Comedy Store:

God comes back to Earth, to pick up his kid. He's looks around and says, "Where's my boy?"
"You want to tell him?"
"I don't know, do you want to tell him?"
"I don't know, get the Pope, he'll tell him."
"Where's my son?"
"Um, we killed him."
"What do you mean?"
"Well, we killed him. But he came back... then he split, and we haven't seen him."
"I'm going to destroy you!"
Then God takes a moment, steps back a bit, and says, "That's it. I'm leaving. I'm not coming back. I'm going to leave you love, and if you fuck that up, you're on your own."

And then he walked off stage.
posted by four panels at 5:26 PM on August 11 [48 favorites]


A true legend, lost.
posted by Jeff Morris at 5:26 PM on August 11


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posted by Doc Ezra at 5:26 PM on August 11


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posted by davebushe at 5:27 PM on August 11 [1 favorite]


Wordshore: "The ad he did, with his daughter, for Nintendo and more on her name ."

I just made the mistake of clicking on that link without Kleenexes at the ready.
posted by Dr. Zira at 5:28 PM on August 11 [5 favorites]


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I hope this means his pain is over.
posted by Stewriffic at 5:28 PM on August 11 [5 favorites]


My kids just watched Aladdin for the first time - something I've been looking forward to since seeing the movie in the 90s long before they were born - and we have been listening to the soundtrack nonstop. It has been so wonderful to see the delight and joy it has inspired, almost entirely due to Robin Williams' amazing and brilliant performance as the Genie. They cannot get enough of it. This is such awful news. RIP.
posted by Mallenroh at 5:28 PM on August 11 [1 favorite]


Fuck you, depression, fuck you very much. RIP Mr. Williams.
posted by LN at 5:28 PM on August 11 [2 favorites]


Ugh. This is sad. His monologue in Good Will Hunting was one of the finest things put to film.
posted by dirigibleman at 5:28 PM on August 11 [6 favorites]


It's only been an hour since I heard about this and while there are a lot of thoughtful comments on social media about suicide, addiction and mental health care, the inevitable "sad clown" comments are frustrating.

That's not a comment about this thread, or Metafilter, or anyone in particular. As has been mentioned previously depression is a disease, not a strike from the universe.
posted by sweetkid at 5:29 PM on August 11 [3 favorites]


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posted by Andrhia at 5:29 PM on August 11


Luckynerd, I'm so sorry for your loss.

I don't even know what to do with this. He's just always been there.
posted by Lyn Never at 5:29 PM on August 11 [6 favorites]


Alas, Robin Williams. We'll miss you.
posted by drivelmeister at 5:30 PM on August 11


::cries::
posted by zarq at 5:31 PM on August 11 [5 favorites]


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posted by jabo at 5:31 PM on August 11


Well, if there's an afterlife, at least he gets to hang out with Christopher Reeves again.

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posted by SansPoint at 5:31 PM on August 11 [3 favorites]


I'm another one who grew up with Mork and Mindy and came of age with Dead Poets Society. Over the past year, I thoroughly enjoyed his new comedy, The Crazy Ones, with Sarah Michelle Gellar, and I was disappointed that it didn't get picked up for a second season. He, like Phillip Seymour Hoffman, was a person I would go out of my way to watch in things.

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posted by hydropsyche at 5:31 PM on August 11 [6 favorites]


Had I not seen Dead Poets' Society my senior year of high school, I may have chosen a different college. If I had chosen a different college, I never would have met my wife of sixteen years or my two beautiful daughters.

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posted by 4ster at 5:32 PM on August 11 [7 favorites]


My first date with my husband was The Fisher King. Robin Williams was so talented. I am so sad.
posted by marguerite at 5:32 PM on August 11 [6 favorites]


. . .
posted by Ickster at 5:33 PM on August 11


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posted by stoneegg21 at 5:33 PM on August 11


Mork and Mindy was the reason my bedtime moved to a later hour (and maybe the first time I remember logically arguing to my parents for a change in The Way Things Are). I had Mork suspenders in elementary school. I haven't thought of any of these things in decades.
posted by kokaku at 5:34 PM on August 11 [16 favorites]


Oh god, I'm reading his reddit AMA for the first time, and it's like emotional whiplash. I'm sitting alone in my kitchen, but as I'm reading it, I'll start to smile, chuckle to myself, then the sadness will hit me like a wave when I remember that he's gone.

He's done many great movies, and I really love some of his interviews/stand up, but sentimentally my favorite work of his is Good Will Hunting. I feel like he brought so much warmth and heart to that film. He was a comic genius, certainly, but there was so much more to him than that.

I can't believe he's gone.
posted by litera scripta manet at 5:34 PM on August 11 [7 favorites]


I've been reading Facebook and this thread and silently weeping while nursing a warm beer. I went searching for Robin Williams clips on Youtube and this was the first one to come up: The Story of the Fisher King
posted by Strange Interlude at 5:34 PM on August 11 [4 favorites]


Peace is a most precious gift, and one of the ones that cannot be bought.

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posted by winna at 5:34 PM on August 11 [2 favorites]


His darkness was always so close to the surface under his frenetic hilarity, and gave a lot of his humor its edge. I was frankly always a bit surprised he survived middle age. So sad, I thought he'd gotten past the hump w/r/t having to keep existing.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 5:34 PM on August 11 [12 favorites]


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posted by jwhite1979 at 5:35 PM on August 11


Two useful links if you know someone who seems to be dealing with depression:
Ten things not to say to a depressed person
Ten supportive things I’m glad somebody said to me
posted by Artw at 5:36 PM on August 11 [34 favorites]


Okay, I had to watch his Elmer Fudd Sings Bruce Springsteen bit just to cheer myself up. It worked: I started laughing uncontrollably. Which, under the circumstances, demonstrates just what a genius he was.

Sigh.
posted by scody at 5:36 PM on August 11 [15 favorites]


Could somebody please start posting really, really inappropriate (yet subversively insightful) jokes now? Because we've just lost someone who could always be counted on for that.
posted by GhostintheMachine at 5:36 PM on August 11 [4 favorites]


My two favorite movies when I was very young were Aladdin and Mrs. Doubtfire. Robin Williams played a huge part in shaping my sense of humor.

When I was little and my family would go to Iran, I was always allowed to bring a VHS tape or two. I remember I brought Mrs. Doubtfire a few times in a row. I wore the tape out each time.

This Thursday is my 24th birthday, and my roommate just bought me 12 more Mrs. Doubtfire VHS tapes. I think that makes about 30 now.
posted by azarbayejani at 5:36 PM on August 11 [10 favorites]


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posted by halsted at 5:36 PM on August 11


When I see it now, Popeye seems tremendously underrated.
posted by JHarris at 5:37 PM on August 11 [7 favorites]


To this day, at "Wishes," the big fireworks show that the Magic Kingdom does 330 nights a year, you hear the Genie saying "WE'VE GOT SOME WISHES TO GRANT!"
posted by eriko at 5:37 PM on August 11 [4 favorites]


In college, I directed a play -- Paul Sills' "Story Theatre", which involves a lot of improv. I would warm up my actors with theatre games and other tricks to get the mind moving. One day, I had them run out of the theatre and give a barbaric yawp over the rooftops of the world.

I shall do so myself tonight.
posted by scolbath at 5:38 PM on August 11 [1 favorite]


A sad reminder that not everyone with depression is sad all the time. Someone you know at work or school may be fighting this battle and you'd never guess by looking at them.

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posted by tommasz at 5:39 PM on August 11 [12 favorites]


Aww. geez.
posted by showbiz_liz at 5:40 PM on August 11


Well, if there's an afterlife, at least he gets to hang out with Christopher Reeves again.

That would be cool, but it also means he gets to hang out with Jonathan Winters again. SO AWESOME.
posted by JHarris at 5:41 PM on August 11 [5 favorites]


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posted by Johnny Wallflower at 5:41 PM on August 11


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posted by beagle at 5:41 PM on August 11


I can't even. I don't think I realised how much of a mainstay he was in my life. So sad right now, and I wish I could think of a joke to post in his memory but I can't. So instead a perhaps all-too fitting bit from The Fisher King.
It begins with the king as a boy, having to spend the night alone in the forest to prove his courage so he can become king. Now while he is spending the night alone he's visited by a sacred vision. Out of the fire appears the holy grail, symbol of God's divine grace. And a voice said to the boy, "You shall be keeper of the grail so that it may heal the hearts of men." But the boy was blinded by greater visions of a life filled with power and glory and beauty. And in this state of radical amazement he felt for a brief moment not like a boy, but invincible, like God, so he reached into the fire to take the grail, and the grail vanished, leaving him with his hand in the fire to be terribly wounded. Now as this boy grew older, his wound grew deeper. Until one day, life for him lost its reason. He had no faith in any man, not even himself. He couldn't love or feel loved. He was sick with experience. He began to die. One day a fool wandered into the castle and found the king alone. And being a fool, he was simple minded, he didn't see a king. He only saw a man alone and in pain. And he asked the king, "What ails you friend?" The king replied, "I'm thirsty. I need some water to cool my throat". So the fool took a cup from beside his bed, filled it with water and handed it to the king. As the king began to drink, he realized his wound was healed. He looked in his hands and there was the holy grail, that which he sought all of his life. And he turned to the fool and said with amazement, "How can you find that which my brightest and bravest could not?" And the fool replied, "I don't know. I only knew that you were thirsty."
posted by Athanassiel at 5:42 PM on August 11 [44 favorites]


It's really weird to realize just how many of my favorite movies as a kid starred Robin Williams.
posted by showbiz_liz at 5:42 PM on August 11 [3 favorites]


"What time is it kids? It's time to put the hamster in the microwave."

Doesn't seem like it was 35 years ago...it sad to say farewell.

His was a mind of quantum quickness but obviously carrying an unimaginable burden.
posted by Zedcaster at 5:42 PM on August 11 [3 favorites]


This scene from Good Will Hunting in particular gets me every time. Unfortunately, I think it will be awhile before I can make it through any of his films in their entirety, especially this one.
posted by litera scripta manet at 5:43 PM on August 11 [2 favorites]


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posted by thivaia at 5:43 PM on August 11


Someone on Twitter linked to this Achewood strip, which is oddly appropriate today.
posted by mcmile at 5:44 PM on August 11 [33 favorites]


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posted by Glibpaxman at 5:44 PM on August 11


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posted by Cash4Lead at 5:45 PM on August 11


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posted by fatbaq at 5:46 PM on August 11


When in doubt, leave 'em wanting more.

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posted by delfin at 5:46 PM on August 11 [2 favorites]


They filmed parts of Insomnia in my town and a friend and I were walking her dog down by the harbour when we ran across Robin Williams. He came up to us to play the "what breed are your dogs" game that everyone plays with rescue mutts. He came across as such a down to earth guy and later went out of his way to sign autographs for people at the nearby coffee shop. A cliché to say that celebrities are just like us but he seemed to be actually aware of the joy his work brought people and not seem to mind acknowledging that to his fans.

I went through a phase of loathing his work and thinking he was a hack after all the constant kid movies but looking back he has been in a lot of my favourite things.

Depression absolutely sucks and when it defeats another one of us I lose a bit of hope of ever conquering it myself.
posted by kanata at 5:47 PM on August 11 [18 favorites]


Mother fucker.

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posted by odinsdream at 5:47 PM on August 11


Robin Williams was one of my spirit animals.

It wasn't something that came on all at once. It was a bit-and-piece thing where it started with watching a funny blue genie, then finding out you went to the same high school, then realizing you did improv at the college he went to, then sharing a diagnosis and listening to an interview with him and thinking hey, he's a pretty cool guy, interwoven with all those other movies and shows he's done that thumbtacked your life to the wall.

I always wanted to meet him, but now I just want him back so I can give him a hug and tell him you are not alone, you magnificent bastard.
posted by mikurski at 5:48 PM on August 11 [3 favorites]


A friend of mine once worked a lighting gig for an interview with Robin Williams. He says that off-camera and behind the scenes, Williams was one of the sweetest, most genuine people he had ever had the privilege of working with. He treated everyone there - including my friend, who was pretty much the lowest person on the totem pole, basically an assistant to the assistant to the head lighting guy - like he had known them all his life, and he genuinely liked them. That, more than anything else from his career, always stuck with me.

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posted by Itaxpica at 5:48 PM on August 11 [25 favorites]


Someone I know on Tumblr brought this up and I think it's really relevant: This isn't just depression, it's bipolar, and bipolar comes with a higher suicide risk. Yet people tend to be less worried because they see their loved ones having "okay" periods and assume the person who seems more down is more at risk for self-harm. If you have loved ones with bipolar disorder, keep an eye on them, let them know you're there to help them get help if they need it, all that.
posted by Sequence at 5:48 PM on August 11 [24 favorites]


A cousin of his lived in Milwaukee when I was a girl, and apparently it was during a visit that he did a late afternoon show at ComedySportz as a surprise guest when I was 16. He was on the blue team and it was stupendously funny. I've never forgotten it, and coming as it did after a press-splashed stint in rehab for cocaine, 16 year old me thought, "Oh, good, he's better now!"

The pain he must have been in.






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posted by droplet at 5:48 PM on August 11 [4 favorites]




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posted by Doktor Zed at 5:48 PM on August 11


Depression absolutely sucks and when it defeats another one of us I lose a bit of hope of ever conquering it myself.
posted by kanata at 8:47 PM on August 11 [1 favorite −] Favorite added! [!]


Try to think of the joy of his films. Hold on to that joy.

It gets better.
posted by Fizz at 5:48 PM on August 11 [3 favorites]


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posted by supermassive at 5:50 PM on August 11


I know this sounds silly, but about once a year I watch Awakenings.

Same, but Birdcage.
posted by elizardbits at 5:50 PM on August 11 [8 favorites]


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posted by cotton dress sock at 5:50 PM on August 11


Sad news.
One of his standout moments was the Richard Pryor tribute (in case you haven't seen it) .
posted by Liquidwolf at 5:50 PM on August 11 [1 favorite]


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posted by p3t3 at 5:50 PM on August 11


mcmile, that's a great strip.
posted by JHarris at 5:50 PM on August 11 [2 favorites]


I don't remember anything about The Fisher King, as I was so young when I saw it, but I do remember it was the first time I'd heard Lydia, The Tattooed Lady, a song that I loved then and I love now. I have several versions of it in my music library (the original by the Marx Brothers and subsequent covers) and I sing it when I'm happy.

Here's the clip from the movie where he sings it.
posted by triggerfinger at 5:51 PM on August 11 [9 favorites]


I'll miss him.
posted by Liquidwolf at 5:51 PM on August 11 [3 favorites]


In What Dreams May Come, Robin Williams' character literally walked through hell to save his wife from her depression and the suicide it caused. I don't know what my point is, exactly, but how terrible that no one could save him.

I took a nap this afternoon and woke up and saw that Robin Williams was dead and I was bummed out, but I had to take the dog for a walk. I opened the door to take the dog for a walk and found a notice on my door that a long-time resident of my building had died. Death is so stupid. We need to do something about death.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 5:51 PM on August 11 [30 favorites]


He was also on Drew Carey's revival of Whose Line Is It Anyway at least once.
posted by JHarris at 5:51 PM on August 11 [2 favorites]


This is heartbreaking.

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posted by mixedmetaphors at 5:52 PM on August 11


I'd heard about his depression, his problems with cocaine and alcohol. All the same, there is--was--a childish part of me that expected him to go on forever. I grew up watching his movies and knew I'd grown up still more when I could appreciate his comedy in both its lightness and darkness. He was a force of nature and a generational talent. He was someone you could describe unreservedly as a master of his craft. I'm glad we got to see so much of him and I'm sorry as hell he had to go the way he did. Rest in peace, Robin Williams. So long, and thanks for everything.

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posted by rhythm and booze at 5:52 PM on August 11 [5 favorites]


Awww, I feel heartbroken he died and worse that it was suicide. No, no! The world is more wonderful that he was born. He permitted a certain type of emotional and perceptual complexity to be accepted, that stream of consciousness take on life with all its ambivalences. The world is so much more fun and interesting that he was born!

I will miss him and always feel deep gratitude for his creativity, for his sharing his marvelously funny complexity with the world. I wish I could have somehow helped him, somehow magically lifted whatever burden he felt, that monster depression which oppressed him. How much his family must hurt just now!

It just hurts thinking about his death, that he felt that badly! So very sad.
posted by nickyskye at 5:52 PM on August 11 [10 favorites]


All I can think of is this poem by Ranier Maria Rilke that I heard for the first time when Robin Williams read it as Dr. Sayer in Awakenings.

The Panther

His gaze is from the passing of bars
so exhausted, that it doesn't hold a thing anymore.
For him, it's as if there were thousands of bars
and behind the thousands of bars no world.

The sure stride of lithe, powerful steps,
that around the smallest of circles turns,
is like a dance of pure energy about a center,
in which a great will stands numbed.

Only occasionally, without a sound, do the covers
of the eyes slide open—. An image rushes in,
goes through the tensed silence of the frame—
only to vanish, forever, in the heart.”

posted by Alison at 5:52 PM on August 11 [14 favorites]


A friend of mine once worked a lighting gig for an interview with Robin Williams. He says that off-camera and behind the scenes, Williams was one of the sweetest, most genuine people he had ever had the privilege of working with. He treated everyone there - including my friend, who was pretty much the lowest person on the totem pole, basically an assistant to the assistant to the head lighting guy. That, more than anything else from his career, always stuck with me.

I can see this. There's the wit, the talent, of course, but it was kindness that seemed to light it all up. Very sorry.
posted by cotton dress sock at 5:52 PM on August 11 [2 favorites]


I am a professional funeral director. I deal with sadness and grief every day. But this hit me hard.

I was sitting in my chair at dinner, reading the tweets, and I got choked up. My daughter Maggie asked me, "Why are you sad?" I answered, "One of daddy's favorite actors has died." Without saying a word, she stood up, went into my bedroom and brought my back my tie and jacket.
posted by ColdChef at 6:00 PM on August 11 [139 favorites]


This scene from Patch Adams means the world to me and once helped me pull someone I love very much from a very dark place. Thank you, Robin.

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posted by ainsley at 6:00 PM on August 11 [1 favorite]


Statement by President Obama on the Passing of Robin Williams"
"Robin Williams was an airman, a doctor, a genie, a nanny, a president, a professor, a bangarang Peter Pan, and everything in between. But he was one of a kind. He arrived in our lives as an alien – but he ended up touching every element of the human spirit. He made us laugh. He made us cry. He gave his immeasurable talent freely and generously to those who needed it most – from our troops stationed abroad to the marginalized on our own streets. The Obama family offers our condolences to Robin’s family, his friends, and everyone who found their voice and their verse thanks to Robin Williams."
posted by Senor Cardgage at 6:01 PM on August 11 [69 favorites]


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posted by jet_pack_in_a_can at 6:01 PM on August 11



Depression absolutely sucks and when it defeats another one of us I lose a bit of hope of ever conquering it myself.


For me the main things (and I'm cured, for now I guess) is

1) remembering/reminding people going through it that it is a fuckton of day to day work to manage/try to recover.
2) remembering that when people are lost they are lost to a disease, it's not their fault and it's not our fault.

I know people mean well but the "remember that someone cares" stuff is really frustrating because that message gets so warped with the filter of depression.

If you or someone else is sick or in imminent danger, call professional help.
posted by sweetkid at 6:01 PM on August 11 [12 favorites]


As a child growing up with too few "people like me" to identify with, I often gravitated to Robin Williams- his charisma, his wit, his candor. When I was trying to be funny, I thought of him. When I was trying to be expressive, I thought of him. When I thought of being somehow vital to a world so harsh and brutal, I thought of him. In my kid fantasies Robin Williams played the future me in my mental movies of what my life would be like. These kid fantasies were not always pretty. Struggling with my own depression, these sometimes included suicide. I "was" Robin Williams then, too. In my troubled adolescence and teen years I attempted suicide twice, both times interrupted by fate. Each interruption, an epiphany. As I grew older I recognized that to do the kind of things he does, to be so publicly vulnerable, you have to walk knowing full well you always have a shadow. To inspire great joy, you must have known great pain. Now, I'm a forty-something clinician, I've intervened in hundreds of suicidal events, now working with those recovering from active addiction. Socially, I put myself out there as a fool, allow myself to be vulnerable, create opportunities for play despite myself. There are many role models I have to thank for helping me along, and enabling me to "befriend" depression, and walk with it. Perhaps none more so though than that funny, sweet, intense man that left a deep imprint on the mind of a child learning how to live. Through Garp, Dead Poets, and Fisher King, he taught. Through the magic of film, he'll keep teaching, and may those other weird kids out there searching for just the right man to inspire their souls be so lucky to find Robin Williams too.
You are free, good man.
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posted by moonbird at 6:02 PM on August 11 [23 favorites]


He was a very funny man, for sure. But I was always amazed at his more serious stuff; he could project vulnerability like no one else I can think of.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 6:02 PM on August 11 [7 favorites]


I'm also a fan of What Dreams May Come, but now it just seems like cruel irony. That film made an incredible impression on me.

I hope Robin Williams has found peace.

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posted by fremen at 6:03 PM on August 11 [10 favorites]


Such a loss. Poor man. Fuck depression.

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"Mork and Mindy" made me decide that rainbow suspenders were the coolest thing, so I wore them for a while. Also, one of his early comedy albums led to me learning what the term "well hung" meant. (I had been repeating bits of his routines and one of them included some kind of "become black" angle and included the phrase "become instantly well hung! that's right, instantly well hung!" and that led to an awkward conversation where my mother asked if I knew what that meant and then explained what it meant and suggested I might not want to go around saying that.)
posted by rmd1023 at 6:03 PM on August 11 [4 favorites]


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posted by condour75 at 6:03 PM on August 11


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posted by dannyboybell at 6:03 PM on August 11


But I was always amazed at his more serious stuff; he could project vulnerability like no one else I can think of.

I always assumed those were the moments he wasn't acting at all.
posted by elizardbits at 6:04 PM on August 11 [21 favorites]


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posted by pmcp at 6:04 PM on August 11


Robin Williams playing himself in Mork And Mindy is one of the earliest memories I have of meta-fiction, and as a kid, I thought it was just an insanely cool thing for a show to do.
posted by Greg Nog at 6:04 PM on August 11 [4 favorites]


.

The scene from Good Will Hunting, has *always* stuck with me.

You think I know the first thing about how hard your life has been, how you feel, who you are, because I read Oliver Twist? Does that encapsulate you? Personally... I don't give a shit about all that, because you know what, I can't learn anything from you, I can't read in some fuckin' book. Unless you want to talk about you, who you are. Then I'm fascinated. I'm in. But you don't want to do that do you sport? You're terrified of what you might say. Your move, chief.
posted by DigDoug at 6:05 PM on August 11 [7 favorites]


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posted by rougy at 6:05 PM on August 11


I'm crying. It feels like I've been kicked. If Robin Williams can't beat depression- I'm fucked. =/
posted by moshjosh at 6:05 PM on August 11 [9 favorites]


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posted by Rock Steady at 6:06 PM on August 11


And yet, and yet
posted by jefflowrey at 6:08 PM on August 11 [1 favorite]


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posted by marimeko at 6:08 PM on August 11


Please sit down for an hour and a half, and watch the best episode of Inside the Actors Studio.
posted by MissySedai at 6:10 PM on August 11 [32 favorites]


On the one hand, it's been really wonderful to see people here and on Twitter discussing depression and how to handle it and be with someone who is also struggling. On the other, I really wish this conversation hadn't been initiated by someone's death.
posted by pxe2000 at 6:10 PM on August 11 [7 favorites]


I've watched a great many of his films but never Birdcage or Fisher King. I think I know what I'm doing tonight. It might hurt a bit at first but his laughter and joy are infectious. So I'm going to hold on to that.

Man this hurts. So much of my adolescence and childhood just passed on.
posted by Fizz at 6:10 PM on August 11 [1 favorite]


Motherfuckin' shazbat. :(
posted by Duke999R at 6:11 PM on August 11 [1 favorite]


I loved so much of what he did, but I will always be grateful to him for The Fisher King, one of the most perfect, beautiful, hysterical, upsetting, uplifting movies I have ever seen. This hits me so hard. I will miss him so much.
posted by silverstatue at 6:11 PM on August 11 [8 favorites]


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posted by MelanieL at 6:12 PM on August 11


Robin and his Zelda

Gotta go ugly cry some more now.
posted by Sweetie Darling at 6:12 PM on August 11 [1 favorite]


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posted by KillaSeal at 6:12 PM on August 11


dear mefites, if I have to have a broken heart you are all damn fine, smart, comforting company to mourn with. Hugs to y'all.
posted by madamjujujive at 6:13 PM on August 11 [31 favorites]


Oh, Fizz, you're in for a treat. A fitting tribute.

RIP, Robin Williams. Thanks for staying as long as you could.

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posted by GrammarMoses at 6:13 PM on August 11 [13 favorites]


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posted by jquinby at 6:13 PM on August 11


To everyone in this thread who is struggling with depression, and the totally understandable refrain of "If Robin William's can't beat it..."

You're not alone. This is kicking me in the gut, too.

But remember... you are beating it. You're alive. You're here. And you're totally not alone. You're not alone in your pain, and you're not alone in your fears and doubts and sadness that he decided to give up.

And he did beat it for a very long time, and had a life most would envy. People have died much younger, with much less life lived, and without touching so very many lives so meaningfully. By all accounting save one - he beat it the best he could.
posted by loquacious at 6:13 PM on August 11 [93 favorites]


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posted by Tacodog at 6:14 PM on August 11


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posted by smcdow at 6:14 PM on August 11


And to confirm, yes President Obama said the word "bangarang" today.
posted by Senor Cardgage at 6:15 PM on August 11 [35 favorites]


I've listened to A Night at the Met at least 100 times and it still kills me each time.
posted by jonmc at 6:17 PM on August 11 [5 favorites]


I saw him guest star on Happy Days as Mork from Ork when I was what, 9 years old? I thought that character was the coolest and was so excited when it was spun off into its own show. I dressed up as Mork from Ork for Halloween when I was 10, wearing his signature suspenders and carrying a plaster egg I dropped from time to time, saying, "Shazbot!"

