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Mork Calling Orson

The first time I ever saw Robin Williams, he was in Milwaukee, Wisconson in the middle of Richie Cunningham’s house.

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I was 8. I thought it was HILARIOUS when he sat in the chair on his head with his butt up in the air.

When he got his own show, I was all in!

Iconic

Mork was an innocent, well-meaning, sweet alien who always had a message in his calls to Orson, his superior. He portrayed Mork in such a real way without making him seem stupid.

Over the next few decades, I saw a lot of Robin Williams’s movies. I saw Popeye, Good Morning Vietnam, and Dead Poet’s Society. I’ve been wanting to rewatch the latter for some time now. I loved him in that. I loved how he inspired all those students. Perhaps it’s the teacher in me. Perhaps it’s the human in me. Either way, he was amazing.

Oh Captain my Captain

O Captain! My Captain!

I saw Awakenings, Dead Again, Hook. I saw Aladdin.

I loved him in Aladdin. Loved. But it wasn’t until at least 10-12 years later that I really, really got to know that character. My son embraced Aladdin when he was 2 or 3. He loved everything about that movie, and the genie was just mesmerizing. It was wonderful to get to revisit that character, not only through my own eyes, but through the eyes of my child.

Mrs. Doubtfire, The Birdcage, Jack, Father’s Day, Flubber. And then came Good Will Hunting. Such a wonderful performance. I was so happy when he won the Oscar.

Patch Adams, Robots, Happy Feet, and Night at the Museum. There couldn’t be a better Teddy Roosevelt!

Sadly, I didn’t see most of his recent work. When you have kids, you miss a lot of movies. Sometimes, however, you see an older movie years after it’s made and it touches you. What Dreams May Come was probably one of the most depressing movies I’ve ever seen. I cried so hard. He broke my heart in that movie.

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I’ve heard news of many celebrity deaths throughout my life. Sometimes I’m shocked. Sometimes I’m sad. Sometimes I’m really sad. Sometimes it makes me shake my head.

The death of Robin Williams yesterday hit me harder than most celebrity deaths. At first it was shock. Then sadness. Then I saw this picture one of my friends posted and I started crying. I’ve had several crying jags since then.

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Robin Williams brought a lot of joy and inspiration to the world. He showed that he could be brilliantly ridiculous and ridiculously brilliant. He brought a real depth to all his characters – whether it was John Keating or Mork from Ork.

And this brilliant man had a sadness that was so deep, most people can’t imagine. So many of us were so shocked because how could someone so brilliant and so funny and full of energy and life be so sad that he felt that was his only way out?

I’ve struggled with depression at different points in my life. I’ve even had fleeting thoughts that people would be happier without me being here. But I never once thought that I truly had no other option than to end things.

And then I came close to death after my youngest was born. When I came out the other side, I truly, truly was thankful I was still here, and I realized how my life did affect other people. It’s something I hold onto, even on my bad days.

I can’t imagine how his family feels, but I can only assume it’s what we all feel times 1000.

Good Night, Robin. You will be missed. ❤

~Genevieve

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2 responses »

  1. I had the privilege of working with Robin Williams during the Aladdin movie premiere. I was an Agrabah dancer that led a parade of movie cast celebrities to the main stage. They set up the city of Agrabah in a parking lot in Los Angeles. They brought in tons and tons of sand, built the castle, and created the whole street scene, filled with canopies. it was an amazing set up. Robin was a lot of things all rolled up into one – he was funny, talented, and crazy, along with a human side that made him very personable with all of us “non-celebrity” cast members. But, he also was filled with addictions that definitely showed up during the rehearsals and performance. There was a part of him that seemed like he was always “performing”, even when he was just backstage. And yet, mixed into that was this very real person who wanted to make everyone else feel equal and not below him. Sad isn’t even the right word to describe a situation where someone feels so trapped that they feel suicide is their only option. This is such a reminder that happiness cannot be bought through money or fame, but is found within yourself. Happiness is almost this choice of internal acceptance, of feeling comfortable in one’s own skin, and accepting who God created — and not looking to the earthly societal acceptance to create some kind of internal happiness. It also reminds us that you never know what a person is going through — what’s inside manifests itself in so many different things (whether that be alcoholism, drugs, depression, etc) It’s so hard to fathom being who he was and hearing about what he did. I can’t help but want to reach out to all the people suffering with these kinds of internal struggles, mental illness, and depression and give them all a hug. We just don’t realize how much people are lost inside.

  2. Jenny, this was a beautiful tribute. Depression is not something most people who have never suffered with it can fathom. Most severe depression is beyond the understanding of friends, family and even mental health professionals. And drug addiction often goes with it as people attempt to self-medicate to relieve the almost unbearable pain. What is always amazing to me is how many people keep going, fighting for happiness, fighting for a feeling of normalcy, even as each day is bleak and dark and hopeless. Those people are heroes to me. It’s easy to get through the day, going to work, raising your family, and just living your life, when your mood is stable, but when severe depression hits, it’s a heroic task. Who knows what was going on in Robin William’s life that he could no longer endure, but we know one thing. Even as he was suffering, he entertained and inspired millions, and brought happiness to many who desperately needed it.

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