Along with the rest of the world, I am shocked at the death of actor and comedian Robin Williams, 63, who died this morning at his Northern California home, according to CNN. He died of probable suicide by asphyxia.
This news devastates me, and the world, not only because we have lost a brilliant, talented, beloved actor and comedian, but also because, as actor and friend of Williams, Ed Asner, said, “I am sorry, terribly sorry, that he was so alone.”
While struggling to type the words after reading the news, I noticed that most of us feel the same way: We never met him, but we miss him as if he was a lifelong friend.
I never met Robin Williams, yet I grew up watching his films. During my childhood, I was fascinated with his performance in “Jumanji,” and even as a child, I knew a brilliant actor when I saw one. Williams had the power to impact an audience, bringing forth laughter and tears.
In Psychology class during high school, I watched “Good Will Hunting.” Williams deservedly won an Oscar for his performance as therapist Dr. Sean Maguire, and his monologue with Matt Damon’s character (Will Hunting) while they sit on a park bench is powerful, relatable, and touches the soul.
In “Dead Poets Society,” Williams played John Keating, an English teacher at an all-boys boarding school, and as a writer, this film has impacted my life forever.
Keating lectured to his class, “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.”
I could never pretend to understand the pain of someone I’ve never met, but I do understand that Robin Williams has impacted the lives of millions, myself included. Hearing of his death is a shock, yet it is no secret that Williams has suffered drug and alcohol addiction and depression for years. Williams discussed these issues openly in interviews and in his comedy performances.
It is shocking that someone so loved, talented, and brilliant is no longer in this world. I may not understand someone else’s darkness because I have not seen it through their eyes, but their darkness still breaks my heart. Even though I never met you, I mourn your loss.
Though I never met you, I already miss you, Robin Williams.