I also thought of the Watchmen quote about the clown and the psychiatrist, and searched for it here--not surprised someone else thought of it. He was also close friends with Christopher Reeve, and I wonder if that helped bring him down.

Sometime in the '80s the David Letterman style of humor, cynical and knowing, moved into the zeitgeist. But Robin Williams almost never managed to seem genuinely mean, and instead full of this childlike wonder.

R.I.P.

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posted by Schmucko at 6:17 PM on August 11 [6 favorites]


For anyone planning on watching a Robin Williams movie tonight (not me, it would just make me feel sad), I just had a look and there's very little overlap between the movies available on US/Canadian/UK netflix. If you what you want isn't on one, it's worth trying the others if you have the means. What Dreams May Come is available only in the UK.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 6:17 PM on August 11 [4 favorites]


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posted by Stynxno at 6:17 PM on August 11


I saw The Birdcage in the theater when I was 11 or 12 and I remember my profound confusion at why it mattered that two men were married. Robin Williams in that movie was so human and the love and respect coming from him (for his husband, his son, his ex-wife) so unconditional that I was basically innoculated against the ambient homophobia I grew up around.
posted by griphus at 6:18 PM on August 11 [28 favorites]


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I have loved Robin Williams and his work for what feels like my whole life. Fuck depression, it afflicts my wife's family and it is horrific to witness, let alone live with.

Godspeed, Robin. We may never see your like again.
posted by arcticseal at 6:18 PM on August 11


Holy fuck....I never expected that...

RIP your Awakenings performance still reigns in my heart.

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wow again.
posted by Benway at 6:20 PM on August 11 [2 favorites]


Come in, Orson...shazbot.

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I'm just going to go cry for a little bit now.
posted by Chuffy at 6:20 PM on August 11 [2 favorites]


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I am so glad Metafilter exists right now.
posted by longdaysjourney at 6:20 PM on August 11 [18 favorites]


RIP.
posted by Sticherbeast at 6:21 PM on August 11


Yeah, so, this is shitty.

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posted by gaspode at 6:21 PM on August 11


He was not consistently my favorite actor (though when he was good, like in Good Morning Vietnam, he was amazing) but this is not how I expected him to go. What a sad headline to see today.
posted by Dip Flash at 6:22 PM on August 11 [1 favorite]


I might be in a very small crowd here, but I absolutely loved him in Bill Forsyth's Being Human. Which I just realized is 20 years old now. Holy hell.

I wish I had something more eloquent to say than that I'm devastated, but I've been wriggling on the depression pin myself, and just thinking in complete sentences has been kind of difficult.
posted by bakerina at 6:22 PM on August 11 [3 favorites]


I want to write about Robin Williams, who meant so many different things to me over the decades, but, instead, this is what came out - a slightly different message about suicide than what you normally see, if you'll indulge me:

We don't care.

Let me be clear: we care about you. But we don't care that you messed up again or need some extra human contact right now. We don't care that we need to expend some extra effort to help you get safe. We don't care that you're still human, still imperfect, still working it out, still at the mercy of your brain chemistry.

We care that you are hurting. We care that you are thinking we would rather you be gone than give you another minute or thirty to talk things out or just share some space. We want you to be here, even though you are struggling right now. We care about helping you to find a way through that struggle.

Sure, we might have to put up some boundaries so that we can stay safe, too. But that's fair, right? It doesn't mean we don't care, doesn't mean we don't want to see you come through this, doesn't mean it's not okay that this is hard and you are having a hard time with it. We aren't sick of you being sick, and we understand this could take a while to work through, and you're going to be having some challenges as you work it out. We aren't sick of you.

We're sorry that it's so hard to get help, to get balanced, to have a safe place to be unwell, to be protected from your self-sabotage or other harm. We'll do what we can. Because we want you here. Because we don't care.

Stay.

I'm a survivor and an advocate, and you can count me in if you need an ear, a shoulder, or a nudge in the right direction.

For Robin, for everyone he was, for all he meant to so many, even when he was at his most imperfect:

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posted by batmonkey at 6:23 PM on August 11 [63 favorites]


Depression sucks, but it's not a guaranteed path to suicide, even if you aren't "beating it." I'm sorry Williams is dead, but given his several mental health issues, I have no idea if depression killed him. Alcohol, drugs, and mania all come with very high suicide rates.
posted by OmieWise at 6:23 PM on August 11 [2 favorites]


My husband was making a little video for a coworker goodbye party five years ago. He stopped by the local coffee/bike cafe to get a video clip from the barista and ended up in line behind Robin Williams. (Who was in Mpls to try out some standup stuff he was working on.) Williams not only agreed to be in the goodbye video, he was hilarious and sincere and very charming. A true gent.

And you can imagine the reaction in the office when the video ran and Robin Freaking Williams showed up onscreen.
posted by Malla at 6:23 PM on August 11 [38 favorites]


Many years ago, my first job in the gaming industry was as phone tech support for EA, at their Redwood Shores campus. We never interacted with the development teams and only infrequently with even the testers.

However, they did crowd all of the employees into their auditorium for a company meeting once during my 6-month stint there. After the executives told us about the plans for the coming year, they brought out a surprise special guest, none other than Robin Williams. He came out and just went off on a long improvised comedy routine about playing Medal of Honor, cocaine, and maybe hundreds of other topics. It was a real treat after talking to irate customers on the phone all day, and made me feel like a real part of the industry to get to see a celebrity like that.

I understood it was just something he did every now and then, visit EA and show up for company meetings. I have also been told that much EA's massive gaming library was donated by Williams from his personal collection, and that he was close friends with Trip Hawkins. He was clearly a cool guy.
posted by Durhey at 6:24 PM on August 11 [9 favorites]


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posted by Ik ben afgesneden at 6:24 PM on August 11



But remember... you are beating it. You're alive. You're here.


Totally this. It's so much work. Even if you think you're doing nothing, you're doing the work just by trying.

And if you ask an AskMe question about your depression, or talk about it in this thread, you're doing the work, you're doing so much work. It's just all hard work, is all.
posted by sweetkid at 6:25 PM on August 11 [16 favorites]




Wendy Darling: Boy, why are you crying?

Peter Banning: I don't know. A tear for every happy thought.
posted by roystgnr at 6:25 PM on August 11 [6 favorites]


Just spotted on Twitter - "Tonight twitter feels like the biggest, saddest group hug ever."

I was supposed to write two theater reviews and start a draft of something I'm writing for a contest, but then I saw this news and my brain has just gone "phwwwwwwwwwweee".
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:26 PM on August 11 [8 favorites]


No movie brought home the craziness of war than "Good Morning Vietnam". This was the movie where Robin Williams combined his acting chops with his manic comedy. An unforgettable movie, an unforgettable man. Not long ago I saw a recent HBO special he did , after his heart surgery and I thought to myself. "He is still at the top of his game." ..
posted by smudgedlens at 6:26 PM on August 11 [5 favorites]


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posted by Anitanola at 6:28 PM on August 11


This is such a shock and it's hitting my pretty hard. Maybe it's the impression he made on me when I was teenager watching Dead Poets Society, but it seemed to have this fundamental compassion and tenderness in his soul that I usually don't associate with comedians or even celebrities. This makes makes me incredibly sad.

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posted by treepour at 6:28 PM on August 11 [5 favorites]


this really sucks
posted by pyramid termite at 6:28 PM on August 11 [1 favorite]


This one hurts. A lot.

In 1986, Jonathan Winters was making an appearance on the Letterman Show when Robin showed up to surprise his friend and mentor. You could always tell how much they admired, loved, and respected each other -- both profoundly talented men whose lives were filled with mental and emotional struggles, some of which I've shared.

You can see it at 7:18 of this video*, an instant I've always remembered and will never forget -- the way Jonathan Winters' face lights up when he realizes Robin is standing off camera. Then the sheer joy as they riff off each other, going into a routine. Then it goes to commercial. The segment ends too soon -- you want to watch them forever.

And now another segment ends, too soon.

This one hurts. A lot.

* You can also see Part One of Winters' appearance.
posted by Celsius1414 at 6:28 PM on August 11 [22 favorites]


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posted by Flashman at 6:29 PM on August 11


Robin's flame definitely burned twice as bright. We're all very lucky for having him here.

This will sound silly, but I always figured that he'd work it out because he seemed to project so much love above and beyond his humor.

Many of his characters make you love them and have empathy for them and in turn, somehow, those characters love you right back. It's palpable and I think that's uncommon for American male actors.

It's hard to imagine how this could have happened but I guess I do know that often these struggles are internal and not obvious.

This is heartbreaking. I'm going to miss you, man.

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posted by snsranch at 6:30 PM on August 11 [5 favorites]


*climbs up on a desk*

YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAWP
posted by cmyk at 6:31 PM on August 11 [9 favorites]


From the New York Times review of his stand-up show on April 13, 1979:
It's extraordinary that anyone as funny as Robin Williams can also create the impression of being so nice.
posted by argonauta at 6:31 PM on August 11 [4 favorites]


Okay, the clip chinesefood posted here? Damn, I needed that.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:32 PM on August 11


Maron's tweet about it was pretty perfect, to me:

Goddamnit! Robin Williams. Sorry. #RIP

posted by sweetkid at 6:33 PM on August 11 [1 favorite]


So sad.

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posted by BibiRose at 6:33 PM on August 11


Oh man. What a genius he was.
This is heartbreaking.
posted by SLC Mom at 6:34 PM on August 11 [1 favorite]


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posted by aroweofshale at 6:34 PM on August 11


Paul F Thompkins says it much better than I could here.

"it's a colossal shame that being a meaningful presence in the lives of many people, family, friends and strangers alike, isn't an impenetrable bulwark against despair."
posted by Potomac Avenue at 6:36 PM on August 11 [40 favorites]


Such a loss. Watching the Actor's Studio episode and feeling so sad for his family and for all of us.

Luckynerd I'm sorry for your loss as well.
posted by leslies at 6:36 PM on August 11 [4 favorites]


What is it with this time and place in the world? This is the third in a month that's gut punched me and is laid at the feet of depression, and two of those were family. One of them was god damn eighteen. I'm still fucked up over a best friend taking his life six years ago and it keeps coming. Fuck depression.
posted by jason_steakums at 6:36 PM on August 11 [8 favorites]


I'd like to remember him for stuff like this.
posted by mcmile at 6:36 PM on August 11 [5 favorites]


luckynerd, so very sorry for your loss - how terrible!
posted by madamjujujive at 6:37 PM on August 11 [3 favorites]


I've puzzled and pondered about which of his films to watch tonight in tribute, but I've decided instead to watch his episode of Homicide: Life on the Street. And maybe a Mork & Mindy chaser.

Farewell, Mr Williams. The world is a sadder place to be today.
posted by crossoverman at 6:38 PM on August 11 [1 favorite]


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posted by JoeXIII007 at 6:38 PM on August 11


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posted by not_on_display at 6:41 PM on August 11


I used to see him jogging at Crissy Field in San Francisco during the late '90s when that beach was my daily dog walk. You could tell it was him from a quarter-mile distance, because even his run was funny.
posted by goofyfoot at 6:41 PM on August 11 [9 favorites]


It was pretty much an informal rite of passage for all new employees of the gardening company I worked at to be shown Robin Williams' garden in Seacliff and its huge topiary dinosaurs (we had clients nearby, but didn't work for him). I never ran into him, but people who did always said he was the nicest guy.
posted by oneirodynia at 6:45 PM on August 11 [6 favorites]


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posted by blob at 6:46 PM on August 11


This is harder for me for a rather silly and self-centered reason. I lived in L.A. from the age of 5 to the age of 50, and for all those years I only had two real "funny brushes with fame" anecdotes. One involved Casey Kasem, recounted in his obit thread here, and the other involved Robin Williams.

Okay, here's the story. You may or may not be aware how Robin went into semi-seclusion after the death of John Belushi (he was reportedly 'in the next room') and when he decided to bite the bullet and go perform in front of an audience again, he eased into it, by making 'semi-private' appearances at small clubs in Northern and Southern California. My coworker had an "in" at one of those small clubs, and that, plus staking out the front of the line two hours before, got him, me and my date a stageside table to see this comic genius. (His date cancelled on him - talk about somebody not good enough for you, buddy!)

He went through some obviously prepared bits, including half of the content of his previous comedy albums, with breaks for brief stream-of-consciousness and other random stuff. At one point, he looked into the audience for some kind of inspiration for a free association and saw me, wearing an XL white pullover sweater you could maybe call a tennis sweater.

Pointing straight at me, he said, in his most formal announcer's voice: "Ladies and gentlemen, Bill Tilden!" It wasn't the biggest laugh of the evening, not a familiar enough cultural reference, but I made sure to laugh, then I whispered to my date, who'd laughed like she got the joke, "Who's Bill Tilden?" She whispered back... "champion tennis player... Big Bill... long ago... dead... gay scandal."

So I held my head up high being able to declare proudly that Robin Williams mistook me for a Dead Gay Tennis Player. Thank you Robin. Just, thank you.

Now, who will be my Lame Claim to Fame?
posted by oneswellfoop at 6:48 PM on August 11 [41 favorites]


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posted by chance at 6:50 PM on August 11


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posted by asra at 6:50 PM on August 11


Just listened to the Mark Maron interview. Around 52/53 mins in there's an interesting bit where he touches on suicide.

Perhaps I'll watch Popeye tonight. Been meaning to, as I haven't seen it in at least 30 years.
posted by luckynerd at 6:51 PM on August 11


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posted by Sys Rq at 6:52 PM on August 11


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posted by tychotesla at 6:53 PM on August 11


Depression sucks, but it's not a guaranteed path to suicide, even if you aren't "beating it." I'm sorry Williams is dead, but given his several mental health issues, I have no idea if depression killed him. Alcohol, drugs, and mania all come with very high suicide rates.


I know you know this better than I do, but comorbidity is a thing. It's weird but true that if he'd died of an overdose I think the overall public sentiment would be more negative, but even this way it could be driven by addiction.
posted by sweetkid at 6:53 PM on August 11 [5 favorites]


Can't say I'm sad.

I get the impression that Robin Williams fucking LIVED. Squeezed out all the juice. Even if he only did a quarter of the things he's credited with doing in his public life, as an entertainer, as a philanthropist, as a San Franciscan, as a gamer, as a cyclist, etc., he still would have made a big, big dent during his time here.

Peace, Robin - and thank you.
posted by NoRelationToLea at 6:54 PM on August 11 [7 favorites]


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posted by matrixclown at 6:57 PM on August 11


Robin Williams' last tweet on July 31, 11 days ago, celebrating his daughter, Zelda Rae Williams', 25th birthday:

#tbt and Happy Birthday to Ms. Zelda Rae Williams! Quarter of a century old today but always my baby girl. Happy Birthday @zeldawilliams Love you!
posted by nickyskye at 6:57 PM on August 11 [5 favorites]


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posted by calamari kid at 6:57 PM on August 11


For that old VHS of Hook.

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posted by ersatz at 6:57 PM on August 11 [3 favorites]


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posted by srt19170 at 7:00 PM on August 11


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posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 7:01 PM on August 11


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posted by pianoblack at 7:02 PM on August 11


After Dick Cavett lost his late night show, he had a half-hour interview show in PBS for a while. Robin Williams was a guest one time.

Cavett was totally overwhelmed. Williams was on the whole time, wandering around the stage picking things up and riffing on them, and Cavett looked like he didn't know what to do. I don't think he actually spoke much that half hour.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 7:02 PM on August 11 [5 favorites]


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posted by Token Meme at 7:04 PM on August 11


It's amazing to look back and think about the loooong list of my beloved movies over the course of my life that feature him. In high school I was obsessed with Good Morning, Vietnam. In university, I watched Good Will Hunting more times than I can count. The Birdcage too. In my late 20s, I came across his 2002 HBO Comedy special, which was some of the funniest stuff I've ever seen.

But what always stuck out in my memory was his appearance on Inside the Actor's Studio. If you haven't seen it, track it down. I was literally rolling on the floor laughing so hard. But what jumped out me was that ItAS isn't supposed to be a place for people to entertain. It was supposed to be about getting to know the actor and their personality. Williams spent the whole show deflecting Lipton's questions with his ad libbing. You couldn't help but be entertained, but I was also left with the undeniable sense that he was hiding a lot of pain behind his humour.

I am terribly sad at this news, but unfortunately I am not surprised.

Be good to each other, folks. For everyone is fighting some kind of battle.
posted by dry white toast at 7:05 PM on August 11 [12 favorites]


Looks like his last acting role (other than voiceover) was Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb.

My first thought was how much Ben Stiller will miss Robin and then I thought how many of his fellow actors, actresses, all the people he worked with on those many movies will miss him. He will be missed by hundreds of millions of people around the planet. That's pretty amazing and extra sad.
posted by nickyskye at 7:06 PM on August 11


"it's a colossal shame that being a meaningful presence in the lives of many people, family, friends and strangers alike, isn't an impenetrable bulwark against despair."

Ugh. And he left his kids behind. It's been a couple of hours since the story broke, and it's sinking in that he's no longer with us. I just can't even process the fact that he took his own life.

His last Instagram was an old photo of him with his daughter as a baby.
posted by phaedon at 7:06 PM on August 11 [1 favorite]


Jason steakums: be aware that a significant result of social network analysis is that very strange things like obesity and education can be modeled as following a epidemic distribution. One of the stranger results is that suicide also follows a memetic contagion model.
posted by curuinor at 7:07 PM on August 11 [4 favorites]



I heard this on the radio while driving home. It's really just hitting me now. I've watched a few clips that have been posted and just hearing his voice makes me realize just how much of his work over the years was part of my life.

I was in high school when Dead Poets came out. That movie inspired me in so many ways. At the time it was speaking to me. Mr. Keating became one of my teachers. I've watched the movie since that time and don't have the sort of reaction to it but I can remember just how perfect it seemed to my teenage, messed up self. The message of the desk is one thing that has always stuck with me. I'd even say that it's embedded itself into the foundations of how I look at the world and my life. I don't think it would have had the same effect if it wasn't Robin playing that character.

His comedy made me laugh until it hurt.


I'm just so damn sad.

Thank you, Mr. Williams and I'm sorry you had to deal with all of the dark. I'm so glad you gave us what you did. I know my life has been made better for it.
posted by Jalliah at 7:07 PM on August 11 [3 favorites]


luckynerd, sorry for your loss. Your Devo-hat profile picture has given me more than a couple smiles. I hope the universe finds a way to give them back to you eventually.
posted by benito.strauss at 7:08 PM on August 11 [5 favorites]




One more thing: probably my favourite moment of Williams on screen is in Good Will Hunting when Sean is telling Will about how his wife used to fart so loud she woke herself up.

The genius of that moment? It was totally ad libbed. Not in the script. So when you watch it and you see Matt Damon totally losing it, that's a genuine response to Williams' spur of the moment story; Damon reacting on behalf of Williams' lifelong audience.
posted by dry white toast at 7:10 PM on August 11 [13 favorites]


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posted by me3dia at 7:11 PM on August 11




Requiem aeternam dona eis, Domine, et lux perpetua luceat eis. Requiescant in pace.

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P.S. I can't get over my Twitter timeline. The people I follow are a mixed bag. Some of y'all, some folks I know from other places, a few politicians, quite a few news folks, a few more than that sports people, a lot of national security types, a smattering of actors and comedians, and one rapper.

Every tweet on my timelline is a touching reminder that we all shared a special part of our lives with a man most of us have never met. Choked me up.

posted by ob1quixote at 7:12 PM on August 11 [11 favorites]


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posted by jim in austin at 7:13 PM on August 11


doctor_negative, that just reminded me that Stephen Fry is himself not innocent of depression, drug abuse and alcoholism... another one of those admirable souls that you hope doesn't slip under too soon.
fuck.
posted by Cold Lurkey at 7:14 PM on August 11 [5 favorites]


Fuck.

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I owe a lot of laughter to him. Deepest condolences to his wife, family, and friends.
posted by wiskunde at 7:14 PM on August 11 [2 favorites]


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posted by Golden Eternity at 7:14 PM on August 11


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Robin Williams will always have a special place in my heart for his dramatic, supportive, totally human portrayal of Armand Goldman.

Rest in peace, dear sir.
posted by warm_planet at 7:15 PM on August 11 [2 favorites]


You know it's a major, major loss for the world when my father, one of the most removed from popular culture men I know, looks up from his computer and says, "Oh no, Robin Williams is dead."

As a kid it was Jumanji and Hook and Mrs. Doubtfire and Jack and Aladdin. When I got a bit older it was Dead Poet's Society and Good Will Hunting and What Dreams May Come and Patch Adams. When I got a bit older it was Death to Smoochy and that one episode of Wilfred and his old stand-up. It's like - at every stage of my life there has been Robin Williams to discover and love.

It's a very sad day.

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posted by Lutoslawski at 7:15 PM on August 11 [3 favorites]


Robin Williams was always there at just right times when I needed him most. When I was young and needed manic irrelevance he fit the bill perfectly. As I got older and started paying attention to current events and social resposibility he showed me how to balance caring passionately with...well, manic irrelevance. And right about when I thought I was maturing past Robin Williams he was already ahead of me and made walking into midddle age and self awareness seem less scary. His influence touched my life in more way than I think I even realize right now.
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 7:16 PM on August 11 [3 favorites]


I was in high school when Dead Poets came out. That movie inspired me in so many ways. At the time it was speaking to me. Mr. Keating became one of my teachers.

Same here. I saw Dead Poets Society four times during its initial theatrical run, which I think is a record for me. As a shy, introverted, awkward kid I identified a lot with Todd Anderson. I'm still introverted, but less shy and less awkward, and I think DPS and John Keating had something to do with that.

Carpe diem. Sieze the day, boys and girls. Make your lives extraordinary.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 7:17 PM on August 11 [6 favorites]


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posted by jkaczor at 7:17 PM on August 11




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posted by royals at 7:18 PM on August 11


Every tweet on my timelline is a touching reminder that we all shared a special part of our lives with a man most of us have never met. Choked me up.

And we don't use those tools that way while our friends, loved ones and idols are among the living. Ugh. What a condemnation of the way we live our lives.
posted by phaedon at 7:18 PM on August 11 [2 favorites]


He was also on Drew Carey's revival of Whose Line Is It Anyway at least once,

The fact that he seemed like overkill next to RYAN STILES AND COLIN MOCHRIE just proves how much of a legend he was.

I have never, before or since, laughed as hard as I did listening to "A Night at the Met" in college. Still have the record.

Fuck depression, fuck the drugs that people use to self-medicate.

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posted by Melismata at 7:19 PM on August 11


"Dick Cavett ... had a half-hour interview show in PBS for a while. Robin Williams was a guest one time. Cavett was totally overwhelmed."

The first episode of The Tonight Show I ever saw was Jay Leno with guests Robin Williams and Tracey Ullman. It was COMPLETELY OUT OF CONTROL and Jay was just like, I give up, I'm just letting these people riff, as he literally could not get a word in edgewise. He completely lost control of the show and it was utterly hilarious. Periodically Jay would shout "WE'RE GOING TO COMMERCIAL" and Robin and Tracey would just keep going.

Since that was my first exposure to Late Night, nothing has ever lived up since. :)
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 7:19 PM on August 11 [8 favorites]


I always felt like a Weird Kid and Robin Williams was a Weird Guy and he helped me deal. I'm so impressed to see how many different roles people remember him for. If only he could read this and see how much people loved him. I know that, in my experience, depression lies and says that the people who love you wouldn't love you if they knew the *real* you, but I wish he knew. I wish we could tell him.

I also feel like, as someone with major depression, shit, if he couldn't beat this, and he had so many resources at his disposal, what chance do I face? But if I could tell him something, and if I could tell something to everyone facing depression, I would say that you don't need to do anything to be loved. You are loved, right now, by more people than you'll ever know. And they would be devastated if you hurt yourself. Even the Weird Kids.
posted by kat518 at 7:22 PM on August 11 [9 favorites]



On my Twitter every single trending topic but one is something to do with Robin Williams.
posted by Jalliah at 7:24 PM on August 11 [2 favorites]


Stephen Fry is himself not innocent of depression, drug abuse and alcoholism

I sympathize, but are people "guilty" of depression, drug abuse and alcoholism?
posted by sweetkid at 7:24 PM on August 11 [13 favorites]


This is awful.

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posted by EXISTENZ IS PAUSED at 7:25 PM on August 11


This hammers home what an absolutely headfucking, soul-destroying thing depression is.

This man shone light and laughter so bright and so loud it covered an entire planet for decades. He was surrounded by hard, objective evidence every day that he was loved and revered.

Think about it. In terms of his warmth, coverage and influence, this man literally rivalled the fucking sun, like an Egyptian god.

And the black dog still got him.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 7:27 PM on August 11 [26 favorites]


But what always stuck out in my memory was his appearance on Inside the Actor's Studio. If you haven't seen it, track it down. I was literally rolling on the floor laughing so hard. But what jumped out me was that ItAS isn't supposed to be a place for people to entertain. It was supposed to be about getting to know the actor and their personality. Williams spent the whole show deflecting Lipton's questions with his ad libbing. You couldn't help but be entertained, but I was also left with the undeniable sense that he was hiding a lot of pain behind his humour.

Dry White Toast, that episode was recommended and linked above, so I clicked it. I watched about 5 minutes and that was all I saw: a man deflecting and hiding pain. I don't know that I would have seen that had I watched it yesterday, but today I saw nothing else. I couldn't watch more than a few minutes.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 7:27 PM on August 11 [2 favorites]


Earth, receive an honored guest...
posted by cookie-k at 7:28 PM on August 11 [2 favorites]


I sympathize, but are people "guilty" of depression, drug abuse and alcoholism?

I presume they meant "innocent of" in the sense of "not a stranger to".
posted by neuromodulator at 7:28 PM on August 11 [6 favorites]



I just found out that I can get Dead Poet's on Danish Netflix. Think I'm gonna go watch it, and I hope it doesn't sound overly dramatic for someone I never personally knew, cry myself to sleep.
posted by Jalliah at 7:29 PM on August 11 [5 favorites]


This one really hurts for some reason.

