I am not going to try to write a tribute to Robin Williams today. There are far more talented writers than I who are composing their tributes as I type this. Many of them have already done so. Judging from the comments I see on each of the clips I sought on YouTube, it’s clear that I am not the only one searching for their favorite scenes from his repertoire. He was an actor that touched our hearts, and I for one am sorry that I wasn’t able to help heal his.
I have put together some scenes from his career. It’s funny though; I expected that they would all be comedic because when you think of Robin Williams you think of whacky comedy. It surprised me that many of the ones that I chose were his more dramatic roles. Some lines of the dialogue are more poignant now, in light of his death today.
He didn’t write these scenes but what he did and what made him great was that he illuminated these lines, giving them life and making them beautiful.
Mork from Mork and Mindy: Love Report to Orson
Mrs. Doubtfire from Mrs. Doubtfire:
As Dr. Sean Maguire in Good Will Hunting
Parry in the Fisher King Clip: Telling the story of the Fisher King
Professor John Keating in Dead Poets Society – Carpe Diem
Robin Williams was an actor that could make us laugh, cry, consider our mortality and what to do with the time we have left before it. His brilliant improvisation and endless energy invigorated the words given to him. An actor whose performance made a dead language’s phrase a part of our everyday vernacular.
It’s honestly hard to imagine that a man who was so funny and silly was carrying around so much pain. Hard to imagine, perhaps, but reality has made it clear. Maybe Professor Keating can teach us one last thing today by his departure, that a broken heart can be hiding in plain sight.
If you feel sad today, as I do, there is something you can do. Instead of tearing each other apart, how about responding with kindness and love? If you have the option to do what’s kind or what’s easy, then choose kind. Instead of responding with the path of least resistance, respond with love. Most of all, be sure to seize the day and make your lives extraordinary.