I'm a reasonalby talented amatuer smartass. The only thing between me and making my friends laugh is whether or not I'm in the mood to do it.

But... c'mon... I'm sure lots of us do that. But we're *nothing* compared to this man's guts.

Robin Williams lasted a lot longer than I can imagine being funny when you don't feel like you have anything else.

But, he tried and gave back a lot more that I have.

I feel like I owe it to him to try harder tomorrow that I did yesterday.
posted by Cyrano at 7:30 PM on August 11 [8 favorites]


Somewhere I have his first album, Reality What A Concept, in which he is thoroughly coked up.

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posted by Confess, Fletch at 7:31 PM on August 11


My first thought was how much Ben Stiller will miss Robin and then I thought how many of his fellow actors, actresses, all the people he worked with on those many movies will miss him. He will be missed by hundreds of millions of people around the planet.

....Oh God, sudden thought - Billy Crystal must be totally heartbroken.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:32 PM on August 11 [2 favorites]


Three hours into this thread, and no other post has replaced it as the top post on the Front Page. Some things just make you stop.
posted by dry white toast at 7:33 PM on August 11 [11 favorites]


Eyebrows McGee: “Since that was my first exposure to Late Night, nothing has ever lived up since.”
I have similar feelings. The first time I ever got to stay up late was to see Robin on Johnny Carson, October 14th, 1981.
posted by ob1quixote at 7:33 PM on August 11 [3 favorites]


When I was in middle school, a chain store called Record World had a promo. Hidden randomly between the filed vinyl there were near-fluorescent sheets of paper with names of albums. If you collected some combination of colors for a given album, that record was yours.

One of the many records I got was Williams's "Reality, What a Concept." I listened to it over and over, and loved it so much, I reasoned "my Christmas shopping is done. I will win a copy of this album for each of (adult, they were all adult) relatives."

I still enjoy Williams's riffing, over thirty years later. And I'll miss seeing him in the future movies he could have done.
posted by zippy at 7:33 PM on August 11 [2 favorites]


From the time I was, what?, 10 years old, he was there, he was my touchstone for so much of the human experience, both in his work and in what he shared of his life.
I keep thinking of a moment from The Survivors, an early movie he did with Walter Matthau. Near the end of the movie, when their ideas about being survivalists fall apart, and Robin's character, who had already lost everything, loses his fantasy too. He and Matthau are walking down a winter road, and Williams says, "What do we do now, Sonny?"
~sigh~
"You'll have bad times, but it'll always wake you up to the good stuff you weren't paying attention to. " (from Good Will Hunting)
~sigh~
posted by pt68 at 7:34 PM on August 11


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His daughter is twenty-five, younger than me. I can't bear to imagine losing my dad even now.
posted by nicebookrack at 7:34 PM on August 11 [4 favorites]


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posted by viramamunivar at 7:40 PM on August 11


“I’m history! No, I’m mythology! Nah, I don’t care what I am; I’m free.” This is the first thing I thought of when I heard. Its the burden of depression that not many people make it out of. I hope that such a wonderful man as tragic as this all is can finally find some peace. I have a million words and none of them are enough to describe how tragic that depression claimed the life of someone who brought joy, laughter and memories to so many people. I'll never ever forget.
posted by aniqueone at 7:42 PM on August 11 [4 favorites]


A friend texted me the news right as I was going into a showing of Guardians Of The Galaxy... so there I am, sitting in a dark theater, already trying not to cry, and what's one of the trailers playing in front of the movie? Night At The Museum: The Legend of Curly's Gold (or whatever). Featuring Robin Williams as Teddy Roosevelt. I kind of lost it.

When I was six, my grandmother (who I lived with) decided to join Columbia House. She didn't actually like music that much, so she had a really hard time picking 12 tapes to get, which meant I got to pick a few for myself. She never really monitored what kind of media I was ingesting, so she didn't check which items I picked, and that's how I got Reality... What A Concept, my first real taste of Robin Williams. MY GOD, what an effect he had on little me. (MY GOD, the amount of trouble I got into at school for behaving like a coked-up lunatic.)

I'm just well and truly crushed. Comedy is pretty much the only way I've been able to bond with my extended family... we don't have anything in common but the things we laugh at, most of us REALLY love good standup, and we're a bunch of depressives who love nothing more than to make people laugh (IOW, we're coulda-beens who never had the guts for open mic night), so it gets pretty rowdy. I don't talk to most of them anymore, for reasons, but tonight I'm wondering if they're as sad as me, and I wish I could sit with them and cry until we laugh and then laugh until we cry.

Thank you, Robin, for all the good times, and for being one of the few things I could bond with my family over. I will miss you so much.
posted by palomar at 7:43 PM on August 11 [6 favorites]


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goddamit i loved that man
posted by lalochezia at 7:44 PM on August 11 [1 favorite]


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posted by oceanjesse at 7:45 PM on August 11


It's a tragic paradox that the same brilliantly creative mind that did such fine work and gave so much enjoyment to millions made its possessor's own existence an anguish. You died far too soon, Robin Williams. Your work gave us so much laughter and pleasure, and I wish we had known how to balance your brain chemistry in order to give you some peace and ease of mind in return.

And it seems very much on point that I first found this video of Robin Williams teaching Carol Burnett how to keen, because damn do I feel like keening tonight.
posted by orange swan at 7:46 PM on August 11 [4 favorites]


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posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:47 PM on August 11


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posted by moonlight on vermont at 7:48 PM on August 11


I'm in an airplane and just found out. This is hitting me unexpectedly hard, but I suppose I've been visited a little too often by the black dog.

What Dreams May Come will no longer be the same movie.

I am thankful that he held on as long as he could.

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posted by metaquarry at 7:48 PM on August 11 [5 favorites]


His daughter is twenty-five, younger than me. I can't bear to imagine losing my dad even now.

He actually left behind 3 children, ages 22, 25, and 31.
posted by John Cohen at 7:50 PM on August 11


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posted by montag2k at 7:51 PM on August 11


Laughter can conceal a heavy heart; when the laughter ends, the grief remains.-
Proverbs 14:13 NLT

Bipolar disorder is as deadly as heart disease. It's just that most people don't know it.

I'm sitting here thinking about how grateful I am to be well, and how very sad I am that this man who gave so many people so much joy was robbed of his own by this damned disease. I'm one of those who knows how deep depression can take you, and I will never ever forget what looking into that abyss was like. I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy.

I just want to say to anyone fighting this particular dragon-get help. Defeating it takes war, and you need your battle buddies.

And to those (thankfully so far NOT here) who don't understand-please, if you cannot understand, at least shut up and don't add to the pain of those who are suffering.

I hope his friends and family know he didn't want to leave them. He just wanted the pain to stop.

One more thing. I'm living proof that at least sometimes, you can win. Hang onto that hope.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 7:58 PM on August 11 [39 favorites]


Oh, and .
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 7:59 PM on August 11 [1 favorite]


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posted by worbel at 8:04 PM on August 11


I also feel like, as someone with major depression, shit, if he couldn't beat this, and he had so many resources at his disposal, what chance do I face?

Consider that he was an extraordinary person, living an extraordinary life. Those resources came along with pressures that most of us will never see (as well as highly available, highly toxic outs to those pressures, as Marc Maron's interviews have shown). He did eight films in two years. Mental illness isn't a cakewalk if you're not famous and wealthy, but I'm not sure being famous (for nothing less than mining and transforming your feeling and thought, to boot) necessarily helps. (Neither does lack of access to resources, without a doubt... I don't know, it's hard no matter who you are and what you have, I think.)
posted by cotton dress sock at 8:12 PM on August 11


I've been seeing a truly alarming number of people saying, ""If he couldn't beat depression, what chance do any of us have?" and I feel like I have to respond to that, especially given the unfortunate mimetic power of suicide.

Remember - depression and bipolar disorder are chronic diseases, just like diabetes or multiple sclerosis or psoriasis. It's the nature of depression, particularly, that we who suffer with it are more likely to feel hopeless when we see someone succumb to an exacerbation. But that's no more logically justifiable than giving up hope when someone wealthy and famous dies of complications of diabetes.

There's no "beating" an affect disorder like depression and bipolar disorder. There's no cure. There's only living with them, surviving them every day. But that's true of diabetes and multiple sclerosis and psoriasis, too.

We lost an amazing person today, but he was just a person struggling with the same disease we have, and although his loss proves that the struggle is real and difficult and painful, it doesn't mean that we are any more endangered than we were yesterday.
posted by gingerest at 8:13 PM on August 11 [25 favorites]


From the age of nine or so I spent a couple of unhappy years in the Boys' Brigade (like Boy Scouts, but Baptist). Then Mork & Mindy came on the TV, and suddenly I knew where I'd rather be on Tuesday nights. At home, laughing my arse off.

Thanks Mr Williams.
posted by misterbee at 8:13 PM on August 11 [1 favorite]


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posted by sarcasticah at 8:14 PM on August 11


It's not your fault.

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posted by jcreigh at 8:14 PM on August 11 [9 favorites]


I haven't read the entire thread so apologies if I am retreading ground here. But my first thought was...guilt.

I loved vintage robin Williams. Especially Popeye. Brilliant. But count me among the voices that collectively snarked 'that's enough robin Williams' because of some sorta lame cash-in output that wasn't pure brilliance.

I feel guilty because I can't help but wonder if I contributed 1 billionth of a bad feeling that might have contributed to his state of mind. I know that's kinda ridiculous. In no way shape or form did he have any clue what I thought about him, good or bad. And yet, there was a stream, a snarky unecessary stream that I added my own half ounce of spit into. For that I feel bad. Instead of celebrating the good stuff I spent some number of minutes over the years getting some mileage over making fun of parts of his career despite getting much much joy over other parts. Shame on me. I'm sorry for that Mr Williams. And I thank you. Especially for Popeye. That was for the ages.
posted by ian1977 at 8:15 PM on August 11 [8 favorites]


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Jonathan Winters' death must have been so hard on him. After JW died, RW wrote an op-ed for the NY times describing how he was getting bored with Mork and Mindy until he learned of Winters' hiring.

Someone up thread described his encounter with Walter Cronkite. They later became good friends.
posted by brujita at 8:16 PM on August 11 [2 favorites]









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posted by mrgroweler at 8:17 PM on August 11


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posted by woodvine at 8:17 PM on August 11


onseswellfoop, speaking of Williams's habit of playing small venues and riffing: Williams used to try out routines at a small comedy club in Cole Valley in San Francisco. The club was right next to my bus stop and had plate glass windows. I could watch, but not hear. One night he faced me and made an aside to the audience, then gave me an exaggerated wave while the audience busted up. I curtsied, and have always wondered what he said.
posted by goofyfoot at 8:18 PM on August 11 [51 favorites]


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posted by Nolechick11 at 8:18 PM on August 11


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My coworker, today, while trying to prepare me for the christmas season (we work in toy distribution), said 'Prepare to want to kill yourself.'

Today is not a good day.
posted by linear_arborescent_thought at 8:19 PM on August 11 [3 favorites]


. Just .
posted by puddinghead at 8:21 PM on August 11


One of the stranger results is that suicide also follows a memetic contagion model.

That doesn't seem strange to me at all. One of the things I think, when something like this happens, is "That is somebody who was on my side whether either of us knew it or not. And now he's gone. How will we ever hold the line, now?"

If that makes sense. I'm NOT saying I'm thinking bad thoughts right now, just that- I get it.

ANYWAYS

World's Greatest Dad really is a hell of a movie which people should see. It's not so much with teh funny tho so maybe not right now. Fisher King, I think, for me. That one literally never gets old.

Has anyone seen Boulevard? IMDB says it came out in April, but it looks like it was maybe at a festival or something?
posted by hap_hazard at 8:22 PM on August 11


My coworker, today, while trying to prepare me for the christmas season (we work in toy distribution), said 'Prepare to want to kill yourself.'

Oh gods, I'm so sorry. I hope you slapped him/her.
posted by MissySedai at 8:23 PM on August 11 [1 favorite]


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posted by drezdn at 8:27 PM on August 11


It's a bit like like hearing Santa committed suicide.
posted by wires at 8:27 PM on August 11 [22 favorites]


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posted by get off of my cloud at 8:32 PM on August 11




This is such awful, awful news. And, yeah, his turn in The Fisher King was so mad and so brilliant.
posted by Multicellular Exothermic at 8:34 PM on August 11 [4 favorites]


It's a bit like like hearing Santa committed suicide.

yeah, this is kind of perfect.
posted by sweetkid at 8:37 PM on August 11 [2 favorites]


It's such a sad night, but re-watching all these clips has been so wonderful. Such good memories we have shared with him, even though most of us did not know him personally. But, that's exactly what happens in this world of entertainment - we share. And with him, it was so many smiles and laughs along the way.
posted by double bubble at 8:37 PM on August 11 [2 favorites]


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posted by Archelaus at 8:38 PM on August 11


I can't help but compare this to Hunter S. Thompson. Two cultural icons whose entertainment, and philosophy of entertainment, have profoundly affected me. Chirst, replace the word "entertainment" with "art" in that sentence. And the two of them left the world by their own hands.

My mom was the one who told me tonight. Prefaced it with, "I have some really sad news." Another one of those shitty moments when you hear about a tragedy that will stick.
posted by frecklefaerie at 8:40 PM on August 11 [2 favorites]


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posted by one teak forest at 8:47 PM on August 11


I don't usually use this phrase but it feels right: I feel there has been a terrible disturbance in the Force tonight.

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posted by kinnakeet at 8:48 PM on August 11 [6 favorites]


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posted by gkhan at 8:50 PM on August 11


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posted by Going To Maine at 8:56 PM on August 11


The Fisher King is my favorite movie of all time.

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posted by Windigo at 8:57 PM on August 11 [4 favorites]


Weirdly (for me, since I am cynical and horrible) I never fully lost faith in Robin Williams even when he was doing things I found very unsatisfactory because he seemed to almost always follow up a "dud" with something mindbending and undeniable.

What's really kicking me in the gut is finding out on the day he died that he was a big video game and anime dork and in general never stopped taking in new information.

I have read like 9 different stories in the last 10 minutes about him just being up on current shit in ways I'd never expect from a person in his position... plus all the stories about him being a decent human being to run of the mill people and that fucking SESAME STREET tweet and I'm out, man... I seriously can't even handle it. Respect.
posted by SharkParty at 8:59 PM on August 11 [12 favorites]


When asked to identify my favorite Robin Williams movie, I thought for a bit and finally came up with Death to Smoochy. Which is super underrated and brilliant, and features Robin Williams in a (relatively) rare role as a villain. Add it to your RW movie marathons if you haven't seen it - it really is wonderful.

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posted by likeatoaster at 9:02 PM on August 11 [5 favorites]


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posted by arnicae at 9:04 PM on August 11


There aren't words. Robin Williams dead by suicide.

Something horribly, horribly evil walks in this world and is not content with beauty or grace or humility.

Robin Williams was my first-ever hero.

We all gotta step up our game now. And punch the world right in the mush.
posted by Lipstick Thespian at 9:06 PM on August 11 [14 favorites]


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posted by valkane at 9:06 PM on August 11


Weirdly, today at around noon I was driving through Pennsylvania on my way back from Boston to Ohio when I thought of him. We were driving near the town where a friend of mine used to live before he moved to Virginia. A few years ago a movie had been made about my friend's life and Robin Williams played my friend in that movie. It was just a passing thought as, by coincidence, a song came on the radio that reminded me of my friend, the movie and Robin.

Then I got to Ohio, fired up my iPad and saw the news. Terrible, awful news. Now I keep thinking of the scene in World's Greatest Dad where he finds his son accidentally hanged and re-stages it to look like a suicide. Jeez. How desperately unhappy and hopeless he must have felt at the end.
posted by essexjan at 9:11 PM on August 11 [6 favorites]


My husband came in and said "Robin Williams is dead." And I said, "No he's not." And he had to tell me three more times before I stopped saying that it wasn't true. It couldn't be true. Such a universe cannot be. Yet it is.


GhostintheMachine: "Could somebody please start posting really, really inappropriate (yet subversively insightful) jokes now? Because we've just lost someone who could always be counted on for that."

I give you Robin Williams and Carol Burnett in The Funeral.
posted by dejah420 at 9:14 PM on August 11 [15 favorites]


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posted by dougzilla at 9:16 PM on August 11


I imagine there must be something uniquely devastating about being a "celebrity," someone renowned for so many great talents, loved by so many people, and still having to struggle so hard to contend with these demons. I don't think it's helpful to get into a game of "who has it worse," but it's worth thinking about at times like these, because as someone who has struggled with depression and addiction, whenever this kind of thing happens, I do find my mind wandering down the road of, "Well if they couldn't beat it..."

It's not at all the same thing, but I remember when I was in intensive treatment for mental health issues, and I would be surrounded by all these highly trained people, all ready and willing to help me, and no matter what they did, I just couldn't get better. And then there would be my friends, who just wanted to see me get well. All these awesome, caring people, and we all wanted the same thing, for me to get better, and even that wasn't enough. It was such an incredibly lonely and isolating experience.

Thankfully, for now at least, those days are behind me, but I can still remember that visceral emotion, and I can only imagine that for someone in Robin Williams's position, the feeling must be magnified a million times over. Even for someone who has every resource at his disposal, at the end of the day, we're all at the mercy of our own minds.

I'm just so sorry it had to end this way.
posted by litera scripta manet at 9:19 PM on August 11 [12 favorites]


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posted by Halloween Jack at 9:22 PM on August 11


This seems as good a place as any to share my Robin Williams story.

I come from a family of five kids. When I was ten years old, my oldest brother, who was 17, was diagnosed with cancer. It was a rough time for our family--we always struggled financially, and his illness really squeezed us. Someone at the hospital where my brother was being treated got us in touch with the Make A Wish foundation. My brother's wish? To meet Robin Williams.

My brother was a precocious kid; he graduated high school at 16 and immediately started taking acting classes at the local community college. He had found his tribe in writers, actors, and other weirdos. He lived by the motto "Carpe Diem". So it made sense that he'd want to meet Robin Williams.

I remember the day the Make A Wish rep visited our house to tell us the good news. They brought the rest of us kids a goodie basket full of snacks, DVDs, and CDs (though I'm stymied as to why they thought a bunch of tweens might like a late 90s Paula Abdul album...but I digress). They told us they'd be flying all five of us kids (plus mom and dad, of course) to San Francisco to meet Robin on set during the filming of Bicentennial Man.

On our way to the set, we got to take a limo--my first time in one! They had cold sodas in little compartments around the limo! That would have been enough for me, but then we got to go on the set of a Hollywood movie and see famous people! During lunch, I remember how nice Robin was to my brother, and to my parents. He didn't treat my brother like a sick kid--that's what sticks out to me the most. That, and how unimpressive the on-set catering was. But hey, I was ten, and I think I expected caviar and frog legs or something.

The rest of the trip was a blast, and one of the only family vacations my family has taken together.

My brother passed away 3 years after--just after his 20th birthday.

The trip to San Francisco was already a bittersweet memory, but that bitterness has an even hard edge to it now.

For Robin:
.

For my brother:
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posted by too bad you're not me at 9:23 PM on August 11 [119 favorites]


Wow! The Funeral clip was amazing.
Thanks
posted by dougzilla at 9:25 PM on August 11 [1 favorite]


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Deeply sad.
posted by oneironaut at 9:34 PM on August 11


Oh, God, his daughter Zelda just tweeted this:
“You - you alone will have the stars as no one else has them...In one of the stars I shall be living. In one of them I shall be laughing. And so it will be as if all the stars were laughing, when you look at the sky at night...You - only you - will have stars that can laugh.” - Antione de Saint-Exupery

I love you. I miss you. I'll try to keep looking up. -Z
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:35 PM on August 11 [82 favorites]


Wow.

I had never listen to Marc Maron's interview with Williams until right now. Whoa.

The last 10 minutes he begins to talk about life, death and his past thoughts of suicide. It was the most incredibly vulnerable, raw, whispered part of the interview. And I sensed that in the last 4-5 minutes of the interview, the raw emotion of that piece sent both of them into a bit of a frantic scramble for the comforting shield of improv and riffing on each other. But it was too late. You saw behind that shield for a moment.

RIP, Robin Williams. All of those cracks in you were how the light got in, but the light also got out and you shared all of that crazy beauty with the rest of us. Thank you.
posted by jeanmari at 9:37 PM on August 11 [12 favorites]


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This sucks.
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 9:37 PM on August 11 [2 favorites]


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posted by LobsterMitten at 9:38 PM on August 11


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posted by cybercoitus interruptus at 9:42 PM on August 11


You're right. It's not just sad. This really sucks. It's depressing, ironically enough.
posted by oneironaut at 9:42 PM on August 11


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posted by evilDoug at 9:46 PM on August 11


It's funny, but just the other day I found myself thinking that Robin Williams was probably pretty depressed right now. His movie career had hit a slump and his return to TV kind of flamed out, and I'd heard he went back to rehab recently. But I figured he'd bounce back. As long as I've been alive, the guy has been fading out and then coming back in a big way, over and over and over.

The guy was always so, so desperate to entertain. When he was young and the jokes flowed easier, that desperation manifested in some amazing improv comedy. As he got older he got less funny, but the desperation never went away. Sometimes it was kind of awful seeing him on talk shows, watching him work harder than ever for slowly diminishing returns. People goofed on him all the time, but deep down I think we all loved him at least a little bit. How could you not? That big, hairy goofball wanted to entertain you so fucking much.

When he was really on he could be a truly amazing joke machine, or he could break your heart. Sure, he was in some mawkish crud, but my god, when he put his soul in a line, it haunted you. "Can I miss her, Jack?"

This is one of those celebrity deaths that hurts a lot more than you expected.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 9:49 PM on August 11 [12 favorites]




So I have been throwing up tonight (funsies!-but not related, I'm sick and a coughing bout set THAT off), while I was on the phone with my mom. And then I had to call back after the vomiting was done and she was all, "Didn't Robin Williams understand how many people loved him?" Stuff like that over and over again. That just because someone loves you means you can't kill yourself. I keep pointing out that no matter how much love everyone has for you, that doesn't make the pain go away. Just because people love you doesn't mean that you can endure infinite agony to stay with them. People loving you doesn't make it a bit better. And then she was all, "It's a shame his family didn't know" so they could have saved him. Again, I don't think they were utterly clueless, or that they could have stopped him.

This is the same argument we have over a bipolar cousin of mine that's been miserable since the age of six and really, nothing humans or medical science can do has ever, ever helped her. Ditto my other depressed cousin whose life has also been mostly super miserable without much relief.

I just get tired of hearing the "But, but, but....bootstraps! And people love you!" arguments. If it was bad enough that someone wanted to die, then...well, I'm glad he's not suffering any more, even if I'm sad as hell that it got to that point. And that we can't watch him in new stuff any more.
posted by jenfullmoon at 10:01 PM on August 11 [43 favorites]


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posted by Spatch at 10:03 PM on August 11


I have a Robin Williams story.

I was 2 in 1989 when the earthquake hit SF. Our house was damaged so we had to move. The house we ended up moving to was in the Castro, it's previous tenant: one Robin Williams. So once upon a time (I only know this story from my parents' tellings of it) we went to look at this place and he was the one who showed us around. My parents put on their best "we aren't starstruck" face and he gave them a tour. In the yard, there was a little play house that I went over to and he immediately came up to the window and started pretending like he was a city health inspector and that I was selling bad burgers. Or something. I don't know any of the details but my parents remember him being just hilarious, doing a little bit at the drop of a hat, joking with a 2 year old about health code violations.
posted by macrael at 10:11 PM on August 11 [103 favorites]


jenfullmoon - many people say this kind of thing after suicides. I've noticed that most people who have never been depressed think that being depressed is just like their experience of the ordinary sadness that everyone encounters from time to time. I suppose that's natural enough, since what do we have, but our own experience, to try to understand other people? They are thinking of a severely depressed person as someone whose mind works just like theirs, but who foolishly or hastily made selfish choices. While imagining the hellish reality that someone must have been fleeing is beyond them, moralizing is something that they know how to do, and which they often enjoy doing, so they go straight to doing that.
posted by thelonius at 10:19 PM on August 11 [19 favorites]


A genius actor and comedian. A real loss when we need more laughs in this cruel world.
posted by bookm2014 at 10:20 PM on August 11


God it's hard to see someone succumb to depression.

The fight is daily, it never ends. You wake up in self-hate, you live in loneliness, you exhaust what small energy you have on seeming normal and hiding your true self for the comfort of other people.

As someone who shrouds herself in humor as a means of papering over depression, Robin Williams' death hits particularly hard.

The fight is daily. It is daily, it is constant, it exists irrespective of our circumstances. It is daily, ceaseless, unremitting. Its waning is malicious: if it ebbs, you notice only in order to anticipate its return.

It is daily, even when you find moments of joy, moments of distraction, moments--ever scare--of connection.

And so I shed my tears for a brilliant man. Just yesterday I rewatched and was gushing over his triumphant performance in The Birdcage and now he is gone he has succumbed he gave up the fight.

I can't blame him. Do I (don't admit it) even envy him a bit? Or is that just the the overdramatic adolescent inside of me--high on Camus and disorienting hormones--speaking up in sad solidarity?

It is tiring to constantly swat away dark clouds, to reach desperately for the ever-elusive sun. There seems to be (however embarrassingly, however selfishly) warmth is giving up.

Siempre adelante, semper fi.

Goodnight, dear king, and may you have finally found rest.

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posted by youarenothere at 10:21 PM on August 11 [31 favorites]


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posted by ewok and chips at 10:30 PM on August 11


What Dreams May Come Had a profound effect on me. I'm not religious or spiritual, but that movie touched me in was I didn't expect.

I grew up on Popeye. I was at the right age that I didn't understand how bad it was (the end, specifically), and I rewatched it dozens of times. I didn't really understand Mork and Mindy, but it was fabulous all the same. And the comedy specials I was to young to watch (but managed to see anyway).

I've not seen all his movies, but I think I need to now. Popeye first, no matter how bad now, because he yam what he yam.. Then maybe Good Morning Vietnam.

This is really horrible. I keep hoping it will be a lie. I know it's not, but why can't it be?

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posted by [insert clever name here] at 10:30 PM on August 11 [1 favorite]


OK, that tweet from his daughter finally got the waterworks going for me. Brutally sad.

I know that we have great resources elsewhere on Metafilter, but just in case anyone reading this thread wants immediate information on suicide prevention, one resource is here.

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posted by chicainthecity at 10:31 PM on August 11 [5 favorites]


WTF?!

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posted by mazola at 10:38 PM on August 11 [1 favorite]


Think I'll have to watch one of my favourite movies of all time, Dead Poets Society tonight.

Suicide is awful no matter who it is, but this one hurts more than most. Most of us will never know what he was really like, but Robin seemed like such an incredible man, a true comedic talent, and a shining light. I know he'll be missed, not least of all by his family, the ones he left behind.

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posted by Effigy2000 at 10:43 PM on August 11


I don't believe it.
Robin Williams is dead.
Now, more than ever, the World needs Tom Hanks.
posted by QueerAngel28 at 10:46 PM on August 11 [2 favorites]


He was one of my favorites.

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posted by ocherdraco at 11:05 PM on August 11


Wiliams?
(502nd comment.)
posted by dhartung at 11:05 PM on August 11


I never realized it, but he was one of the all time greats. Like, Brando or Charlie Chaplin, or Elvis great. Reading this thread, I'm like, "oh yeah, Baron Munchausen...oh yeah, Good Morning Vietnam..."

Makes me want to send a letter to Louis CK or Trey Parker, to let them know they are appreciated.

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posted by Slarty Bartfast at 11:06 PM on August 11 [3 favorites]


• I read about Robin Williams' death while awaiting the birth of a giraffe calf in Greenville, South Carolina.
There are some people who would like to name the new giraffe Robin.
You can donate $10 to the Friends of the Greenville Zoo and suggest the name. If enough people do it, they may just name the new giraffe Robin.

I can think of worse memorials.

Used to watch Mork and Mindy, and liked his work.

Just a shame.
posted by Katjusa Roquette at 11:07 PM on August 11 [11 favorites]


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posted by scaryblackdeath at 11:08 PM on August 11


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posted by paulus andronicus at 11:08 PM on August 11


Will be sorely missed. These celebrity tragedies don't normally hit me hard, but this one really jacked up my day.
posted by hanzoschmanzo at 11:12 PM on August 11


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posted by mordax at 11:12 PM on August 11


A few folks have mentioned his Q&A on "Inside the Actors Studio." While the riffing with the pink scarf is what everyone remembers (and deservedly so), I still adore his answers to Host James Lipton's standard questions at the end:

Host: What's your favorite word?

Robin Williams: Cloaca

Host: What's your least favorite word?

Robin Williams: Cunt

Host: What turns you on?

Robin Williams: My wife's laugh

Host: What turns you off?

Robin Williams: Violence towards children

Host: What sound or noise do you love?

[Robin makes fart sound]

Host: What sound or noise do you hate?

Robin Williams: Screeching of breaks. It always implies something is gonna happen.

Host: What's your favorite curse word?

Robin Williams: Pussy

Host: What profession other than yours would you like to attempt?

Robin Williams: Neurologist or theoretical physicist. Those are the people I kinda admire.

Host: What profession would you not like to participate in?

Robin Williams: Bomb tester

Host: If heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?

Robin Williams: They're seating the other front. Or just to hear there's laughter... to hear God go "Two Jews walk into a bar".
posted by zooropa at 11:15 PM on August 11 [23 favorites]


.

Dead Poets Society was one of the influences that got me thinking that I wanted to be an English teacher, although I guess it didn't work out so well for William's character in the movie. I sometimes joke that I haven't inspired any students to stand on their desks yet, but when I have a class that goes really, really well - when the students are enthusiastic and engaged and even excited by what they're learning - it reminds me of the film and of why I wanted to do this in the first place.
posted by bibliowench at 11:16 PM on August 11 [4 favorites]


I woke up from my nap to see my FB wall filled with this, and it kinda blew my mind...

First, that he's dead; second, that I felt a loss; third, that so many people all sort of posted about it at once - I honestly can't think of any other celebrity death recently that has caused such an outpouring. My roomie pointed out that he spans so many years, my whole life, I know that... Someone like Philip Seymour Hoffman, as amazing as he was in my opinion, came around so much later so his impact on older generations is less, I think, and the breadth of Williams work also reached across so many lines that I think it hit that much harder. And being a comedian/clown, people think the funny guy is the happy one, but the clown is the saddest of all.
posted by symbioid at 11:16 PM on August 11 [4 favorites]


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posted by kadonoishi at 11:19 PM on August 11


I was doing ok, but the Pagliacci quote just ended me. I've been weeping ever since.

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posted by KathrynT at 11:20 PM on August 11 [2 favorites]


Watching The Fisher King did help/."God's Janitor" - as in he's down here in the trash of the world, to find the Grail- is a damned fine epitaph for an artist.

And, well, he's drinking from Jesus' Juice-Cup now.

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posted by hap_hazard at 11:23 PM on August 11 [2 favorites]


You are all fine people. Many tears shed while reading this.

“We are travelers on a cosmic journey, stardust, swirling and dancing in the eddies and whirlpools of infinity. Life is eternal. We have stopped for a moment to encounter each other, to meet, to love, to share. This is a precious moment. It is a little parenthesis in eternity.”
― Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist

.

Go with God, sir. We merely borrowed your light for a time.
posted by cardinality at 11:29 PM on August 11 [11 favorites]


It's just not right. It's not fair. It sounds petty and trite, but...life keeps people like Dick Cheney around long beyond what they deserve. It gives them new technology, new hearts to keep them here. People like Robin, who bring us joy, and hope, and laughter...it eats them up. It's just wrong.
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 11:42 PM on August 11 [13 favorites]


I was inspired to write this. I hope it is fitting for his memory.

"Like a rainbow in a rain shower you shone joy amidst the gray, your brightly colored humor kept our worries far away. Laughter was your gift to us and ours, our gift to you. This gift we shared, entwined, ensnared, a wondrous Pas de deux. We wished it on forever, this manic feast of wit, basking in your happy warmth, we'd never tire of it. But fate it seems had colder plans that we could not foresee, and forces in the shadows that would end our reverie. So now the stage is empty and the curtain has been drawn, and we are left with naught to do but sadly move along. We never shall forget you, friend, your love has left it's mark: your living in the light has left us laughing in the dark."
posted by Quasimike at 11:49 PM on August 11 [5 favorites]


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posted by MythMaker at 11:57 PM on August 11


I'm glad the King of the Moon spent a little time here, pollinating with us.
posted by the Real Dan at 12:06 AM on August 12 [4 favorites]


This was written for Michael Jackson but pretty much fits here too:
You will never get older and you will never feel pain
Or fill the room with laughter like you used to
And I won't hear you speaking or others call your name
In spite of this the world will still continue

And you will always remain in my heart forever young
Sun and wind won't change you and you'll escape the hands of time
And now your beauty won't betray you and your future's paved with gold
But in my mind you are suspended and you will be forever young
posted by divabat at 12:13 AM on August 12


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posted by ScotchLynx at 12:14 AM on August 12


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posted by artlung at 12:16 AM on August 12


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I don't even know where to start.
posted by LMGM at 12:17 AM on August 12 [1 favorite]


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posted by paperpete at 12:22 AM on August 12


Well. Fuck. This sucks so bad. Not much to add.

I'll just copy my previous comment about Mr. Williams here, I guess ...

I drove Robin Williams from Whistler to Vancouver in my limo days , and can testify to the man's utterly non-stop manic creativity. This happened on a day when the entire infrastructure of the ski-tourism transport-business, continent-wide, had been struck a massive blow; with a snow-storm which had closed airports from Denver to New York for most of the day, with the resulting missed connections, and badly-snarled plans of anyone unlucky enough to be attempting to travel that day.

I was the only driver in our fleet to make it through to Whistler that morning; the RCMP closed the highway right behind me. Despite leaving at an hour early, I still arrived 3 hours late, and even the tow-trucks in Whistler were in the ditch. From the loading of the luggage, to the final drop-off at YVR 8 hours later, ( Its a 2.5 hour drive normally) the whole experience was like a Marx Brother's movie, on speed. Where other celebrities might have pulled a fit, Robin Williams made everyone he encountered on that chaotic day happy just to be alive in that place, at the time. The jokes and bits simply never ceased, and pretty much all of it was conjured up on the very spot, woven whole from the cloth of those very moments.

He had pretty much taken over the over the concourse and lobby of the hotel when I pulled in, and he had what would otherwise likely been an angry mob positively glowing with excitement to be inconvenienced in this (now hilarious) way. He insisted on sharing his transport with 4 complete strangers; and orchestrated a luggage stowage scheme that would have given a Motor Vehicle Commission inspector an infarction.

The scene at our offices where we stopped for a bathroom break was positively electric, as he leaped over the dutch-door of the dispatch booth, taking over over complete radio-control of the fleet; mollifying our disgruntled passengers out there in blizzard central with his ad-hoc absurdities, and bizarre imitations.

For 8 straight hours this man's brain was constantly searching for, and manufacturing humour; and there were no cameras rolling. He was consistently nice to everyone he encountered, and deliberately went out of his way to make a stressful situation more pleasant. So I fully agree that it's likely that he absorbed and reiterated bits he encountered. But that would be a function of his compulsion toward sharing the funny, and in no way indicative of a lack of talent or character. The man has both, in spades.

posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 12:38 AM on August 12 [121 favorites]


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posted by Spumante at 12:41 AM on August 12


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I am entirely unsure how to process this deeply sad news, so I have decided to use it as a catalyst to get lots of creative stuff on the back boiler done *today* as life is very short and often ends unexpectedly.
posted by Faintdreams at 12:46 AM on August 12 [17 favorites]



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posted by riverlife at 12:49 AM on August 12


A thread this long, I probably can't say anything new. But we have indeed lost someone who made a huge difference, and who we all thought we'd have more out of for a couple of decades at least.

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posted by hippybear at 12:56 AM on August 12 [1 favorite]


Fuck.

I went to bed with that Robin Williams episode of Family Guy, where Peter turns everyone into Williams, than woke up to this.

There have been times I've hated Williams for his schmaltz and smarm and hyperactive riffing, but the thing about him is that even with What Dreams May Come and Patch Adams and all those other not very good movies, he could make you believe in them while he was doing him. And every now and again he'd come back and do something great whenever you'd written him off.
posted by MartinWisse at 1:00 AM on August 12 [5 favorites]


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posted by Mister Bijou at 1:26 AM on August 12


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posted by Nat "King" Cole Porter Wagoner at 1:33 AM on August 12


I'm late to the thread, but I really need to record my feelings. Because I just do. I've loved him since Mork and Mindy. GMV was quoted constantly by my friends and me in HS. He was one of the most talented human beings alive. Just really sui generis. And he always exuded such pathos in his roles. I think it's what made him so funny. I too struggle with depression. I just want to hug him and tell him eventually it gets better. But I know it's impossible to see when you're in the depths of it. It just breaks my heart that he, Robin Williams, felt so awfully.
posted by persona au gratin at 1:39 AM on August 12 [4 favorites]


Literally the worst. I'm sad as shit about this.
posted by rhizome at 1:46 AM on August 12 [1 favorite]


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posted by evil_esto at 1:48 AM on August 12


SharkParty: " What's really kicking me in the gut is finding out on the day he died that he was a big video game and anime dork and in general never stopped taking in new information. "

Spore was a disappointment, but his narrated playtest of the Creature Creator was so charming.


I've been thinking about What Dreams May Come recently. Critics call it mawkish, and it is in parts, but it's also quietly moving and surprisingly dark at times. As others have said, after the CGI showcase of the Painted World and fun with Cuba Gooding Jr., it's about literally journeying into the bowels of Hell to try to rescue a lost loved one from the grips of suicidal depression. If only someone were able to do the same thing for him.

Being strong, not giving up... that was his place to hide. He pushed away the pain so hard, he disconnected himself from the person he loved the most. Sometimes, when you win, you lose.

For this one, and Aladdin and Hook and Jumanji and Dead Poets Society and Mrs. Doubtfire and yes, even Bicentennial Man and Patch Adams:

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posted by Rhaomi at 2:00 AM on August 12 [7 favorites]




To me, he's Garp. He will always be Garp. And Garp died, in the book and in the movie, and I cried when that happened. Because he was such a good, kind, warm and silly man.

And now I'm being told that Garp has died again.

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posted by Too-Ticky at 3:00 AM on August 12 [12 favorites]


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posted by univac at 3:21 AM on August 12


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posted by my-username at 3:38 AM on August 12


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posted by arzakh at 3:50 AM on August 12


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posted by jacob at 3:51 AM on August 12


What Dreams May Come isn't just about journeying into hell to save someone. It's about how it's impossible to help a depressed person without understanding and accepting their perspective: "What's real in our minds is real." A helpful point to remember when things like this happen (well, before, ideally). The movie is fairly mediocre, but it's also one of the best portrayals of depression I have seen.
posted by Comet Bug at 4:23 AM on August 12 [14 favorites]


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posted by seyirci at 4:24 AM on August 12


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He found peace at last.
posted by travelwithcats at 4:28 AM on August 12


people rarely say how much they appreciate another to their faces while still alive. it's after their departure when the true appreciation comes out. how wonderful that so many people felt this way about mr. williams, how sad that he can't hear this.
posted by krautland at 4:33 AM on August 12


I think one of the most surprising things about his death is finding out how many people have seen What Dreams May Come.
posted by kat518 at 4:35 AM on August 12 [4 favorites]


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posted by Slithy_Tove at 4:40 AM on August 12




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posted by PippinJack at 4:54 AM on August 12




I am so glad for MetaFilter right now - for everyone who has the words I don't, and who are so generously sharing all of their lived experiences. For the support. The heartfelt expressions of grief and hope and remembrance are enough to drive me to cry in the bathroom at work, but I wouldn't have it any other way.

It's an odd thing, grieving for someone you never met. But the way Robin Williams touched our lives is undeniable, and in all of this I am somehow glad to know that the light and laughter he spread reached so, so many other people from all walks of life. He is in so many of my childhood memories in so many ways that matter - I never actually knew so many others felt the same.

My childhood - he was my parents' age, and they loved him too. They were always so eager to rent that VHS of his latest film - we bought the video store copy of Hook when they were selling off their old stock. I think I'll call them tonight, just to say I love them.

We'll miss you Robin. Thank you for being here for us.

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posted by harujion at 5:02 AM on August 12 [14 favorites]


Good article on Cracked today about this subject. I knew that Cracked would come through.
posted by Melismata at 5:06 AM on August 12 [3 favorites]


Thanks for the tip, Melismata. Here's the link on Cracked:

Robin Williams and Why Funny People Kill Themselves, by David Wong
posted by Strange Interlude at 5:12 AM on August 12 [29 favorites]


For all the reasons to celebrate Robin Williams' life and work, and mourn his loss, the part of me that probably got the most joy from him and feels the saddest right now is the eight year old boy who got in trouble with at least one teacher for signing papers "Mork" instead of "Mark"; who had the suspenders and stripy shirt as a Halloween costume, but wore them on regular days too.

He made me feel like it might be OK to be a little weird, and that meant a lot. Thanks, and nanu nanu,
posted by oakroom at 5:17 AM on August 12 [16 favorites]


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Like thelonius above, one my my favorite performances of his is a small, uncredited but key role as a former psychiatrist working as a grocery clerk in Kenneth Branagh's thriller Dead Again.
posted by Gelatin at 5:17 AM on August 12 [3 favorites]


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posted by Renoroc at 5:22 AM on August 12


I am a very, very sad person sometimes. When I think of anyone who is so sad and in so much pain that they take their own life, I almost can't breathe. I can't bear to think of it.
posted by ersatzkat at 5:26 AM on August 12 [7 favorites]




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posted by starman at 5:40 AM on August 12


Have been crying on and off since last night, when I saw the news. It took it a little time to hit my husband, who was neck-deep in programming homework, but it got him this morning, too. He's a fellow traveler down the bipolar scenic highway, and the fact that it was suicide really got to him. Hunter S. Thompson (another of his heroes) wasn't a surprise, but I think we both had a vague sort of feeling that Robin Williams was doing better now, that he wasn't having to struggle so hard anymore.

Well.

I'm thankful he has a full day of school to keep his thoughts occupied. And maybe later, we can watch old clips and cry a little bit together.
posted by PussKillian at 5:51 AM on August 12 [3 favorites]


Not sure if this has already been mentioned elsewhere in this very long thread, but: am I wrong in thinking that the Academy tweet, while doubtless very poignant, could seem like a glorification of suicide?

I'm just heartbroken. There is a big Robin Williams-shaped hole in my life, and that makes life forever just a little less good.
posted by ladybird at 5:52 AM on August 12


I thought he was doing better, too.

I think we're going to have to figure out how to live in little communes as we all get older.
posted by amtho at 5:56 AM on August 12 [4 favorites]


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posted by stromatolite at 5:56 AM on August 12


Not sure if this has already been mentioned elsewhere in this very long thread, but: am I wrong in thinking that the Academy tweet, while doubtless very poignant, could seem like a glorification of suicide?

Maybe acceptance, rather than glorification? I have also been thinking about this a fair bit since hearing the news. He wasn't a big hero for me like HST or Spalding Gray, but like those guys he decided he needed to go. I am sure it has been an ongoing plan, slowly slowly. Some people make a conscious choice to leave, maybe that isn't really such a sad thing? Many of us live fearing that day, and people with this flavour of soul don't have to deal with that. Let's not deny him his agency or condemn his choice.

I am somewhere on the light side of BPD myself, and when I heard Robin laughing in the Zelda commercials linked here it reminded me of my own laugh when I surrender to the funny - really full and free. Good for him! There was lots of very happy and fun too! He's gone now, no big deal, we all go!
posted by Meatbomb at 6:06 AM on August 12 [1 favorite]


I think we're going to have to figure out how to live in little communes as we all get older.

Internship position is still open here!
posted by Meatbomb at 6:07 AM on August 12 [2 favorites]


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posted by ILuvMath at 6:24 AM on August 12




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posted by antinomia at 6:30 AM on August 12


My daughter is 5 months old now. We've already watched Aladdin (totally for her benefit, not at all because it was top of the list of cartoon movies I wanted to watch while she stared at the screen and squirmed...).

Now I'm not going to say that she loved the movie or was entranced or something like that, she was 4 months old, not quite to that level of cognizance yet to be honest...

But now, *pause*.... now, one of the things that doesn't fail to give her the giggles is when I look at her and say, with as much of Robin/Genie in my demeanor as I can muster,

"Poof, whadda you need? POOF, whadda you need? POOF, whadda you need?!"

Not much of a Robin story, but thanks for that kindness that you did for me. A mensch indeed.
posted by RolandOfEld at 6:32 AM on August 12 [6 favorites]


GhostintheMachine: Could somebody please start posting really, really inappropriate (yet subversively insightful) jokes now? Because we've just lost someone who could always be counted on for that.

Can't do it justice. We can be assured that Carlos Mencia & Jeff Dunham will live long and healthy lives.

Robin Williams gets heaped on for being a joke thief, but the mans performance and ability to weave any thread, regardless of the source, into a tapestry of funny is the true talent.

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posted by dr_dank at 6:35 AM on August 12 [2 favorites]


"You know, everybody dies. My parents died. Your father died. Everybody dies. I'm going to die too. So will you. The thing is, to have a life before we die. It can be a real adventure having a life." -- World According to Garp, 1982.

Godspeed, Robin.


This is what keeps me from being devastated. It's a horrible loss to all of us, but there is some comfort in the fact that he managed to pack so much into his too-short life.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 6:41 AM on August 12 [1 favorite]


He was great in What Dreams May Come (among many others). I will never forget his manic standup and manic Mork character. He will never die as long as I live.
posted by RussHy at 6:43 AM on August 12 [1 favorite]


Robin Williams’s inexhaustible comic force

His energy was his most memorable characteristic and maybe, at 63, a difficult quality to maintain. He will be missed.
posted by xtian at 6:43 AM on August 12 [3 favorites]


I don't think Toys has been mentioned yet in this thread — perhaps understandably, as it's not generally well-received, and a lot of people don't care for it (and that's OK, de gustibus non est disputandum, etc.) — but it's a favorite of mine. "Like Willy Wonka meets Dr. Strangelove" said a review I once read. And Williams (not to mention Joan Cusack) brings a wonderful childlike sense of wonder to the film. And at the same time it's an indictment of the military-industrial complex. Maybe not the most convincing one, if viewed from a critical rhetorical perspective, but certainly an original one.

If I were to make I list of "movies where my personal rating most differs, positively, from the average IMDB rating," I suspect Toys would be very near if not at the top of that list.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 6:49 AM on August 12 [12 favorites]


"Didn't Robin Williams understand how many people loved him?"

You always hear this sort of thing from people who don't get it at all, who either have never been depressed or have never honestly faced their own depression.

Such sentiments are particularly unhelpful since they implicitly blame the suicidal / depressed person for hurting those who reputedly loved her or him, a double whammy.

His energy was his most memorable characteristic and maybe, at 63, a difficult quality to maintain.

Well that and there's been buzz in the media press for a long time now how he'd lost his early edge, how a lot of his more recent movies are just slight or sentimental pap, etc. I always imagined that the popular press's dismissal of him as a has-been would have been particularly hard on someone who so much depended on the positive feedback from others (in stand up clips you just see how the enjoyment of a crowd energizes him so much).

Very sad.
posted by aught at 6:53 AM on August 12 [13 favorites]


About a dozen years ago, I was living in the Bay Area and had recently taken up recreational cycling. I cannot remember when it was exactly, but on the day I decided I first wanted to bike across the Golden Gate Bridge I either didn't bother asking anyone to join me or couldn't find any takers.

I was about halfway across when a large sky-blue blur whizzed past me and I felt myself almost lose my balance. (It's not exactly the widest place and there's already a near-constant breeze blowing through the area, so while it's safe it still feels a little precarious.) I looked up and shook my fist at the rapidly retreating figure, just as he craned his neck around behind him and grinned back at me, that unmistakeable nose-and-chin profile under reflective sunglasses.

And I realized I couldn't be mad at Robin Williams, a guy so full of life he'd rather live and go out in public among the eccentrics in San Francisco than hide away in Hollywood and so hairy he had to wear a bodysuit just to go biking.

R.I.P.
posted by psoas at 7:00 AM on August 12 [22 favorites]


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posted by glhaynes at 7:04 AM on August 12


He's gone now, no big deal, we all go!

There's something to be said for acceptance when confronted by tragic news, but this sounds as though Williams, if he had a plan for his end, planned only for himself and left his family and friends shocked and in sorrow. This wasn't like the stoic suicide of Seneca the Younger, who at least had the time to say his farewells and died peacefully; this was Williams's wife discovering his corpse in their home after he'd been struggling with depression. It's left his friend Steve Martin, in his words, "stunned". Martin once played Vladimir to Williams's Estragon in a revival of Waiting for Godot, and in retrospect, it's poignant how that play must have appealed to him.
posted by Doktor Zed at 7:05 AM on August 12 [4 favorites]


No no no no no.

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posted by mochapickle at 7:07 AM on August 12


I don't think Toys has been mentioned yet in this thread

YES, definitely one of my favourites. Despite an appallingly trite storyline, everyone in the movie delivered a weirdly moving performance, and it was equal parts bizarre and funny.The set design also made me extremely delighted just to see it.
posted by elizardbits at 7:07 AM on August 12 [3 favorites]


I woke up this morning, and it hit me all over again. Then I thought about Robin Williams's friends and family, particularly his children, and the unimaginable pain they must be experiencing right now to have lost someone so wonderful in such a terrible way.

It's already been said more than once up thread, but Fuck Depression. What a terrible disease, that it can make someone who has brought so much happiness into the world feel like their only way to end the suffering is through taking their own life.

Luckynerd, I'm so sorry for your loss, as well.
posted by litera scripta manet at 7:09 AM on August 12 [2 favorites]


My gent and I are heartbroken. Like so many, we grew up watching Mork & Mindy and all his early films. It's like we lost a childhood friend. Depression runs in our families too. Double gut punch.

When we first started dating, I made the gent watch Death to Smoochy to gauge his reaction. (He passed with flying colors.) Robin Williams will always be Rainbow Fuckin' Randolph to me. Any actor can play a one-dimensional villain, but Robin performed with intense fury and vulnerability. And the chemistry between him and the other actors is palpable.

Really grateful for Metafilter right now.

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posted by Orange Dinosaur Slide at 7:12 AM on August 12 [3 favorites]


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posted by elisse at 7:14 AM on August 12


Laughter. Tears. Joy. Sorrow. Still having trouble with this news. His concerts and movies have gotten me through some of the worst depths of depression over the years. Still can't believe he's gone.

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Two movies of his that I find myself watching again and again are The Birdcage and What Dreams May Come. The Birdcage is brilliant in many ways, but in it, Williams actually plays counter to type, as the comedic straight man (no pun intended) to Nathan Lane and Hank Azaria. And man, he's glorious in the role. The sane man in the room, doing his best because he loves his son and wants nothing more that that he be happy.

This quiet scene between him and Lane encapsulates a great deal of why many of his movies were so good. They were funny, yes. But on film in his concerts and movies and even on his tv show, he managed to repeatedly and masterfully capture fundamental and familiar aspects of what it is to be human. To love and grieve. To laugh and be angry. To grow old.

What Dreams May Come... for this and much more. I remember being so surprised when it didn't have more success at the box office. Perhaps to truly "get" it, one needed to have dealt with depression or lose a loved one?

Our lifetimes are so short. Way, way too short. Williams gave us a tremendous gift. I hope he's found the peace he sought.
posted by zarq at 7:16 AM on August 12 [9 favorites]


Thirding the love for Toys. I never understood the hate-on that critics and audiences seemed to have for it, because it's an utterly guileless, good-hearted film whose only fault is being a little soft in the head. Robin and Joan Cusack and Michael Gambon all gave wonderful performances, and the production and set design was amazing.

Also, I'm deeply sorry to hear about your spouse, luckynerd. My best wishes for all the love and support you need right now.
posted by Strange Interlude at 7:16 AM on August 12 [4 favorites]


Luckynerd, I am deeply sorry for your loss. :(
posted by zarq at 7:17 AM on August 12 [3 favorites]


Hugs to you, luckynerd. So sorry for your loss.
posted by arcticseal at 7:23 AM on August 12 [2 favorites]


In a state of half sleep, I thought the DJ on the trendy music station I wake up to was being unexpectedly morose over the sudden demise of Robbie Williams.

Fuck.
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posted by rongorongo at 7:23 AM on August 12 [1 favorite]


I'm ambivalent about the Academy tweet. But if he'd died of some other disease it would seem appropriate so why not now? The disease he had wanted him dead.
posted by BibiRose at 7:23 AM on August 12 [4 favorites]


A brief reminiscence from Joel Hodgson.
posted by Chrysostom at 7:24 AM on August 12 [3 favorites]


Oh, luckynerd, I'm so, so sorry.

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posted by BibiRose at 7:24 AM on August 12 [1 favorite]


I'm so very sorry, luckynerd.
posted by Orange Dinosaur Slide at 7:25 AM on August 12 [2 favorites]


In the early 80's, my sister was home from college and at an open mike night at The Improv in NYC.

She called and told me to just drop what I was doing and get down there. I was like, "Ugh, no. Why? Open Mike night sucks," and she said, "Robin Williams is here and he's hanging out and I don't know, maybe he's gonna go on."

So I tore down to The Improv and sat with my sister and her friends as a few hacks got up there and did their bits.

And then Robin Williams ran onto the stage and I HAVE NO WORDS. I can try to tell you that he was electrifying, that I have never laughed that hard in my life, that he was insanely manic and all over the place and yet tied everything together as he ran around the stage, changing his voice into a weird little kid on the playground to an obscene Yiddish grandfather.

The stage could not contain him. He ran off it, and into the crowd. The room could not contain him. He just had the most incredible energy. It poured from him. He was just insanely hilarious.

There are times in your life that you can recall as being so incomprehensibly huge and epochal, and I cannot thank Robin Williams enough for giving me that one night in my life where I have never laughed so hard.

Jesus, what a loss.
posted by kinetic at 7:30 AM on August 12 [43 favorites]


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posted by discopolo at 7:34 AM on August 12


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posted by Shoggoth at 7:34 AM on August 12



I'd also like to echo the thanks for Metafilter. I started watching Dead Poets last night and only made it for about ten minutes and had to turn it off because it was just too much. This one is hitting me hard and I've been going back and forth with just letting myself be really sad and then trying to figure out why I'm having such an emotional reaction to someone I never met.

I'm at work now and people have mentioned it, said it horrible and so sad and then just gone on with the day. And here I am with tears welling up and saying 'um excuse me I have work to do' and retreating to my office. Just being able to load up Metafilter to see that I'm not the only one feeling this way is day saving.

Robin Williams has always been one of my favourite actors but never in a I'm an uber fan way. He was just someone that seemed to be always there. And now that he's not anymore, without trying to be too cliche I'm now realizing the extent that his work has influenced and been part of my life in incredibly positives ways.

I know depression. I've been in that hole and luckily was able to find a way out. I know what it's like. I know how it messess with you. I know how it makes the idea of just going to sleep and never waking up so damn appealing no matter how much support and love surrounds you. I just hope that at least part of him at the end was still able to have some comprehension of just how much of the good in him he gave the world and how much people appreciated it and him.
posted by Jalliah at 7:41 AM on August 12 [9 favorites]


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posted by xorry at 7:42 AM on August 12


I have been crying off and on since I heard the news last night.

Like many people have already said, Robin Williams has a body of work that has profoundly moved and inspired me. I was 8 when Aladdin came out and I remember being blown away by the Genie. I used to watch Mork & Mindy reruns when they were airing on Nick & Nite, and as a weird kid who never fit in anywhere I found myself drawn to Mork and his attempts to understand the world. I don't remember how old I was when I saw Dead Poets Society, or the Fisher King, or Awakenings, or Hook, but those are all films that I feel helped form me into the person I am now. The Birdcage - oh man, I don't even know where to begin. That's one of my all-time favorite films, and as zarq mentioned, it's notable for the fact that Robin is the straight man (so to speak), the counterpoint to Nathan Lane's histrionics and Hank Azaria's flat-out zaniness.

I also suffer from bipolar disorder. I am on medication and I have it mostly under control, but I still have moments of utter darkness. The past few weeks I have been having awful, horrendous, stressful nightmares for some reason - dreams where I've been abandoned by everybody for letting them down. I haven't been sleeping well as a result, and I find myself feeling depressed for days after I have one. I don't know what's going on with me and it has me a bit scared, to say the least. Hearing that he hung himself, that he'd been going through a particularly bad depressive patch recently - it freaked me right out. I feel awful and selfish and gross for feeling this way - for making his suicide all about me. But like others have said before, there is a part of me that is thinking that if he, of all people, couldn't lick this disease, what hope is there for me?

But I'm trying to comfort myself by remembering, in addition to his outsized talent for making us laugh and for moving us, what a kind and gentle person he was in his real life. I went to high school with his son Zak. (Zelda also went to my high school, but she started there the year after I graduated.) And here's what I remember: the day Zak's class graduated, I was standing in the back, watching. That's kind of the way we did it, unofficially, at my school's graduation ceremonies. The seats in the front were for the parents and families of the students who were graduating, and those of us who were current students who wanted to see our friends graduate would stand in the back, so as not to hog seats from the families of the graduates. But that day, Robin was also standing in the back. He had a baseball cap on, pulled sort of low over his face, trying to be as inconspicuous as possible. The rest of the Williams family was sitting up front with the other families, but Robin stayed in the back, out of sight, so as not to steal the thunder from his son. He was such a big star, he was so recognizable, that he could easily have caused a major press event that day, by sitting up front. But he didn't want to take away from Zak's day (and, also, completely ruin it for all of the other graduates too). I remember seeing him standing back there with us, and I just kind of nodded at him, and he smiled and nodded back, and that was it. That's the closest exchange I ever had with him. I really wanted to say something to him, about how much of a fan I was, about how his work had moved me, but I didn't, because I could sense that that would have kind of taken away from what he was trying to do, hiding in the back like that. So I left him alone.

I will always have so much respect for him for doing that - for making sure that his son didn't get upstaged on his graduation day. He was a massive talent, but he was also a good man, and a good father.

I wish him peace and I hope he is no longer in pain.

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posted by thereemix at 7:42 AM on August 12 [54 favorites]


"...Wonderful stuff, you know, little things like that. Ah, but, those are the things I miss the most. The little idiosyncrasies that only I knew about. That's what made her my wife. Oh, and she had the goods on me, too, she knew all my little peccadillos. People call these things imperfections, but they're not, aw, that's the good stuff.

And then we get to choose who we let in to our weird little worlds. You're not perfect, sport. And let me save you the suspense. This girl you met, she isn't perfect either. But the question is: whether or not you're perfect for each other." (Robin Williams as Sean, Good Will Hunting)


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posted by Ky at 7:44 AM on August 12 [4 favorites]


This news just made me really sad. Unexpectedly so...
posted by trif at 7:44 AM on August 12


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posted by Lafe at 7:44 AM on August 12


Who's up for a Fuck Depression Time Machine Kickstarter? A time machine with the sole purpose of transporting friends, loved ones, and doctors into crisis moments before actions that will result in suicide, either accidental or deliberate, and....

ah, fuck it. When depression wants to find a way, depression will find a way, won't it. That's the part we can't accept, those of us who suffer from it and those who don't alike. All the "I love you" and "You're important" and "What you're feeling isn't an accurate depiction of reality" and "I know it hurts, but I swear you can make it through" in the world can't beat this thing back when it at its most powerful.

Jesus. When even the deepest familial bonds of love combined with TIME TRAVEL wouldn't get the job done, we know we're in the tall weeds.

From the Guardian's Comment is Free:
Physical illness is something the medical profession understands. It knows what to do when the human body malfunctions and what not to do. Mental illness, if illness is the right word, seems lost in some dark age. Otherwise healthy people with every reason to be happy are found wrestling with private demons. Therapists wander the scene like surgeons on a medieval battlefield, at a loss for what to do (emphasis mine).
posted by tzikeh at 7:45 AM on August 12 [19 favorites]


I memorized Reality . . . What A Concept at the time, and later became (and remain) completely over his stream-of-consciousness babbling, and his bad movies are paradigmatic punchline bad, BUT: World's Greatest Dad, Garp, the mime in Shakes the Clown, the Louie episode, the appearances on Puddin', One Hour Photo, the extensive USO touring, etc. etc. etc. etc.

The man did everything, movie, TV, youtube, Oscar musical number, filling live primetime dead air with zero notice. He worked with everyone, from Pepitone to Pacino (from whom he stole the movie). And whatever he did, he brought it. Go watch the ending of World's Greatest Dad and tell me there was anyone else ever who could have pulled it off.

Finally, he was generous with his talent. So many anecdotes about him entertaining an audience of one.

He was everywhere, he was our oxygen. I can't breathe.
posted by whuppy at 7:48 AM on August 12 [6 favorites]


I went searching for his clips from the Carol Burnett show, because I always remembered those two having wonderful energy together. Plus, Robin could usually reduce Carol to at least one fit of laughter during the scene - especially when they would come out and redo the skit.

Anyways, maybe it's too on the nose, but Carol Burnett and Robin Williams in The Funeral
posted by nubs at 7:52 AM on August 12 [6 favorites]


Checking out "World's Greatest Dad" tonight.

And in terms of a career retrospective, hie thee to Matt Zoller Seitz's article. Williams' artistic trajectory was unique. The only person I can think of who might come close in terms of range was James Cagney.
posted by Sheydem-tants at 7:54 AM on August 12 [1 favorite]


This is such horrible unbelievably surreal news. Once again, I come to Metafilter for solace and true memorializing of one of my heroes.

One of my best memories of Robin Williams was on an early HBO special, where John Ritter came out of the audience and they improved off of each other. It was so full of joy. I wish I could find the video.

Rest in peace, you beautiful man. You leave a hole in the world.

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posted by blurker at 8:02 AM on August 12 [1 favorite]


Robin William's first album... Reality, What A Concept! (1979)... now on YT
posted by Mister Bijou at 8:08 AM on August 12 [3 favorites]


Zoe Quinn finally released Depression Quest last night on Steam. It's free I guess. On her site it's a donation, but Steam has no donation ability.
After a long uphill battle since getting Greenlit in January, Depression Quest was planned to, and approved for, launch on Steam today. Literally minutes after we got the notification, beloved actor Robin Williams was found dead from a suspected suicide after a long struggle with depression. We were all ready to hit the big red button the minute that the news broke.
My sister died last October from suicide. While she was the black sheep and life was difficult with her, it still is hard without her in it. It still is a hole, a vacant empty hole in our family. It's strange that feeling. I struggle with depression, a milder, perhaps more dysthymic version, but it's there, always lurking, that grey shadow. I am not opposed to suicide as an option, philosophically, but I hope it never gets to the point that I feel I have to do that, and I hope for those who are at that point, they can give it one more shot. I fear that might be how I go in an old age, you think it's the young, but like others said, HST, Robin, Deleuze, and others.

My first real grieving death was a friend in High School who killed herself.

I was thinking about the song "Suicide is Painless" just now... "I can take or leave it if I please..." That choice, that freedom. What an existential song.

I have a falling out with a friend recently, and I'm terrified if it's permanent, I hope it isn't, but I worry. Robin Williams death makes me that much sadder about this. I want to cherish it so much more, and I fear I may have damaged it all for something so trivial.

Speaking of cherishing. I'm making a video game. I slack. A lot. I struggle with trying to be productive and having something complete. It depresses me. But I feel like his death is something to move me forward. "Your death shall not be in vain" kind of thing. It is a real bummer. RIP.
posted by symbioid at 8:10 AM on August 12 [13 favorites]


Turkish American filmmaker Bilge Ebiri is film critic for New York Magazine and Nerve.com.

@BilgeEbiri: "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."
posted by zarq at 8:11 AM on August 12 [11 favorites]


This Guardian interview from a few years ago does a good job of capturing late-life Robin Williams:

Quite often when he opens his mouth a slur of unrelated words come out, like a dozen different false starts tangled together, from which an actual sentence eventually finds its way out. For example, "So/Now/And then/Well/It/I – Sometimes I used to work just to work." It's like trying to tune into a long-wave radio station.
posted by Nevin at 8:13 AM on August 12 [5 favorites]


<3 luckynerd, also, in your time of darkness...
posted by symbioid at 8:14 AM on August 12 [2 favorites]


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posted by koucha at 8:17 AM on August 12


I cried a bit last night, and went to sleep sad, thinking I'd gotten most of my grief out of my system.

Woke up this morning, turned on the TV, and the first thing I saw was the 'O Captain' scene from DPS.

Motherfucker.

What an astonishing and multifaceted body of work Robin left us.

What a cruel and horrible way for it to end.

Can we *finally* pay attention to depression and mental illness and the damage and human misery it causes?

Please?
posted by pjern at 8:21 AM on August 12 [13 favorites]


Count me as someone who is unexpectedly hit hard by this. I knew about Williams' struggles with substance abuse, but I didn't know he fought depression, too.

My first exposure to Williams was Mork & Mindy as a wee tyke and Dead Poets came out at just the right time to make a tremendous impact on me as a high schooler. Like so many, I tired of Williams of the 90s with the mawkish (Patch Adams) and kiddie-fare (Jumanji) and whatever. His constant need to riff, to jump on stage, to, entertain, began to seem like so much narcissism to me, but it's so clear now it was his way of dodging that black dog.

I just rewatched The Fisher King last night for the first time since it came out, what an amazing film and an honest, vulnerable performance. It made want to strip naked, go sit on the lawn, and howl at the moon. And Good Will Hunting, oh my god. That man could inhabit vulnerable roles like few others. Now I'm listening to his episode of WTF.

I've been fighting depression since I was a teenager, and like so many have said, if Williams can't beat it, what chance do the rest of us have? My god. There was something so gentle and childlike about him that seems like nearly an extinct thing in this world. I am really going to miss him.
posted by entropicamericana at 8:22 AM on August 12 [5 favorites]


So, so sad. One of my favourite actors and comedians. I miss him already. I too fear the howl of the black dog and it hurts my heart to think that this shitty fucking beast bit him so hard that he couldn't get away from it. He worked so hard and it's the smallest consolation (but a consolation nonetheless) to have it confirmed that he was such a good man in his life outside of the entertainment industry. RIP, Robin.
posted by h00py at 8:24 AM on August 12 [3 favorites]


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posted by fredosan at 8:25 AM on August 12


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posted by Skorgu at 8:25 AM on August 12


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posted by mikel at 8:31 AM on August 12


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posted by allthinky at 8:34 AM on August 12


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bangarang
posted by RainyJay at 8:37 AM on August 12 [4 favorites]


Mrs. Doubtfire came out about 2 years after my parents divorced when I was a child. I've always loved that movie because it was the first one I had ever seen that was about something I was going through. I have seen it so many many times.

What Dreams May Come has always been a favorite of mine. Total cry-fest but I love it.

One Hour Photo: RW was just so unsettling. He was fantastic.

My group of friends and I have been meaning to do a See-More Hoffman marathon. Now its time to do a Robin Williams one too.

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posted by LizBoBiz at 8:40 AM on August 12 [2 favorites]


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posted by spindle at 8:40 AM on August 12


Oh, and DeNiro too. How many actors have held their own against both Pacino and DeNiro on the big screen?
posted by whuppy at 8:44 AM on August 12


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posted by redtriskelion at 8:47 AM on August 12


I don't ever do this, but, goddamn.

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posted by Imperfect at 8:49 AM on August 12


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What a man.

On The Telegraph's blogs, concert pianist James Rhodes writes movingly about Robin Williams, the nature of depression, and how we talk about suicide. It's hard to choose a most beautiful part, because it's short and hits so close to home, but he writes,
Depression is like being forced to wear a cloak made of lead. You don’t get to choose when to put it on and take it off. It is a second skin which gradually seeps into your own, real skin and poisons it until you are a walking, toxic, corrosive bundle of infectious awfulness. The thought of suicide is the only real respite and the only chink of light at the end of the tunnel. You can "pull yourself together" only inasmuch as you can make yourself three feet taller. Whether you’re alone in a squalid bedsit with tinfoil on the windows or in a 17-bedroom mansion with a loving family and the career of your dreams makes no difference.
It's a rainy and dark night where I am. Take care, all. Take care.
posted by undue influence at 8:52 AM on August 12 [20 favorites]


Guardian interview from 2010:

I just thought, hey, maybe drinking will help. Because I felt alone and afraid. It was that thing of working so much, and going fuck, maybe that will help. And it was the worst thing in the world." What did he feel like when he had his first drink? "You feel warm and kind of wonderful. And then the next thing you know, it's a problem, and you're isolated."

Some have suggested it was Reeve's death that turned him back to drink. "No," he says quietly, "it's more selfish than that. It's just literally being afraid. And you think, oh, this will ease the fear. And it doesn't." What was he afraid of? "Everything. It's just a general all-round arggghhh. It's fearfulness and anxiety."

posted by vacapinta at 8:55 AM on August 12 [12 favorites]


So many good comments already here. I'm still at a loss, because I don't think I expected a celebrity death to hit me so hard, and second, because well, I don't want to make it about me and what I feel. A great man, a brilliant man who touched so many lives passed away, because of a terrible disease that nobody really knows enough about.

So, Robin Williams, thanks for all the memories. I hope you're at peace now. Fucking depression.

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posted by PearlRose at 8:58 AM on August 12


Sitting at my desk at work, trying not to cry. Friend took a mental health day, wish I could do the same (though I believe hers are tied to the *$#@)*) she works for, not this).

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posted by tilde at 8:59 AM on August 12 [1 favorite]


I remember hearing an interview with Steven Spielberg where he said that during the making of Schindler's List he would get so depressed about the nature of what he was filming that the only thing that could lift his mood was calling his friend Robin Williams to make him laugh.

From the Reddit AMA (linked upthread), he said he only called Spielberg once:

"I think I only called him once, maybe twice. I called him when I was representing People for the Valdheimers Association. A society devoted to helping raise money to help older Germans who had forgotten everything before 1945. I remember him laughing and going 'thank you.'"
posted by msbrauer at 9:08 AM on August 12 [1 favorite]


Just watched this bit on Craig Ferguson in 2010.

Good Will Hunting is one of my favorite movies of all time.

My heart goes out to his family.

RIP, Mr. Williams.


posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 9:19 AM on August 12 [1 favorite]


I've seen the pit with the black dog. I'm sorry it had to end this way and I wish his family peace and compassion.
posted by Sophie1 at 9:19 AM on August 12 [3 favorites]


"Didn't Robin Williams understand how many people loved him?"

There's also the terrible lie that depression tells: that you are a burden to your loved ones, and therefore they'd be better off without you -- and so suicide begins to seem like the final loving act you can perform. This is one of the things that's so terrifying when the black bird of depression has enfolded you in its wings: it takes everything you know, and it uses it against you, up to the point where you want to extinguish your life.

Robin Williams gave all he could, for as long as he could. He knew he was loved, and he loved fiercely in return. The black bird doesn't care.
posted by scody at 9:21 AM on August 12 [38 favorites]


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posted by joannemerriam at 9:22 AM on August 12


I knew he had struggled with depression but I was still shocked to hear the news. He was a big part of my childhood tv and movie viewing but my favourite roles of his were the ones he wasn't as well known for, like the ex-shrink/grocery stocker in Dead Again, and Garp. It's so sad that he hurt so badly and for so long. Damn.

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posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 9:23 AM on August 12 [1 favorite]


"I think I only called him once, maybe twice. I called him when I was representing People for the Valdheimers Association. A society devoted to helping raise money to help older Germans who had forgotten everything before 1945. I remember him laughing and going 'thank you.'"

*chokes*

OMG
posted by zarq at 9:25 AM on August 12


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posted by ElleElle at 9:32 AM on August 12


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posted by mayurasana at 9:36 AM on August 12


I'm glad others have mentioned Toys above. I wanted to mention it earlier, but didn't quite have the words (and still don't actually). It's a pretty simplistic plot, but there was something about it that gave it a sort of surreal Dr. Suess quality. Whenever that movie, Jumanji or What Dreams May Come show up on cable, I watch and always feel better after the movie than before. Like the death of Scott Miller, this hit me unexpectedly hard. Peace, man.
posted by foonly at 9:37 AM on August 12 [1 favorite]


I did some writing the other day and realized I do this "shutting down" thing in all of my affairs. I never really identified it before so clearly. I'm otherwise incredibly social and funny, but when I shut down this affects my personal relationships, for example people might think I'm flaky. I want to be well-liked and spend quality time with my friends, but I also find it impossible to attend parties. Is that not the most cruel contradiction? To want to spend all day in bed and feel okay? To want to be alone, and feel connected?

Anyway, that's an incredibly personal thing to share online but since Robin Williams died and I'm guessing a lot of us suffer from this, we don't realize we can talk about it. Today I'm going to try and do the opposite of shutting down and see where it takes me. The man, despite his failings, gave so much. It's almost as if the least I can do is learn from his experience. I think he would want that.
posted by phaedon at 9:38 AM on August 12 [16 favorites]




My most quoted Robin Williams line is "Brace yourself, Effie!" from Mrs Doubtfire. So useful in so many varied situations, in a 'be prepared' kind of way.

Like many of you, I grew up with Mork as a small child, then Good Morning Vietnam then DPS at a crucial time in my life (age 12) when I really needed the messages of that film. Toys is also a firm favourite. Looking through his filmography I have missed so many of his later films and look forward to seeing them over the coming weeks. He has been a huge part of the cultural landscape my entire life and will be sorely missed. His reddit ama a few months ago reminded me of how great he was. RIP Robin - behind your mania the pain was always obvious, and the way it fed into your dramatic acting was so amazing.

As well as the Homicide: LOTS role, check out his role in one of the season finales of SVU. I think he was workshopping his role in One Hour Photo, they're similar characters, but it was so nuanced and understated.

I hope you've found peace now, and are cracking everybody up wherever you are.

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posted by goo at 9:41 AM on August 12 [1 favorite]




I listened to the Good Morning Vietnam soundtrack about a million times when I was a kid. It was given to me by my aunt (who was just a few years older than me), who coincidentally took her own life last year. Now they are forever linked in my grieving.

It is unbelievable to look at his film and TV roles and how many hours I've spent enjoying his performances. I wish he could have known how universally he was adored, if it somehow would have helped his pain.



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posted by getawaysticks at 9:46 AM on August 12 [2 favorites]


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posted by zscore at 9:47 AM on August 12


Fresh Air today is rerunning an interview with him from 2006. In it, he insistently says that he has never had clinical depression, just that he "gets bummed sometimes."
posted by jbickers at 9:48 AM on August 12 [1 favorite]


And The Fisher King, and The Birdcage... so many films of his I love. Jesus.
posted by goo at 9:48 AM on August 12 [1 favorite]


There's also the terrible lie that depression tells: that you are a burden to your loved ones, and therefore they'd be better off without you -- and so suicide begins to seem like the final loving act you can perform.

There's a scene in What Dreams May Come where his character says to his wife that people don't commit suicide because they're selfish but because they can't forgive themselves. I have always had a hard time understanding why with suicide but I liked that he said that in the movie because when I'm really depressed, it feels like everything I do is wrong.

I don't know that people who are not depressed can understand that but try to imagine thinking to yourself that everything you do is wrong. I should have gotten up earlier. This is a stupid outfit. I should have moved over more on the bus. I should have said hi to my colleagues. I'm not being productive enough at my job. I should have gotten a salad for lunch instead of a sandwich. I can't believe how messy my desk is. Ugh, I missed the bus to get home. I should have run six miles instead of just three. No wonder I'm overweight, eating two bowls of pasta for dinner. Now I'm going to bed late, guess I'll be useless again tomorrow.

When I'm really depressed, I feel bad about myself all the time for not being a better employee, wife, daughter, sister, friend. It's exhausting. I try to distract myself by actually trying to be better but once in a while, depression drags me back from the brink of being a productive, useful person and says that I can't possibly ever compensate for everything I have done wrong to date, even if I somehow manage to do everything right starting today, so what's the point. That's what that line meant to me and it made me feel like maybe I wasn't selfish for thinking of it and if I'm not selfish, at least as it relates to that one thing, maybe I'm not a completely worthless person.
posted by kat518 at 9:49 AM on August 12 [43 favorites]


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I don't know what to say. I've read this entire thread. I've had Aladdin playing for my kids in my van for over a week - every time I turn on the ignition I listen to find what part is playing and I skip to a Genie musical number. I've been listening to his voice all week thinking about how tremendously talented he is and how hard it is to see him smile sometimes because it is so obvious (to some, I guess) how much pain he is in. Was in. I hope he is at peace.
posted by annathea at 9:50 AM on August 12 [2 favorites]


In the mid-80s my ex and I would frequently go to happy hour at a Mexican restaurant near UCLA. One evening, we encountered a quiet, unassuming middle aged guy at the bar who turned out to be Robin Williams.

We spoke to him expressing our fondness for his movies and comedy. Despite his manic public persona, I was surprised to learn he was gentle and unassuming. After that first conversation we saw him several more times, and he would always acknowledge us, and say hello.

He was a genuinely nice person, and I'm glad i had the opportunity to meet him.
posted by lola at 9:50 AM on August 12 [4 favorites]


Someone I know on Tumblr brought this up and I think it's really relevant: This isn't just depression, it's bipolar, and bipolar comes with a higher suicide risk. Yet people tend to be less worried because they see their loved ones having "okay" periods and assume the person who seems more down is more at risk for self-harm. If you have loved ones with bipolar disorder, keep an eye on them, let them know you're there to help them get help if they need it, all that.

Several people have brought up that he had bipolar, not "just" depression, and I just wanted to highlight that again. The two have similar qualities but are not the same. My mother has bipolar and I've come really, really close to losing her several times. I lost my cousin to it (self-inflicted gunshot wound). My grandfather suffers from it. I've somehow escaped the family curse, but I've struggled with other things, including suicidal thoughts.

If you're in the US and your family member suffers from bipolar or other serious mental illness, I cannot recommend NAMI Family-to-Family educational courses strongly enough. They teach you how to support your loved one, as well as how to take care of yourself.
posted by desjardins at 9:53 AM on August 12 [17 favorites]


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posted by St. Peepsburg at 9:55 AM on August 12


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posted by pixelcharmer at 10:02 AM on August 12


There's no reason to be ashamed of loving Popeye. In addition to Williams doing a spot-on impression of the mumbly, Fleischer-era sailor, there's Robert Altman's wonderful ensemble directing, some truly amazing set design, a delightful soundtrack by Harry Nilsson, and Shelly Duvall shining in the role she was born to play.

My pick for one of his lesser known great dramatic performances was in Paul Mazursky's 1984 film Moscow on the Hudson.
posted by Atom Eyes at 10:03 AM on August 12 [15 favorites]


Questlove of the Roots posted a very moving story via Instagram on an elevator encounter with Robin Williams.
posted by larrybob at 10:04 AM on August 12 [22 favorites]


My rider is anxiety. Good ol' non-specific anxiety disorder. I think about the dark places it has sent me, the weeks and months of self-loathing and stress pain, and just feeling like the worst least competent person in the world, and the awful things it brings out of me and on to the people I love...

And today I'm reminded how easy that is compared to being ridden by the real heavies like depression and bipolar. How I can't even begin to conceive how people like Robin and all the other mad geniuses can even put one foot in front of the other, let alone make all that wonderful stuff. God. I need to be kinder, so much kinder.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 10:20 AM on August 12 [7 favorites]


That ?uestlove piece is awesome.
posted by OmieWise at 10:23 AM on August 12 [2 favorites]


Who's up for a Fuck Depression Time Machine Kickstarter?

Frankly, I'd like to see a day of mourning to start a conversation about the risks of depression. The guy was a galactic treasure and depression is treatable.

The thing that gets me, as someone who grew up on Happy Days and Mork & Mindy, who didn't really keep much track of him in the 90s, and who was blown away by his turn in Good Will Hunting (like I was shot with a diamond bullet right through my forehead), is that I loved that his work was changing, and I liked what it was changing into. There is so much appreciation for what I think of as "his early work," and the persona of that, and I get it, that shit is acquired-genetics to me, but man, Birdcage, GWH, One Hour Photo, Insomnia...Garp was the harbinger, of course...those roles became better through his history, that he was playing against type was so much an intesifier, a stereotype being controverted, acquiring depth, being humanized more and more with each role.
posted by rhizome at 10:34 AM on August 12 [3 favorites]




My pick for one of his lesser known great dramatic performances was in Paul Mazursky's 1984 film Moscow on the Hudson.

Aw, I always loved that performance, too. I went out for drinks in Hollywood with fellow Mefite goalyeehah last night to raise a glass to the man, and I ordered us a round of Moscow mules for that very reason. Mr. scody met up with us and told some anecdotes about meeting him a few times in the '80s back when he (Mr. scody) was doing stand-up at the Laugh Factory. He said that as much as other comedians didn't like the fact he was known for stealing jokes, it was always impossible to take it personally, because he was so genuinely sweet and kind. Plus, he said, he figured that if you made the funniest guy on the planet laugh enough that he'd want to swipe your material... well, you must be doing something right.

Before drinks, we tried to drop by his star on the Walk of Fame to place some flowers in remembrance, but that part of the street -- his star is on Hollywood Boulevard, just down from Graumann's -- was blocked off for some big event. Today I found out it was for the world premiere of Expendables 3. So for a time, Robin Williams got upstaged by Sylvester Stallone. I hope he would have found that funny.

It's hitting me more today than it did yesterday that he's gone. My heart just aches for him.
posted by scody at 10:44 AM on August 12 [14 favorites]


I am crushed. Just sad and deflated thinking about him being gone.

"Reality… What a Concept" was one of the first albums I ever bought with my own money and I basically had it memorized in 7th and 8th grade. I passed it down to my eldest son a year or so ago and said, "You will *love* this. You might not get all the references [Three Mile Island, for example], but you'll love it, I know." Of course, he did.

One of my favorite one-liners from that album keeps rolling through my head and please forgive me if I don't quote it perfectly:

"I wonder what chairs think about all day? 'Well, here comes another asshole.'"

RIP, funny man and thanks for the spark.

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posted by zuhl at 10:45 AM on August 12 [2 favorites]


Twitter is slowly filling up with people posting pictures of themselves standing on desks.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:58 AM on August 12 [12 favorites]


Nice commentary from David Edelstein...

the measure of the man was vast. Even when his talent was cruelly constricted, his soul was limitless.

This was terrible news, just terrible.
posted by torticat at 11:09 AM on August 12


Just found out this morning, and it sucks.


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posted by annsunny at 11:20 AM on August 12


Quoting oakroom (above): 'He made me feel like it might be OK to be a little weird, and that meant a lot.'

Absolutely.

Not really believing it yet, to be honest.

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posted by aesop at 11:22 AM on August 12 [6 favorites]


What immense talent, huge personality and huge, generous heart. So sly, smart, self-knowing. Talent like that is rare and magic. I watched him a long time before I realized he was handsome. Good Morning, Vietnam, watch him in that. The Fisher King. The compassion in Good Will Hunting. He's funny, so it's so easy to overlook his talent as an actor. Funny isn't enough of a word to describe his genius. And he's not a mean comic, he just taps into a vein, a river, of hilarity and delight in absurdity and the human condition. I'm so sorry for his pain and addiction, so sorry to not have him in the world.
posted by theora55 at 11:24 AM on August 12 [1 favorite]


Twitter is slowly filling up with people posting pictures of themselves standing on desks.

Well that just did me in.

Just told my boss that I'm leaving a few hour early for mental health reasons because someone who meant something to me died. Thankfully she didn't ask who it was but if she did I would have just told her and that I didn't care if she thought it was some sort of overreaction.

Going to buy some junk food, cuddle up on the couch with my cats and watch some of his movies.
posted by Jalliah at 11:26 AM on August 12 [7 favorites]




I stayed home sick today. I genuinely am, mind you (see previous uh, reference), but it's nice to not have to be putting on a face, if you know what I mean.
posted by jenfullmoon at 11:32 AM on August 12


Twitter is slowly filling up with people posting pictures of themselves standing on desks.

*ugly cry*
posted by entropicamericana at 11:34 AM on August 12 [1 favorite]


Twitter is slowly filling up with people posting pictures of themselves standing on desks.

Holy shit. I wish I could cry. Holy fucking shit.
posted by Sophie1 at 11:38 AM on August 12 [2 favorites]


The news is breaking on my Ipad that he hung himself.

I never understood how he could be such a huge talent, simply a genius with words and comic inspiration. I also felt his warmth and humanity, which came through so often in performances and interviews, were very real. I love the stories posted here.

This is just an overwhelming sadness. He really left too soon, and that he departed in the grip of depression and that overwhelming sense of self-hatred, lack of self-worth, cracks my heart apart.
posted by bearwife at 11:38 AM on August 12 [1 favorite]


Hell, I'm already planning on my own standing-on-desk selfie when I get home from work today.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:40 AM on August 12 [3 favorites]


The news is breaking on my Ipad that he hung himself.

I just heard the press conference from Marin. It hurt my heart even more to hear this (it was a belt wedged in a door, apparently). They also said he had superficial cuts to his wrist. Oh, god. God. When they said yesterday that it was asphyxiation I was begging the universe to make it so that he at least went peacefully with something like this. (Trigger warning: description of euthanasia methods.) I just wanted his last seconds, at least, to be peaceful.
posted by scody at 11:44 AM on August 12


I just saw this tweet referencing NIH guidelines on how to report on suicide. Apparently you're not supposed to report on the method as that sensationalizes the suicide.

That's not something I knew previously, good to keep in mind.
posted by sweetkid at 11:49 AM on August 12 [6 favorites]


Much like the Inside the Actor's Studio interview, that Norm MacDonald story just made me sad. It made me wonder if when he realized that Norm MacDonald was excited to see/meet him, he felt like had to come over and do a bit, like the only way to be liked was to be the on-stage Robin Williams. Did he feel like Norm MacDonald would had not like him or been disappointed if he had just walked over and said hi? Shook his hand? It seems like many of the stories coming out about him are about his doing these bits to entertain one or two people he met. Did he feel like he had to do that? Like he was unlovable if he wasn't in-comedian character?

Of course maybe I'm reading too much into it and maybe I wouldn't have thought so if I'd heard these stories last week, but I can't help but wonder.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 11:50 AM on August 12 [2 favorites]


I'm not one for rewatching movies as a general rule, but Toys is a movie that I can watch again and again. There's probably some movies from when I was a kid that I've watched more times, because that's what you do when you're a kid, but Toys is very high up on the "most watched movies" list for me.

It's been a while, I think I might be overdue to watch it again.
posted by vibratory manner of working at 12:00 PM on August 12 [2 favorites]


Like many I haven't liked everything he has done. When he hit the sweet spot though he was fucking hilarious, when not it was teeth gritting. That Popeye movie was a weird one, in theory I should have loved it. I thought Williams and Duvall where great, I love Nilsson, the stage setting was wonderful, but fundamentally I guess Altman and I just don't mix.
I think Fisher King was one of my favorite's that he has done, in part because it was a Gilliam affair and he manages to wring great performances out of people, even those I may be ambivalent about.

Anyway.

Underneath it all it seemed a lot of his humor, while fantastic at times, was also brittle-bright. The sort of "love me, I'm FUNNY!" that one encounters from time to time. And he was funny, and a lot of people did love him, but it always seemed, in part, a mask.

I won't say I expected this, but I am not surprised by it either.

I can't say rest in peace as I see it as a candle snuffed with no continuation. But I can say, at least the pain is gone, and while that is small consolation, it is a thing.

I hope his family is doing ok.


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posted by edgeways at 12:04 PM on August 12 [4 favorites]


That twitter link to all the photos, just made me out and out bawl at my desk.
posted by arcticseal at 12:08 PM on August 12 [1 favorite]


CDC: Suicide Contagion and the Reporting of Suicide: Recommendations from a National Workshop

See in particular "Aspects of News Coverage that Can Promote Suicide Contagion."
*Presenting simplistic explanations for suicide.
*Engaging in repetitive, ongoing, or excessive reporting of suicide in the news.
*Providing sensational coverage of suicide.
*Reporting "how-to" descriptions of suicide.
*Presenting suicide as a tool for accomplishing certain ends.
*Glorifying suicide or persons who commit suicide.
*Focusing on the suicide completer's positive characteristics.
posted by larrybob at 12:13 PM on August 12


I lost my brother in 2000 to suicide. I'm prone to some pretty dark turns myself. For people who haven't wrestled with depression at it's darkest it can be hard, scary even, to think that you could hurt so much emotionally that death seemed like a good option.

But it can hurt that much. It can hurt you in ways that a medieval torturer could only dream of and you feel like you are to blame for the pain. It hurts and you blame yourself for hurting and you feel the weight of guilt and shame and worthlessness raining down. You feel small. And then that thought creeps in, "I could end this. I could end this now." And somehow that thought, that taking your own life would make the pain stop, feels like power. Like you have some control.

If you're lucky the moment you feel in control is enough to get you over and through the shit you are feeling. But it can be close sometimes. So close. I'm writing this now after more than a couple of passes through this cycle. My wife and kids and life itself have pulled me back. But I know how shiny death looked when I was at the bottom.

Robin, wherever you are I hope that the pain has stopped. You brought so much light into this world.


*


PS - Fuck Depression, Fuck Bipolar.


PPS - Fuck the inevitable judgmental trolls who will be out in force calling him a coward. Fuck them mercilessly.
posted by skepticbill at 12:15 PM on August 12 [22 favorites]


PPS - Fuck the inevitable judgmental trolls who will be out in force calling him a coward. Fuck them mercilessly.

Shepard Smith did so last night on FoxNewschannel. His apology was published by Mediaite this morning.
I spent an entire hour talking about how much this man affected people’s lives and brought greatness to this world. I was just wondering aloud what could have made this man want to end it all. And it reminds us that we all have responsibility as friends and neighbors to help take responsibility to prevent this from happening. There are people who process suicide as a black-and white-issue. I don’t process anything as black-and-white.

I was sorry to read online the people who see the world in a black-and-white way, and to suggest that they might have a definitive analysis of why he did such a thing. What I wanted to do is celebrate his life and find some meaning in our own lives, since we often do know someone who is reaching out, and we have a responsibility to help that person — maybe a phone call or a door knock is in order.

But no matter how you process it: Look at what this family is going through. I would never presume to know anything about his private life. And if any of his family members and friends were to have seen me use the word “coward,” I would be horrified. I would just to apologize to the end of the earth to anyone who might think that I meant to openly call him a coward.

To the core of my being, I regret it. It just came out of my mouth. And I’m so sorry. And to anyone and their families who see that, I am sorry.

posted by zarq at 12:20 PM on August 12 [6 favorites]


PPS - Fuck the inevitable judgmental trolls who will be out in force calling him a coward. Fuck them mercilessly.

Yeah.. fellow from MN (GOP dep chair) (Chris Fields) tried to turn it into a reason to vote for his guy in today's primary.
posted by edgeways at 12:24 PM on August 12


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posted by Mental Wimp at 12:24 PM on August 12




I'd normally ., but he improvised a lot, so I settled on this:

~
posted by inturnaround at 12:29 PM on August 12 [2 favorites]


I never usually do this, but: .

There's definitely a "Robin Williams shaped hole" in our culture now. He was always there, always creating, like a power plant generating laughter, and now that plant's gone and things are just a bit darker than they were before. I don't mourn celebrities for the most part, but he seemed like a friend I hadn't yet met, gentle, childlike and easy to trust. I have never encountered anyone who didn't like something he'd created. His are unfillable shoes.

No love for Batty in Fern Gully? It was a small role for sure, but I adored that movie as a kid, and it definitely had a role in shaping my environmental views growing up. I'm also a big fan of What Dreams May Come and Toys, both of which I'll be watching this evening.
posted by Feyala at 12:31 PM on August 12 [2 favorites]


zarq: "hepard Smith did so last night on FoxNewschannel."

Well, that's a shame. Smith always seemed to be the least assholey person on Fox.
posted by brundlefly at 12:32 PM on August 12 [2 favorites]


He said that as much as other comedians didn't like the fact he was known for stealing jokes, it was always impossible to take it personally, because he was so genuinely sweet and kind. Plus, he said, he figured that if you made the funniest guy on the planet laugh enough that he'd want to swipe your material... well, you must be doing something right.

Thank you for this, scody; I would have said it wasn't possible to raise the issue without marring the thread, but it needed addressing.

I believe Williams was one of these rare, rare individuals (geniuses, really) who have the bandwidth to experience and grasp other human beings at so many levels and so completely that they can become them rather than simply imitating them, but that ability isn't necessarily all that voluntary or even controllable, and in Williams' case, in the heat of performance, I think other comedians who had impressed him came to the surface and dissipated into the audience like the personae of that Terminator who dissolved in the vessel of molten iron.
posted by jamjam at 12:33 PM on August 12 [2 favorites]


I've spent a good chunk of my day on this thread, reading through the comments. I think I'm still in shock, and I am grateful for MetaFilter and this thread to help me process some of what I'm (not) feeling.

RW was one of my favourite comedians, but I appreciated his serious roles too. I still remember the sense of exhilaration I experienced after I came out of the movie theatre showing Good Will Hunting. It's one of my favourite movies. I still can't quite believe RW is gone, and that he was a suicide. He must have been in an extraordinary amount of pain.

.
posted by Quiplash at 12:37 PM on August 12 [1 favorite]


In the April [1995] issue of the gay magazine, OUT, Greg Louganis says on the subject of a possible new mate: "This is extremely quirky, but I think Robin Williams is extremely sexy. He's intelligent. He's got a quick wit. Funny. Hairy chest. I do like that" . . . Louganis, the Olympic diving champ whose new book, "Breaking the Surface," is the No. 1 nonfiction best-seller in the country, was at A Different Light bookstore on Castro Tuesday evening. Some 2,000 people showed up -- including Robin Williams, who ran to the head of the line, hugged the AIDS-diagnosed Louganis and teased, "Here I am, your dream lover!" Then he scampered off without buying a book.
"Hello, Out There", Herb Caen, March 30, 1995
posted by kirkaracha at 12:42 PM on August 12 [36 favorites]


Well, that's a shame. Smith always seemed to be the least assholey person on Fox.

A friend committed suicide a few years ago, leaving behind a grief-stricken, devastated partner. The initial comment made by Smith are similar to things my surviving friend said immediately afterwards. When people commit suicide, they (no doubt, often) leave behind angry loved ones. Those survivors may find the suicide incomprehensible, especially if they don't live with depression themselves.

I have difficulty condemning Shepard Smith for that reason. He sounded angry. What he said was stupid and insensitive. But his apology sounded heartfelt.

Contrast it with Rush Limbaugh's comment this morning, which is a lot nastier and more malicious.
posted by zarq at 12:44 PM on August 12 [8 favorites]


zarq: Contrast it with Rush Limbaugh's comment this morning, which is a lot nastier and more malicious.

No matter what dire circumstances befall me in this life from here on out, no matter how bad it gets, there is not enough money in the world to make me click on that link.
posted by tzikeh at 12:46 PM on August 12 [34 favorites]


My wife has The Birdcage playing in the other room while I sit here at my desk trying to write some code. I don't have to see it, it's burned into my memory like a lot of his work, to where I could probably write down a great deal of the script from memory.

So much of what I understand about comedy and why it's important comes from listening and listening and listening to Reality... and even back when I was probably too young to be listening to it (the record itself is around a year older than me), something about that last track, "Grandpa Funk" struck me and is probably the first example I can remember of how comedy is both bleak and beautiful at the same time. Right there at the end, right at the end of the whole glorious chemically fueled chaos that is the album, Williams slows down and plays himself as an old man in a post nuclear war world, giving advice to some visitors. I listened to it last night for the first time in a while:
So take care of yourself, sneak on out, but from me to you: stay a little full-goose bozo. Keep the spirit of madness in you, just a little touch of it, just enough so you don't become stupid.
Then he ends with a nod and a paraphrase of one of his inspirations, Lord Buckley:
There was an old, crazy dude who used to live a long time ago. His name was Lord Buckley. And he said, a long time ago, he said, "People--they're kinda like flowers, and it's been a privilege walking in your garden." My love goes with you.

.
posted by ndfine at 12:48 PM on August 12 [6 favorites]


Contrast it with Rush Limbaugh's comment this morning, which is a lot nastier and more malicious.

The saving grace, though, is that it's also so completely wrong-minded so as to be nonsensical, so it didn't make me mad, it just made me blink slow and marvel "......wow....." as if I'd just seen some particularly outrageous thing in an Ed Wood movie or something.

It sucks, but it's more of an "huh, I don't need to do anything after all, you're doing a great job fucking your own self up" suck.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:53 PM on August 12 [1 favorite]


Smith always seemed to be the least assholey person on Fox.

Still is. His apology is exemplary.
posted by Mental Wimp at 1:02 PM on August 12 [12 favorites]


And I realized I couldn't be mad at Robin Williams, a guy so full of life he'd rather live and go out in public among the eccentrics in San Francisco than hide away in Hollywood and so hairy he had to wear a bodysuit just to go biking.

I thought this was neat -- a FB photo album, "Robin Williams Cycling Fanatic" -- including his favorite route in Marin, the Paradise Loop.

I think one of the most surprising things about his death is finding out how many people have seen What Dreams May Come.

OK, 40th highest box office of 1998 isn't exactly in the all-time list, but it's pretty respectable and it eventually earned $55M domestic (the budget was $85M, though). More important is to consider that it outperformed quite a few movies that remain well-known including Ronin, Pleasantville, Primary Colors, Out of Sight, The Thin Red Line, and others you probably did expect to have done poorly.
posted by dhartung at 1:12 PM on August 12 [1 favorite]




.
posted by hooha at 1:26 PM on August 12


Maron has reposted his WTF interview that several people have already mentioned, with a new introduction/remembrance that's very much worth listening to.
posted by scody at 1:32 PM on August 12 [7 favorites]




Hook is on right now, and while I'm feeling rather maudlin watching it, there's a scene where the bumbling adult Peter is shirtless and OMG the famously furry Robin Williams is twink smooth. And I'm giggling a bit imagining him riffing non-stop as he went through the fur removal process.
posted by romakimmy at 1:44 PM on August 12 [3 favorites]


David Wong has written a kind of 'explainer' "Robin Williams and Why Funny People Kill Themselves" that hit me right in the 'I can relate to this' (and seriously raised my opinion of the usually-rightfully-derided cracked.com)
In your formative years, you wind up creating a second, false you -- a clown that can go out and represent you, outside the barrier. The clown is always joking, always "on," always drawing all of the attention in order to prevent anyone from poking away at the barrier and finding the real person behind it. The clown is the life of the party, the classroom joker, the guy up on stage -- as different from the "real" you as possible. Again, the goal is to create distance.

You do it because if people hate the clown, who cares? That's not the real you. So you're protected.

But the side effect is that if people love the clown ... well, you know the truth. You know how different it'd be if they met the real you.
And that was how "wendell" came to be...
posted by oneswellfoop at 1:44 PM on August 12 [24 favorites]


He was interviewed by Playboy in 1992.
PLAYBOY: What’s more important to you: your life or your work?

WILLIAMS: A balance of the two. Time is really this delicate thing. Working your tits off during the week, then find time to come home at night and not be so self-involved. “So, enough about me. Now, what do you think about me?”

PLAYBOY: Any fears of your losing that balance?

WILLIAMS: Recently, Jerzy Kosinski killed himself; supposedly, the reason was that he just didn’t want to become a vegetable, he didn’t want to lose his sharpness. There’s that fear-if I felt like I was becoming not just dull but a rock, that I still couldn’t spark, still fire off or talk about things, if I’d start to worry or got too afraid to say something. As long as you still keep taking the chances and you’re not afraid to play Peter Pan…. What if it fails? “I don’t care, I’m having a great fucking time.” If I stop trying, I’d get afraid.

posted by zarq at 1:56 PM on August 12 [7 favorites]


I thought this was neat -- a FB photo album, "Robin Williams Cycling Fanatic" -- including his favorite route in Marin, the Paradise Loop.

omg that is amazing
posted by psoas at 2:07 PM on August 12


David Simon's memories of Williams' guest role on Homicide.
posted by octothorpe at 2:26 PM on August 12 [12 favorites]


the reason was that he just didn’t want to become a vegetable, he didn’t want to lose his sharpness.

I must admit that Robin Williams was either too schmaltzy or too over-the-top for my admittedly narrow-minded tastes, so I hadn't followed him in years.

For whatever reason I looked up some of his stuff online over the past few months, and while I wasn't exactly shocked, I was somewhat disappointed in how dull he had become at the relatively young age of 62 or 63.

The beard was more off-kilter than hip, and his appearances on Letterman and so on were dull. His eyes had lost their shine.

Inevitable that we all get old, or so I thought. So that was very depressing to me. But maybe it was depressing to me for very personal and selfish reasons.
posted by Nevin at 2:28 PM on August 12 [3 favorites]


I just saw a headline about how a woman has won the Fields Medal for the first time. To be honest, all my brain could really process was:

Fields Medal -> Good Will Hunting -> Robin Williams -> *sob*
posted by litera scripta manet at 2:33 PM on August 12 [1 favorite]




I stopped by the sudden Robin Williams memorial at the Boston Public Garden today. I was too self-conscious to carry flowers across town, but I wish that I had. It is covered with gifts and chalkings, most of which will be washed away in the rain we expect tomorrow.

His stand-up specials meant so much to me when I was a kid.

.
posted by Countess Elena at 3:20 PM on August 12 [1 favorite]


I've been kind of choking up on and off all day. I just can't believe it. I hope he found some peace.

*
posted by Bacon Bit at 3:30 PM on August 12 [1 favorite]


Ugh. OK, setting up an appointment with my therapist. I am acting like a monster to myself today and upon reflection its because I'm projecting what I imagine his end was like on to myself and its messing with me. Holy cats depression sucks.
posted by Joey Michaels at 3:35 PM on August 12 [12 favorites]


The CBC just aired an interview with Ivan Reitman commenting on his friend's Robin's death. The CBC also called him when his friend Harold Ramis died.

Ivan Reitman needs to stop doing these kinds of interviews. There's too many good people on Ivan's friends list still.
posted by Capt. Renault at 3:55 PM on August 12 [6 favorites]


.
posted by dlugoczaj at 4:10 PM on August 12


And the clown story now has an image macro.
posted by jeffburdges at 4:32 PM on August 12 [1 favorite]


Richard Clarke on Facebook about appearing on Bill Maher's show with Robin Williams:
Robin Williams and I were on the panel together for Bill Maher's REAL TIME show in 2006. He was incredible. Before, during, and after the show, he never stopped. His mind moved faster than any I had ever witnessed. Almost anything was a trigger for his humor. There were so many people inside him. It was exhausting being with him. Bill Maher could barely get a word in on his own show. Finally, he asked "What the hell were you like before rehab?" At the After Party, Robin asked me to join him painting the town. I declined. It was so unsettling being with someone so intense. I shall always regret that decision. He was one of a kind, brilliant, tormented, open, and kind. So many people like Robin can find no escape from what goes on in their own mind, except death. Even for them, sometimes, its so tiring, so unstoppable, only death can turn it off. I hope someday soon we can find a way to help such brilliant, such tragic people.
posted by maggieb at 4:33 PM on August 12 [4 favorites]


I don't suffer from depression nor do I understand it. I'm blessed enough to be a happy dumbass Mr. Bean-ing my way through a more or less pleasant existence on this mortal coil for as long as I don't get eaten by bears.
However, I know enough about what I don't understand about depression to know that you can't just Rich or Famous your way out of it.
Every time one of these tragedies happens, there's always a 20% response rate of "all that fame and money and he still couldn't get it together". That's right. And that should tell us something about what a motherfucker Depression is. Whatever it is.
(Skips off into horizon eating skittles and loudly singing "Threes Company" theme)
posted by Senor Cardgage at 4:38 PM on August 12 [4 favorites]


Cycling world saddened by Williams' death.

Heh. Williams called himself a "bikesexual".
posted by Invisible Green Time-Lapse Peloton at 4:41 PM on August 12 [2 favorites]


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posted by tuesdayschild at 4:42 PM on August 12


Billy Crystal tweeted something today that broke my heart - all it said was "No words."

He didn't need to say what he was talking about. You know.

And then I had to go watch the clip of Robin Williams winning the Oscar, and seeing Billy come out from backstage to clap and be there to hug him and congratulate him as he walked off the stage.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:46 PM on August 12 [3 favorites]


.
posted by brennen at 4:46 PM on August 12


The Pagliacci joke- the internet seems to be under the impression that Alan Moore wrote it but it actually dates to the 1820's, Grimaldi being maybe the archetypal incredibly-successful and perpetually unhappy clown. Anyway, I think it works better with the last bits left in. Although maybe they just make it worse.

Walter Kovacs/Rorschach: I heard joke once:

Man goes to doctor. Says he's depressed, life is harsh and cruel. Says he feels all alone in threatening world.

Doctor says, "Treatment is simple. The great clown Pagliacci is in town. Go see him. That should pick you up."

Man bursts into tears. "But doctor," he says, "I am Pagliacci."

Good joke.

Everybody laugh.

Roll on snare drum.

Curtains.
posted by hap_hazard at 4:55 PM on August 12 [7 favorites]


Twitter is slowly filling up with people posting pictures of themselves standing on desks.

Thanks for the idea.

That movie had such an effect on me as well. I was in high school when it came out, and I still remember my friends and I all went to see it. We were in a sold out theater, and when that last scene started, tears were streaming down my face and I was gripping the armrests - because I wanted to stand up. Right there in the theater. I really almost did. And sometimes I wonder what would've happened if I had. (I like to think everyone else in the audience who was equally moved would've joined me. But mostly I figure there would've been a lot of "sit down, asshole.")

And, oh, those wild crazy manic stand-up shows on HBO... I think I'm gonna go watch one tonight.

.
posted by dnash at 4:58 PM on August 12 [4 favorites]


When I was a little kid, I used to sit in my parents' egg chair, throw a blanket over the front, and pretend I was Mork from Ork in his egg.

RIP Robin Williams. Such an amazing talent.
posted by SisterHavana at 4:58 PM on August 12 [6 favorites]


In seeing all of the memorials pop up in Robin Williams affiliated places, I discovered the Popeye Village! and now I'm adding it to my travel list.
posted by sweetmarie at 5:46 PM on August 12 [6 favorites]


I discovered the Popeye Village!
I am dumbfounded... That easily is the oddest thing I've seen this week... Like a prequel to a George Saunders story
posted by edgeways at 5:54 PM on August 12


I had just listened to that WTF podcast a few weeks ago and it was poignant to hear Williams talking so openly about the struggles he'd had and was clearly somewhat still having. My uncle was friends with him and wrote something brief and poignant about him on facebook today. I missed my uncle's 70th (was at some work thing) and my sister and mother were there. Robin was there both just sort of showing the flag but also got on the mic and did some hilarious stuff, just out of left field. My sister, who is much more socially ept than I am, introduced herself to him and then did a huge family mitzvah and introduced one of my shy-er cousins to him later in the evening and Robin was just the sweet wonderful guy you'd always think he would be. So gracious. So kind. So different from the amped up persona I'd first gotten to know on Mork & Mindy and Mrs. Doubtfire, the persona that always made me a little nervous because it always seemed to have an edge to it. Gosh this is awful. luckynerd: I am so sorry.
posted by jessamyn at 5:57 PM on August 12 [28 favorites]


jessamyn, your link, it fails.

This content is currently unavailable
The page you requested cannot be displayed right now. It may be temporarily unavailable, the link you clicked on may have expired, or you may not have permission to view this page.
Return home

posted by Buttons Bellbottom at 6:02 PM on August 12


Holy hell, even Koko the gorilla is sad about this.

(If you've never heard Robin's account of getting hit on by Koko in 2001, it's here.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:08 PM on August 12 [11 favorites]


Mr Williams has played some very good dramatic roles, but some of the stories posted here about his humanity are truly amazing. Planet Earth is better off for having had him aboard as long as it did.

.
posted by Loudmax at 6:16 PM on August 12 [3 favorites]


I don't listen to a lot of Maron, but I listened to his Robin Williams segment. This isn't a criticism, but it feels like Williams was hiding so much. Like he was talking about other comics and depression in generalities and doing impressions of himself as a struggling comedian.

But I also heard him say, "It's a gift. Don't be afraid of it." I think he was talking about working on a movie, but it sounded like he was talking about life. Oof.
posted by phaedon at 6:20 PM on August 12 [1 favorite]


jessamyn, your link, it fails.

Sorry. Changed it to public.

posted by jessamyn at 6:41 PM on August 12


Fresh Air reran an old interview today and I was thinking about what an incredibly distinctive voice the man had. I don't think I'd ever heard him without seeing him before.
posted by Mr. Yuck at 6:45 PM on August 12 [2 favorites]


I own Hook in four formats. I always thought I was going to be a comedian when I realized that my brain made those same lightning strike connections as the genie in Aladdin.

This destroyed me just like MCA.
It's pieces of my youth falling apart around me and I'm left in tears.

I'll never forget you, and in my estimation, you'll live forever.

<3
posted by schyler523 at 7:53 PM on August 12 [2 favorites]


I was on the road and offline for three days, and was gobsmacked by this.

. you brilliant bastard.
posted by wallabear at 7:56 PM on August 12


Just got back from a walk in the Boston Public Gardens. The sidewalks going 20-40 feet out from the Good Will Hunting bench is chalked with a few good-bye messages and movie line after movie line after movie line, from "Nanu Nanu" to "Oh Captain My Captain". It's pretty cool. Wish he could see it.
posted by benito.strauss at 8:09 PM on August 12 [5 favorites]


My uncle was friends with him and wrote something brief and poignant about him on facebook today.

That was beautiful and very touching.
posted by SpacemanStix at 8:40 PM on August 12


“Robin Williams Will Be Memorialized in ‘World of Warcraft,’ A Game He Loved,” Cricket Lee, Geek Nation, 12 August 2014
Within 24 hours, the petition amassed nearly eleven thousand signatures and when the petition was brought to WoW’s technical game designer Chadd Nervig’s (aka “Celestalon”) attention last night, he responded with news fans should be happy to hear:
@Dakirokos @mumper @CM_Lore @DaveKosak @davhave Yes. We're taking care of it. — Celestalon (@Celestalon) August 12, 2014
posted by ob1quixote at 9:12 PM on August 12 [2 favorites]


.
posted by bananafish at 9:33 PM on August 12


“Robin Williams Will Be Memorialized in ‘World of Warcraft,’ A Game He Loved,”

Folks in EVE have been lighting cynos for him. For those that don't know, a cyno is how capital ships, including those Titans everyone is fond of assigning a dollar value to, jump across systems in the EVE universe. It's a beacon of safety, a lamp of hope, and a kind tradition among folks in EVE when they lose someone they value and cherish...

I dunno, I wasn't expecting that community in particular* to be making their own little tribute to Robin Williams, but when I saw that, I logged in and lit a cyno for him. 'Third star on the right, straight on til morning' and all that.

* I was impressed, some EVE players/groups obviously 'get' depression and suicide as this image tells. Speak up, folks (like MsEld who has dedicated her life to studying treatments that do as much as possible to combat these diseases), please.
posted by RolandOfEld at 10:07 PM on August 12 [3 favorites]


From what I can gather from his interviews and reports from people that knew him, is that he was never clinically depressed, bipolar, or had any kind of mental illness, he just fell into a recent depression about his career (e.g. taking roles he hated just to make alimony payments), which led to a drinking relapse (which according to the Maron interview had induced suicidal thoughts on at least one other occasion).

If I were famous, I would be content to just settle down with the wealth and fame I already had, but of course that same unambitious attitude is why I will never be famous. On the other hand to someone like Williams, who obviously Wanted Your Attention, it must be very stressful to not be able to keep winning love with the same ultra-spazz routine you developed in your 20s when you're an old man with a heart condition. It's basically the comedic equivalent of The Wrestler.
posted by dgaicun at 10:11 PM on August 12 [2 favorites]


Other highly kinesthetic comics like Belushi, Farley, and Winters (and Arbuckle for that matter) had unpleasant life arcs too. I wonder what Jim Carrey's trajectory will look like?
posted by dgaicun at 10:17 PM on August 12 [2 favorites]


I wonder what Jim Carrey's trajectory will look like?

Friends worry about Jim Carrey
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 10:19 PM on August 12 [1 favorite]


It irritated me that people got all bored and jaded of "Robin Williams schtick." How many people can do what he did, that fast and that good and that varied? Oh, wait, that would be NO ONE. And now we've lost it.
posted by jenfullmoon at 10:54 PM on August 12 [4 favorites]


The most upsetting part of this for me is that I remember listening to the Maron interview a couple months ago and thinking, "Oh good, sounds like Robin Williams has got his shit together. He's obviously had a hard go of it, but he seems to be doing really well. There's one person I don't have to worry about."

Shit.

Now I'm just wondering who the next one will be. If it's Stephen Fry, that's it, I quit.
posted by hoist with his own pet aardvark at 11:41 PM on August 12 [7 favorites]


"It irritated me that people got all bored and jaded of "Robin Williams schtick." How many people can do what he did, that fast and that good and that varied? Oh, wait, that would be NO ONE. And now we've lost it."

To be fair, for the last decade or so at least that "no one" has included Robin Williams.
posted by klangklangston at 12:38 AM on August 13


.
posted by Sing Fool Sing at 3:20 AM on August 13


This might be the first celebrity who I grew up admiring who has died. I can't actually process that this is real. I don't have a dot powerful enough to express my sadness.

(George Carlin doesn't count because I didn't really discover him until high school)
posted by Twain Device at 4:22 AM on August 13 [3 favorites]


.
posted by kozad at 6:56 AM on August 13


this is why I love the hamburger bunnies stupid bean plating hive mind.

tragedy forces us to talk about the tragedy.

I know more than a few of the denizens who've commented, either in actual-life, or in close discussions over the years. others of you, I have quietly respected, or earnestly debated. but to see stories from so many others whose writing I've enjoyed, but never knew about their pain...

an event like this, that brings so much poison to the surface - no, I don't mean that in any pejorative sense, I mean it in terms of healing...

thank you all for trying. please keep trying. dysthymia is not great, but it doesn't necessarily mean ideation. a distinction I can mostly make quite well every day.
posted by dorian at 7:05 AM on August 13 [2 favorites]




.
posted by ZeusHumms at 7:24 AM on August 13


UK suicide prevention organization Samaritans statement on media coverage of Robin Williams.
posted by larrybob at 7:27 AM on August 13


Zara, I just saw that elsewhere. I don't know why people would be so mean to someone who's mourning the loss of her father.
posted by SillyShepherd at 7:33 AM on August 13


Some say that his present wife was so aloof during that day (and perhaps before) that it sure didn't help his decision. If this is true regarding his present wife, it's probably because she was tired of it and anything she tried wasn't helping. Unless you too suffer from severe depression, you can't understand why every treatment you try isn't working.

I have severe depression. Prozac so far is the only thing that helped. I had to get off of it for 2 months to try to find something else (had a weird and first time reaction). I tried Lithium. Lamictal, Abilify and one more that I can't think of. The rock bottom depression I felt (which I haven't felt in 5 years) was so debilitating that the only thing in life that was keeping me alive---the thought of our 5 year old son--was fading fast too. I was suicidal and rationalizing how a suicide might not affect him too much. I went back on the Prozac and adding Lamictal. So far so good. The comments on Facebook that say "he was a coward" upset and anger me so much. None of the people who say that can ever know the utter pain of depression and how fucking hard it is to stay alive every single day. Even with loved ones trying to understand, they just don't and it gets tiresome.

My husband has stuck by me but it's even frustrating for me during those moments that no one can help me. And that's where suicide comes into play. You feel it's better to end your pain than to risk one more moment depressed and the pain and frustration you're causing your loved ones.

So I get that she was being guessed as a shithead and perhaps she was. But I also get why she was being a distant shithead and I also understand why Robin killed himself. I'm so deeply sad and angry that he did but I'm angrier that the fucking depression killed him.

And to add, I'm so devestated that perhaps the thought of staying around for his kids didn't work anymore. I'm so sorry they have to go through pain that even they weren't the final thread for him to hang on to. I wish he was here so I could sit down and share depression experiences with him to tell him, "look--me and you---we get it and honestly, it sucks but it's ok. Come on and stay with me on this journey." and then try to say something so immature and funny that he would break a smile and agree "yea, I'll stay".
posted by stormpooper at 7:39 AM on August 13 [11 favorites]


I have a feeling it must be a strange atmosphere for a comedian going onstage with the specter of Robin Williams hanging there, in particular now in the midst of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. The Guardian got some quotes from comedians at the festival, including Phill Jupitus, Brian Cox, Pamela Stephens Connolly, Will Franken, Eddie Pepitone, and some younger comedians.
posted by larrybob at 7:46 AM on August 13 [2 favorites]


"Today I want to talk to you about an old board game called Jumanji. It’s long out of print, and quite difficult to find these days, but it’s a game that delivers a unique experience. The game fell out of favour in some quarters because of its supernatural qualities, but I’ve never let the destruction of a family home get in the way of a good board game experience."
posted by Iridic at 8:05 AM on August 13 [1 favorite]




"Reporting Robin Williams’ suicide: how not to kill your readers: Mentally ill people are told to seek help when in reality that help is often unavailable. What we get are front pages that make our illnesses worse"
"Fundamentally, the media doesn’t care about the guidelines. It doesn’t care about the people they are meant to protect. Mentally ill people who die come in two types: the talented and brilliant, for whom death is an inevitable part of their brilliance, and the poor and underprivileged, whose deaths are irrelevant except where they interact with an existing story. The media doesn’t care about our deaths, unless we’re famous, and then it will pore over every gruesome detail regardless of how that might affect those of us still living, still struggling, still reading the news and still fighting for hope every day. What does it matter, after all, if a few more people succeed in killing themselves in the next few weeks? They were depressed. There was nothing anyone could have done."

posted by zarq at 8:12 AM on August 13 [3 favorites]




"I used to think the worst thing in life was to end up all alone. It's not. The worst thing in life is to end up with people who make you feel all alone." - Robin Williams

.

I read this thread, and feel for all who wonder how, if Robin Williams couldn't make it, they even stand a chance. So many of us have fought the same nebulous fears and anxieties Williams did, felt the black dog picking us up and shaking us in his jaws....even when he spits you out, you still feel all chewed up. Exhausted, jagged around the edges, fragile and wounded. I know. I've been there myself, more than once. It's hell, climbing back up out of that hole.

But for me, this thread in itself is comforting. Because, look, there are so many of us! We all escaped the grip of the black dog's jaws. We climbed back out of that hole. And some day, we will put that black dog down for good. But until we do, we have each other.

If Robin Williams's death tells us anything, it is that even when we feel our most unlovable, we are beloved. We are not alone.
posted by misha at 8:37 AM on August 13 [13 favorites]


.
posted by rahnefan at 10:10 AM on August 13




I found this a few weeks ago, and as silly as it sounds, it's given me a new perspective on seeking out help with depression: Boggle the Owl on Fighting With Sticks

Really. It's worth the read.
posted by aclevername at 10:55 AM on August 13 [3 favorites]


New York Daily News memo: "Thanks for keeping our Robin Williams stories SEO strong"

At a time like this, you can't forget your true priorities.
posted by oneswellfoop at 11:02 AM on August 13 [1 favorite]


I've been sick for a couple of days and missed out on a good chunk of conversation here. It's unimportant at this point, but I still want to say it, "for the record." I have dreams of becoming a filmmaker when I grow up (I'm 35). For years now, I've dreamt about making a post-9/11 sequel to Moscow On The Hudson. I remember seeing some of that movie on HBO as a kid. And then I watched it again later in life and was really struck by it. I know it's not the greatest film, but it hit me, you know? The sequel I had envisioned in my head revolved around a Muslim coming to America, again, post-9/11 and trying to make it in NYC. Whoever this mysterious character was, would have befriended Robin Williams' "Vladimir Ivanoff" who would have helped him make his way through this modern world. And talk about just how happy he was to be here. And he'd give his history of his time through the end of the Red Scare that finally died in the 80s.

The dream of becoming a filmmaker is not lost, but of course, this idea is. I suppose it could be worked differently. But no matter. Tis but a dream at this point.

I am deeply saddened by Robin's passing. But I am somewhat heartened by just exactly how much outpouring of love there has been! It's astonishing! I kind of got the impression, perhaps from reading too many jaded comedy blogs, that people were sick of him. I have always, always enjoyed him! And to see my Facebook feed just PACKED FULL of wishes of RIP, and stories, and videos... I mean, I've never seen my Facebook feed so full of any one subject ever! I'm serious! It's amazing and makes me smile from ear to ear! Just like Robin Williams made so many of us do!

Anyway, that's all. Thanks for reading.

RIP Robin Williams.
posted by mrzer0 at 11:03 AM on August 13 [8 favorites]


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posted by Minus215Cee at 11:21 AM on August 13


I need to go back and apologize to David Foster Wallace for all the things I said when he stole himself from me. Because I can't bring myself to say them to Robin Williams too.

.
posted by kostia at 1:40 PM on August 13 [2 favorites]


From talking to a friend, I just remembered that I had my first kiss during a Williams movie (Aladdin), which is a little odd to think about now.
posted by klangklangston at 2:05 PM on August 13 [2 favorites]


This remembrance/memoir piece ("I Want to Live") by cartoonist Erika Moen is particularly resonant with me right now.
posted by ocherdraco at 2:12 PM on August 13 [9 favorites]




.

The world is a little darker without him.
posted by chaosys at 2:57 PM on August 13


My dad died by suicide around the same age as Robin. This news has made me cry a lot but I don't think it's so much that I'm reminded of my father, but rather I'm sad that such a decent-seeming person as Robin was suffering so badly that this transpired. I really hope that this is shocking enough to nudge more people out of their out-dated and non-empathetic views on mental illness.
posted by oceanview at 2:57 PM on August 13 [9 favorites]


I spent a little time hiding under my desk at work and pretending it was a fort today, so I feel a little better. I'm worried if I stand on it to say "Oh captain my captain," the desk will collapse under my weight. Under will have to do.
posted by Joey Michaels at 4:07 PM on August 13


I am so sorry you hurt so much, Robin. I understand how it feels. I'm sad you're gone, but I know why you had to escape. May you find peace.

I grew up with Mork and his standup and all the movie roles that followed, and it's just too much trying to watch or listen to Robin Williams' work right now.

But I can't just sit and cry anymore. So I just downloaded some episodes of Todd Glass' podcast, who is the only comedian I know of (besides the late Jonathan Winters, of course) who comes remotely close to the kind of frenetic improv Williams did, and with a similar empathy and warmth. Maybe in a week or two I'll listen to his first album, Reality... It's too close to the surface right now. But laughter is what some of us need to escape the darkness, if only for a while, because it's freedom.
posted by krinklyfig at 4:25 PM on August 13 [1 favorite]


King of the Moon: No, let me go! I've got tides to regulate! Comets to direct! I don't have time for flatulence and orgasms!

I had a "NaNu NaNu" T-shirt when I was a kid, from one of those iron on places at the Mall. My third grade photo features it (plus uncombed hair, to my mother's horror) because we forgot it was picture day that day.

I watched GWH again just recently, had only seen it when it came out, and was utterly gobsmacked by his performance. The superlatives are justified. We have lost a unique talent.

Peace to you, Mr. Williams.
posted by hearthpig at 5:36 PM on August 13 [2 favorites]


Zelda's, beautiful and moving statement about the death of her father.
posted by nickyskye at 6:24 PM on August 13 [4 favorites]


Good Will Hunting, weirdly I hadn't seen it, so I watched it last night. Good movie, despite that young-Ben-Affleck looks like a slightly stunned greyhound for most of his screen-time, but Williams is definitely the soul of it. Those eyes- their depths- he really could act when he was asked to.

I also just watched something else I'd never seen - the 1996 adaptation of Conrad's The Secret Agent- I'm not sure why I've never heard of it. The cast is ridiculous- Bob Hoskins, Patricia Arquette, Christian Bale, Gerard Depardieu, Eddie Izzard, and Williams, as a mad anarchist bomb-maker. Not a happy tale, and maybe not the most appropriate thing to watch if you're very upset now, for reasons I don't want to go into, but really, really worth it.
posted by hap_hazard at 6:37 PM on August 13


So Alladin is on Broadway now, and the guy playing the Genie won the Tony.

Last night, after the show, they asked the audience to stay after for a special tribute to Robin Williams - which consisted of the Genie, James Monroe Inglehart, leading the whole audience in a singalong of Never Had A Friend Like Me.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:44 PM on August 13 [12 favorites]


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posted by flippant at 6:53 PM on August 13


He was one on the good ones.

.
posted by asok at 3:05 AM on August 14


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posted by superna at 6:21 AM on August 14


I didn't realize just how much he meant to me until I heard the news. I've never cried over a celebrity death before. But Robin Williams was pretty much a part of my family. My mom and I would speak Orkan to each other. When I went to the beach, I would watch out for the undertoad. "Reality, What A Concept" got weekly play in the house. In school, my frequent imitation of him earned me constant discipline. He was the devil on my left shoulder. He was also the devil on my right.

What Dreams May Come, Bicentennial Man and World's Greatest Dad all left a huge mark on me. My mom took me to see La Cage aux Folles several times as a kid, so seeing Robin in the Birdcage was almost a dream come true. In the early 90's, I worked at a toy store where Aladdin was played on a loop from open til close. I knew every one of Genie's lines.

I went through a period where his manic acting and interviews kind of got on my nerves. But it was in an affectionate "there goes Uncle Robin again" kind of thing.

It may be presumptuous of me, but I always felt that I understood him. His pain was so clearly reflected in his comedy. I'm also bipolar and have, in the past, had brushes with suicidal thoughts and actions. I know it. I get it. And when you're there, you don't know you need help and you're lucky if you can break out of it on your own. Keep an eye on the ones you love. They might need your help without them knowing it.

I'm just rambling now. I'm so broken up about his death.

.
posted by Cat Pie Hurts at 6:53 AM on August 14 [9 favorites]




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posted by jth at 11:07 AM on August 14




So now my Ipad is telling me that per Williams' widow, he was in the early stages of Parkinson's.

Depression is such a personal disease/mental health issue, but this helps a bit to explain why he may have been in such a severe stage of his. It does not help me to understand the way he suicided, which I find very upsetting because it seems so painful and slow. I just wish he could have gone with less suffering. He seems to have been a very humane, loving man and he brought a huge amount of joy to all of us.
posted by bearwife at 11:36 AM on August 14




The full statement from Susan Schneider is... heartbreaking, I guess? I don't know... after this week, between this and the shitstorm in Ferguson, I can't tell if my heart can break any further.
posted by palomar at 11:49 AM on August 14 [8 favorites]


I don't know... after this week, between this and the shitstorm in Ferguson, I can't tell if my heart can break any further.

Oh god, I know. I've had to pull over in the car twice so far this week just to keep from sobbing while barreling down the Hollywood Freeway. There's no music that I can even listen to at this point that doesn't make me cry. I started weeping last night while listening to the Beastie Boys, for god's sake.

posted by scody at 12:15 PM on August 14 [7 favorites]


[[[[hugs]]]]
I think everyone could use a double dose of hugs this week.
[[[[hugs]]]]
posted by schyler523 at 12:20 PM on August 14 [7 favorites]


BBC news is reporting he was in the early stages of Parkinson's. Christ.

Expect 10,000 cameras to now swing toward Michael J. Fox for "reaction."
posted by ricochet biscuit at 12:26 PM on August 14


I second the hugs. I hope he had a sense of what he meant to us.

And, for me personally, he has given me a renewed focus on finding the beauty and laughter in the world and to share it. What a gift.
posted by double bubble at 12:30 PM on August 14 [1 favorite]


Have spent the last three days trying to make an in-depth Mork & Mindy post and it's just not happening. Gonna drop the links here in case someone might enjoy them. If anyone would like to put a post together, please feel free. If no one does so, maybe I'll attempt it next week.

Mork & Mindy
Season One: Pilot and a Playlist for the rest of the season.
Season Two
Season Three
Season Four

Behind the Camera: The Unauthorized Story of Mork & Mindy "Starring Chris Diamantopoulos (as Robin Williams) and Erinn Hayes (as Pam Dawber.) This 2005 TV movie is set against the backdrop of the sitcom "Mork & Mindy". This is a story about a show's rise to number one, its struggles during production and the rising star of Robin Williams - who, as a young comic, was suddenly handed everything he ever wanted very quickly, which affected his personal life as well as those in it."
posted by zarq at 12:47 PM on August 14 [12 favorites]


Oh hell, Parkinson's? I shudder to think. (Been there, done that with my relatives.) That poor guy. If that was the trigger...well....
posted by jenfullmoon at 1:43 PM on August 14


Days later, it seems pointless to add my moment of silence, but I've only now been able to get through reading this whole thread, opening up the links for some beautiful heartache and poignant laughs.

I was surprised it took so long for someone to mention David Foster Wallace. Robin's suicide made me realize how similar the two of them were; embracing with encyclopedic scope the human condition, brilliantly translating and interpreting that for the rest of us and being haunted the whole while by that deadly black dog.

Let me join the rest of you in saying fuck depression. My heart goes out to all of you who have had personal losses. This one feels all too personal to me, and I never met the guy.


.
posted by HE Amb. T. S. L. DuVal at 1:46 PM on August 14 [4 favorites]


Still not over this. Never affected by celebrity deaths until now. Maybe I should finally admit the depression never left, I just got used to it to a degree. So tired of meds and bullshit talk. I jokingly tell myself "Oh well, it will all feel better when I kill myself" almost daily. I don't really mean it, but that thought has always made me feel that some day there will be a sweet and complete relief. Bipolar, 20 years off scripts, but definitely self-medicated. A balancing act every day. I'm the happy-go-lucky, empathetic, self-deprecating joker on the outside in my group and no one except my ex and my kids (and the occassional forum troll) have any idea how dark I get.

I needed to think Robin Williams was beating his demons. Now I know beyond doubt that he didn't.
posted by HyperBlue at 1:49 PM on August 14 [1 favorite]


I think the announcement that he had been diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease is significant. Although it in no way justifies his suicide, it is an incredible stressor and even more so for someone whose public persona depends so much on facial expression and movement (I am very impressed by how well Michael J Fox has done). It just so happens I stayed up late to watch Awakenings last night and have to wonder if whatever neurological knowledge he picked up for that role made him worry even more about that diagnosis.
posted by TedW at 2:10 PM on August 14 [5 favorites]


Although it in no way justifies his suicide

I am really uncomfortable with this phrasing. Really uncomfortable. I understand things are complicated by mental illness but I think the only person who should get to decide whether they are "justified" in taking their own life is the person living it.

Would he have been justified if it were Huntington's instead of Parkinson's? Rapidly progressing ALS? Untreatable pancreatic cancer? Why does he have to justify it to you in the first place?
posted by Justinian at 2:41 PM on August 14 [20 favorites]


That's an unkind reading, Justinian. I believe TedW posted that comment in good faith.

To Williams, it seemed like the best option. To the rest of us, it's impossible to completely understand why he did it, even if we have grappled with depression ourselves. Even if (like me) we are facing a lifetime of illness to boot.
posted by mochapickle at 3:10 PM on August 14 [2 favorites]


I don't think he posted it in bad faith! I just think we should be very careful about judging from the outside whether someone was "justified" in taking their own life.
posted by Justinian at 3:26 PM on August 14 [5 favorites]


Oh, yeah... I see. Thanks, Justinian.

In the original comment I'd interpreted "justifies" as "helps me understand his mindset." Which we're all trying to do and realizing it's simply impossible.
posted by mochapickle at 3:33 PM on August 14 [1 favorite]


I wouldn't phrase it as justified, but I think TedW referring to that getting an illness (any kind along those lines) would at best prevent him from working, and apparently he wasn't in good financial straits as is. I suspect that could have been the last straw, as it were.
posted by jenfullmoon at 4:48 PM on August 14


Sorry if my comment upset anyone. Yesterday I heard a mental health worker on NPR saying that all of the internet comments that Mr. Williams "is in a better place now" or "finally at peace" could be taken as encouragement to commit suicide by some depressed people. While I feel his diagnosis makes his actions more understandable I didn't want to paint them in a positive light. Apparently I still didn't get the tone I was trying for.
posted by TedW at 5:03 PM on August 14 [1 favorite]


I'd interpreted "justifies" as "helps me understand his mindset."

That's how I intended it
posted by TedW at 5:06 PM on August 14 [2 favorites]




That's ok, TedW. I wasn't really mad or anything. I think we mostly agree and the wording just tripped me up. Suicide really is tough to strike the right balance in tone when discussing because there is so much tied up in to from mental health to end-of-life issues to chronic illness to many other factors.
posted by Justinian at 5:44 PM on August 14 [4 favorites]


Hey, HyperBlue, everyone is different. Just because Robin Williams eventually succumbed to it doesn't mean you have to. Be well, okay?
posted by JHarris at 7:40 PM on August 14 [3 favorites]


I find this loss so upsetting. He was just such a fixture in pop culture, and for most of my life he seemed to be everywhere: comedy films, dramas, leading roles, cameos, children's TV & movies, telethons, late night talk shows.

I know he's a human being and was going to retire one day eventually, but losing him so suddenly feels like waking up to learn that the Moon has gone missing.
posted by Philemon at 9:25 PM on August 14 [4 favorites]


The New Yorker: Suicide, a Crime of Loneliness
Every suicide warrants mourning, but the death of a figure such as Robin Williams makes larger ripples than most. The disappearance of his infectious glee makes this planet a poorer place. And since suicide is contagious, others have perhaps made copycat attempts already, reasoning that if even Robin Williams couldn’t make things work, they can’t, either. Waves of such events have often followed high-profile suicides; in the period after Marilyn Monroe took her own life, for example, suicide in the United States went up by twelve per cent.

Williams’s suicide demonstrates that none of us is immune. If you could be Robin Williams and still want to kill yourself, then all of us are prone to the same terrifying vulnerability. Most people imagine that resolving particular problems will make them happy. If only one had more money, or love, or success, then life would feel manageable. It can be devastating to realize the falseness of such tempered optimism. A great hope gets crushed every time someone reminds us that happiness can be neither assumed nor earned; that we are all prisoners of our own flawed brains; that the ultimate aloneness in each of us is, finally, inviolable.

posted by zarq at 7:54 AM on August 15 [2 favorites]


Man, watching him at the Tour of California in 2010: When I was younger I always felt that his "step back and vanish" move was a coy thing but damn if that doesn't seem like the most awkward man in the room stepping back in self-embarrassment.
posted by Ogre Lawless at 9:41 AM on August 15 [1 favorite]




Given Robin Williams' widely known struggles with alcoholism, and the role acetaldehyde dehydrogenase inhibition plays in some alcohol treatment programs, you have to wonder how much of a factor alcoholism treatment might have been in Williams' development of Parkinson disease.
posted by jamjam at 2:23 PM on August 15 [2 favorites]


The scene in a local video store.

idiopath
There are similar endlessly poignant ripples on ebay - suddenly multiple bids for Mrs. Doubtfire dvds.

(It's a comfort in its own way, I suppose; all of us doing the same thing & rushing to somehow hang on to a piece of Robin Williams.)
posted by Jody Tresidder at 2:58 PM on August 15 [1 favorite]


Days too late, but I'll add a . anyway.

What's really struck me is how many people have said what a nice guy he was. Seems to make it worse.

I've battled depression and know how hellish it can be.
posted by daybeforetheday at 3:25 PM on August 15


(It's a comfort in its own way, I suppose; all of us doing the same thing & rushing to somehow hang on to a piece of Robin Williams.)

Similarly, on the other side of the tracks, TPB has a 34GB torrent of- apparently- all his movies, created a couple of days ago, that has 2k seeders/12k leechers now. (those are very large numbers, like newish-Marvel-movie numbers. For a torrent of that size, I imagine it's unprecedented, though I don't know that anyone tracks that kinda thing.)
posted by hap_hazard at 4:25 PM on August 15


Was reading an article in which someone was advocating that the best way to describe his death is not to say that he committed suicide but that he died of depression. And it does make me pause and rethink how we talk about mental health and where we put the focus on in situations like this.
posted by Fizz at 5:28 PM on August 15 [7 favorites]


Apparently Cory Doctorow shared something on his Tumblr about having once seen Robin Williams' performance rider - it wasn't anything like "must only have Snickers Bars backstage" or anything. Instead, apparently Robin Williams insisted that for every project he worked on, the powers that be had to hire some homeless men and women as part of their crew for the duration of the project.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:40 PM on August 15 [32 favorites]


From the Parkinson's Disease Foundation, "Parkinson’s affects many parts of the brain that are important in controlling mood. One of these is the area that produces serotonin, a brain chemical implicated in depression. Another part of the brain important in regulating mood—the frontal lobe—is known to be under-active in Parkinson’s."

I'd think that when a person who already has depression gets a disease that further affects serotonin and will increase their depression...Jesus, how do you escape from that black hole? Where do you see a light at the end of the tunnel?
posted by kinetic at 4:29 AM on August 16 [5 favorites]


This is where rocks bands list their requirement for green M&Ms (which is actually a surprisingly smart thing to do)

Thank you Doctorow, for dropping in this infuriating unsolvable puzzle as an aside. +100 Troll points.
posted by dgaicun at 6:15 PM on August 16


Thank you Doctorow, for dropping in this infuriating unsolvable puzzle as an aside. +100 Troll points.

I think he's saying that ridiculous requirements in riders are supposedly a good test to see if the entire rider has been read thoroughly (Van Halen apparently had their notorious "no brown M&Ms" requirement in their rider not because they actually cared about M&Ms, but because they cared about making sure no one skipped their sound and lighting requirements). But it's a dumb aside on his part, because I think that most goofy rider requirements are there mainly because rock stars can demand whatever they feel like, not because they're enacting confectionary-based fail-safe mechanisms to make sure their technical specs are being met.

posted by scody at 6:55 PM on August 16 [6 favorites]


Precisely, scody.
The rider's "Munchies" section was where the group made its candy-with-a-caveat request: "M&M's (WARNING: ABSOLUTELY NO BROWN ONES)." While the underlined rider entry has often been described as an example of rock excess, the outlandish demand of multimillionaires, the group has said the M&M provision was included to make sure that promoters had actually read its lengthy rider. If brown M&M's were in the backstage candy bowl, Van Halen surmised that more important aspects of a performance--lighting, staging, security, ticketing--may have been botched by an inattentive promoter.

posted by ob1quixote at 6:58 PM on August 16 [1 favorite]


Thanks. The gratuitous flummoxing was interfering with my appreciation of the Williams anecdote.
posted by dgaicun at 7:32 PM on August 16


One of the johns from TMBG explained the rider thing on this episode (under prologue) of This American Life.
posted by schyler523 at 5:04 AM on August 17 [1 favorite]


I'm still sad about this. He seemed like a really nice, genuinely warm and caring person. I feel in a small way responsible for his sadness because I didn't watch The Crazy Ones.

I watched The Fisher King last night and it said a lot about sadness. But also, there were moments of pure joy. A little scene where he and Amanda Plummer played hockey/soccer with a piece of broccoli had such sweetness! Also he appeared totally naked! He just did not seem to be afraid of much, and left it all out there on screen. Respect.
posted by onlyconnect at 5:44 AM on August 17


827 comments so far. This thread might be the all-time record for metafilter obit megabytes of sadness, love, respect, &c. Sometimes performance enhancing drugs work too well.

Rest in peace you madman.
posted by bukvich at 6:00 AM on August 17 [3 favorites]


Abree-ahr-ahr?


.
posted by petebest at 10:00 AM on August 17


Watched World's Greatest Dad last night. Incredible performance all the way through. The final scene in the swimming pool, the expression on his face had the tears rolling.

Godspeed, Prince Robin.
posted by arcticseal at 12:52 PM on August 17 [1 favorite]


Whee, I found something! Years ago there was a series of nature documentaries someone was trying to do, where they sent some celebrity out to work with an animal research facility as some kind of "watch the famous person interact with an animal" kind of thing; think like Douglas Adams' Last Chance To See only with a different person every week.

The only one of these that seemed to be any good was the one with Robin Williams and dolphins, which I've found in its entirety here.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 3:08 PM on August 17 [3 favorites]


FWIW, a FanFare Talk post proposing a Robin Williams movie club.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 6:30 PM on August 17 [2 favorites]


Thank you for the dolphin video. Parts of it felt familiar so I think I must have seen it back in the day. It was wonderful.

"I think I'm going to miss her. I wonder if she will miss me?"

[sniff] I miss you.
posted by double bubble at 7:13 PM on August 17 [4 favorites]


Brown M&M's leave the worst stains on your hands and costumes.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 9:10 AM on August 18


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posted by datarose at 12:46 PM on August 18


I watched The Fisher King last night and it said a lot about sadness.

One of the surest pictures of depression is the moment the thugs are about to kick the shit out of him... and he says "Thank you". Gets me every time.
posted by grubi at 7:01 AM on August 19 [4 favorites]


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posted by 0 at 7:13 AM on August 19 [1 favorite]


It's been a week and I still can't believe he's gone. I was reading his Reddit AMA and there was this particular exchange which stood out to me:

[–]inconsequentially 379 points 10 months ago (12 children)
Hi Robin,
I've been lurking reddit for a very long time but never really wanted to make an account up until now. I'm not going to delve into the nitty-gritty of my personal situation but I feel like it's suffice to say that i'm going through a bad time at the moment.
Any advice for people out there like me who may be going through bad times themselves, for whatever reason?
permalink
[–]RobinWilliamsHere[S] 959 points 10 months ago (4 children)
Reach out to friends. They're out there. And know that you are loved.


Depression can go eat a bag of dicks.
posted by ooga_booga at 8:59 PM on August 20 [12 favorites]


Remembrances:

Lisa Jakub, who played one of his kids in Mrs. Doubtfire: Farewell to Robin Williams: a thank you note
"When I was 14 years old, I went on location to film Mrs. Doubtfire for five months, and my high school was not happy. My job meant an increased workload for teachers, and they were not equipped to handle a “non-traditional” student. So, during filming, they kicked me out.

It’s devastating, at 14, to have your formal education terminated. I felt like a freak and a reject. When I arrived at work the next day, Robin noticed that I was upset and asked me what was wrong. I explained what had happened, and the next day, he handed me a letter that he wrote to my school. He explained that I was just trying to continue my education while pursuing my career. He wrote embarrassingly kind things about my character and my work, and requested that they reconsider and allow me to return to my classes.

When I told him I still didn’t think they would take me back, he said, “It’s kinda like Amnesty International. That school just needs to know that people know the truth.”

The school framed the letter. They hung it in the principal’s office. But they didn’t invite me to return to school.

But here’s what matters from that story. Robin stood up for me. He was in my corner. I was only 14, but I had already seen that I was in an industry that was full of back-stabbing. And it was entirely clear that Robin had my back."
--
Pierce Brosnan on Conan O'Brien a couple of days ago. (Video)
--

Mara Wilson, who co-starred with him in Mrs. Doubtfire, at age 5: Remembering Robin
"I’m glad people are starting to talk seriously about mental health, depression, and suicide. I’ve discussed my OCD, anxiety, and depression in the past and will continue to do so more in the future. Mental health needs to be taken as seriously as physical health; the two are inseparable. But I am afraid people will romanticize what Robin went through. Please don’t romanticize mental anguish. I know many people who think to be an artist means you have to suffer, or at least wallow in old miseries. It’s not only an incorrect assumption — there are comedians who had happy upbringings, I swear — but it will only hurt them and the people who care about them. Artists who struggled with mental illness, trauma, disease, addiction (often the latter is a way of self-medicating after the first three) did not want or welcome it. I don’t know if I’d consider myself an artist, but speaking as someone who sometimes makes stuff, my best work is created when I’m content and contemplative, looking back on painful times rather than in the middle of them. To focus on someone’s pain instead of their accomplishments is an insult to them. As my friend Patrick put it, a person is a person first and a story second.

In the past few days I have said “thanks” and “I love you” to so many people. I’m fortunate to know people who care and have been so good to me, and it’s heartening to know there are so many people who will miss Robin, too. I heard about his death from a comedian friend, and got the specifics from my brother Danny. Both had reasons to love him, and I was glad I heard about it from them rather than the internet. Though once I got on Facebook that night, I was immediately overwhelmed with how many people had kind words to say about him. Many of my friends are comedians who were inspired by him, but others just loved his movies and comedy and had since their childhoods. If you can affect someone when they’re young, you are in their heart forever. It is remarkable how many lives Robin touched, and how many people said, just as I had, that he reminded them of their fathers.

I suppose — could I really end this any other way? — we’re all his goddamn kids, too."

posted by zarq at 8:31 AM on August 22 [15 favorites]


I have been so moved by this thread. I always thought RW was funny and off-the-wall, but always seemed a little anxious, a little too eager to please. The portrait I have of him after reading this thread is of a kind, gentle man who was struggling to find his own peace and wanted to make sure he did everything he could for the peace of others. I misjudged him.

Oh, and yeah. Fuck depression.
posted by Mental Wimp at 12:50 PM on August 22 [3 favorites]


Recently mind-blowing:

A photographer recently took a closer look at a photo series he took of a couple mimes in Central Park back in 1974, and realized that one of them looked kind of familiar....
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:45 PM on August 22 [7 favorites]


The letter he wrote for then-14 year old Lusa Jakub that zarq linked, and the reasons he gave for doing it ("It's kinda like Amnesty International. That school just needs to know that people know the truth.") really moved me. And also, her reaction to it: "Even though I had not spoken with Robin in a very long time, I always assumed there would be some future opportunity to tell him that his letter changed my life. It taught me that you stand up for the things that matter. And even if your attempts fail, you tried. You told the truth. You took care of your friends. You fought back."

I feel a little like Mental Wimp. Everything I read about him now, and how wonderful and kind he was to those around him, just makes this worse that we didn't show him the same kindness to make him want to stay.
posted by onlyconnect at 7:35 PM on August 22 [3 favorites]


> Everything I read about him now, and how wonderful and kind he was to those around him, just makes this worse that we didn't show him the same kindness to make him want to stay.

Mmmmyesnonotsure. Not sure if we should really see it as 'we did not show him or her enough kindness' if someone is depressed and ends up resorting to suicide. From what I know I don't think depression works like that. But I readily admit I do not know much about it.
posted by Too-Ticky at 12:51 AM on August 23


Not sure if we should really see it as 'we did not show him or her enough kindness' if someone is depressed and ends up resorting to suicide.

I agree; this is the same as the "he just didn't know how much he was loved" line of thinking. Robin Williams didn't die because he wasn't shown enough kindness and love; he died because he was in unbearable pain brought on by an insidious disease that can render all the kindness and the love in the world powerless.
posted by scody at 10:23 AM on August 23 [9 favorites]


And yet -- and yet -- Williams had been dealt some blows of late that would give anyone -- including people not suffering from depression -- reasons to be devastatingly sad.

* A Parkinson's diagnosis, for anyone, is a sort of gut shot. It sent Michael J. Fox into a year-long downward spiral of alcohol abuse. For a physical comedian/actor like Williams who lightning comedic timing was his trademark, it would have to be very, very hard to deal with.

* CBS, in mid-May, had cancelled his television show, where he saw himself as the headliner -- his face was on gigantic posters all around town. It hadn't been cancelled after a good, long run, but after a single season. He may not have been thrilled about doing TV again -- some said he saw it as a sort of step down -- but it was a steady paycheck and he talked about needing the money, and the alternatives seemed to be going back on the comedy circuit or acting in independent films where the paycheck was iffy. It was a significant professional setback.

I guess because he committed suicide shortly after these two events happened to him, I do wonder whether -- for him -- more kindness might have mattered. He was not someone who had had a string of good things happening to them and yet still felt dead inside, as someone above described often happens to other depressed people. Williams had had bad things being thrown at him left and right, and maybe if they had just let up a little it would not have seemed so dark in there. And also, as a person, kindness seemed to matter a great deal to Robin Williams just because he seemed to go out of his way to show it to others. He was a sensitive soul. For someone like that, wouldn't it sometimes hurt you more when others did not show kindness to you?

I don't know. While I know that other people were not responsible for his suicide, I do feel that he was dealing with a serious sickness and essentially getting fired from a big-deal job, and those are two major stress factors for anyone. That is A LOT. Can we be so sure that acts of real kindness -- the kind of acts he had shown to others -- couldn't have helped? I really, really wish he had not had to deal with these two major life events virtually simultaneously.

Though I agree that "he just didn't know how much he was loved" isn't helpful, that's not what I'm saying.
posted by onlyconnect at 3:14 PM on August 23 [3 favorites]


For someone like that, wouldn't it sometimes hurt you more when others did not show kindness to you? [...] Can we be so sure that acts of real kindness -- the kind of acts he had shown to others -- couldn't have helped?

You seem to be assuming this did not happen. That's an awfully big assumption.

It's also a giant slap in the face to everyone who knew and loved him. They probably feel bad enough without that kind of passive aggressive guilt trip.
posted by Sys Rq at 3:46 PM on August 23


Can we be so sure that acts of real kindness -- the kind of acts he had shown to others -- couldn't have helped?

Honestly, you have no idea how much kindness or compassion the people in his life -- his family, friends, colleagues, medical team, fellow cycling enthusiasts, et al. -- showed him in the wake of his diagnosis and his show's cancellation. If anything, given how warmly and lovingly everyone who knew him has spoken of him since his death, I think it's a fairly safe assumption that they probably treated him with a great deal of kindness and compassion. Suggesting that they somehow failed him is an unfair (and uncharitable) assumption.

I hate that he went through what he went through, too. It breaks my heart to think that his final moments were such agony. It is awful to think that there's no real sense to make out it. But this is what we are faced with, and it is why his death is so haunting.
posted by scody at 4:04 PM on August 23 [4 favorites]


I was wondering something about the Parkinson's and his reaction to it - he got to be friends with Oliver Sacks after working on AWAKENINGS. I wonder if a couple conversations about "so what am I facing with this diagnosis" may have happened.

Which were probably tremendously difficult for them both....those dear men.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:07 PM on August 23


Wow, well I don't mean it that way. I did not mean any sort of statement about his family and immediate friends, and I regret it sounded as if I did. I was talking about people kind of like me, really.

I know he wasn't receiving kindness on all fronts because CBS cancelled his show even though its ratings ultimately picked up a bit and other shows have been given second chances, because I've read some shitty things people said about him in reviews of his movies, show, and stand up and would expect he heard similar, and (this is sort of silly) because his house in Napa had been on the market for months -- could no billionaire help him out and buy the house for $30 mil after he'd reduced the price by $5 mil? Would that have been so hard for someone with pots and pots of money? I'm sort of kidding, but I'm sort of serious, too.

I don't think there's anything wrong with seeing something like this and thinking we should all be kinder to each other, because you don't know what others are going through.
posted by onlyconnect at 4:18 PM on August 23 [2 favorites]


EC: Here's a remembrance from Sacks (he doesn't mention if they discussed the Parkinson's diagnosis, but I agree, it seems quite plausible).

I don't think there's anything wrong with seeing something like this and thinking we should all be kinder to each other, because you don't know what others are going through.

Oh, I totally agree with this, and don't mean to suggest that treating people with kindness is irrelevant or can have no affect on someone who is suffering. I also take your point that if there is any meaning that can come out of his death, becoming more mindful of being kind to each other is vital.

I just think it's problematic to go a step further to suggest that he died for lack of kindness -- both because it glosses over the nature of severe, suicidal depression (which is literally a brain-altering disease), and because it inadvertently suggests that the people around him bear a measure of responsibility for his death. While I think it's true that unkindness in the form of bullying, etc. obviously can play a role (often a very major role) in some suicides, his death very clearly does not fall into that category.
posted by scody at 4:47 PM on August 23 [4 favorites]


FWIW, a FanFare Talk post proposing a Robin Williams movie club.

Which is now under way: FanFare posts so far for One Hour Photo and Popeye, and a rewatch of The World According To Garp is next up on Saturday September 6th.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 6:10 PM on August 23




I was in Disney World when this happened. They flew the flags at half-staff in the Hollywood Studios park the next day. And the afternoon parade had a character in the Aladdin Genie costume on top of one of the floats. I rode the Aladdin's Magic Carpet ride the next day -- which features his face all over -- and it was a goofy-if-poignant reminder.

And I couldn't find any pins of the Genie for sale or trade anywhere in any of the parks!

I listened to the Marc Maron interview this past weekend, heavy with the awareness of the suicide, and he sounded pretty good there.

So sad. *sigh*
posted by wenestvedt at 9:57 AM on September 5 [1 favorite]


Also, the sheer asymmetry of the joy that he spread astounds me.

On one side stands a single man, manic and noisy and shimmering, while on the other side is the vast crowd of those who found delight in his work. One man serving millions of souls, to whom he brought a measure of light and uplift.

I would like to think that if somehow we each could have returned to him a small portion of that gift, perhaps while floating on the resulting flood he might have washed away the depression. Probably not, but the idea of giving back that love is itself consoling.
posted by wenestvedt at 11:49 AM on September 5 [2 favorites]


For fans of Robin in London (or close by), the Prince Charles Cinema are going to be doing screenings of many of his movies throughout November and December, with all of the profits going to the mental health charity Mind.

Over the weekend they put on a special memorial screening of Good Morning, Vietnam and Dead Poet's Society. Before the first movie they showed a clip of Billy Crystal's eulogy at the Emmys and in the break a short film about depression and Mind's work.

The place was packed out, and if you've ever been to the PCC you know it's a big auditorium. There was rapturous applause at the end of Good Morning, Vietnam (and some in-drawn breaths when Robin's character made references to killing himself). I'd never seen it before and was glad to experience it for the first time on the big screen. I cried three times. Christ, what a movie.

The best part of the experience came at the end of Dead Poet's Society, during the scene where Robin's character is leaving the school. As the boys stood up from their chairs and began to climb on their desks, a woman at the front of the auditorium stood up and did the same thing. There was laughter and teary gasps, then other people around her began standing. Then more. Soon half the place were on their feet or trying to stand on their chairs, crying and applauding. I stood and had to lean on my boyfriend because I was crying so hard (I'm choking up just thinking about it - that movie meant a lot to me as a nerdy teenager).

So yeah, thank you for that feeling, Robin. Thank you for the love and laughter and sadness in that room on Saturday night. We miss you.
posted by fight or flight at 4:29 AM on September 8 [16 favorites]


I thought this video commentary from Russell Brand was thoughtful and interesting.

I couldn't figure out whether someone had linked this above, but I rewatched Williams' appearance on the Louis CK show and it was sad and joyful and relevant. . . . "Hey, will you . . . ?"
posted by onlyconnect at 8:17 AM on September 10 [6 favorites]


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