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Nikki Luongo Headshot

Saying Goodbye to a Shooting Star

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In The Sandlot movie, When the Babe comes to Benny in his dream to tell him what to do about the ball in Mr. Mertle's yard, he sums up how life should be

"Let me tell you something kid; Everybody gets one chance to do something great. Most people never take the chance, either because they're too scared, or they don't recognize it when it spits on their shoes.

" Robin Williams' life was just that, he took risks that were unexpected and it created a legacy of not only laughter but tears as well.

From bursting onto the standup scene in the 1970s through his last TV series "The Crazy Ones," there wasn't a genre or role Robin couldn't carry off, his range was something that up and coming actors only dream of and although he might not want to be remembered as the Iconic "Mork," it's still a wonderful part of his career.

The ability to imitate just about anybody is a rare gift and Robin used that in every performance, We could see it as the genie in Aladdin when he is talking with Aladdin, he becomes William F. Buckley, Jack Nicholson among many others in seconds and in one of his greatest roles, Mrs. Doubtfire, not only for the voices he used to torture Sally Field but the one that would eventually become Eugenia Doubtfire, the soft spoken Anti-Mary Poppins.

We've all quoted the lines from The Birdcage, some of us pretending to be Robin's character, some Nathan Lane's and there was such a hope that they would work together again because they had such chemistry and played off each other as if they were a real couple and even Gene Hackman wearing the white dress with the Carol Channing wig dancing at the end just makes it even funnier.

Even when he played himself, you could see that there was always a little something extra that was being held back and you wanted to know what it was, it was a desperation for just one more minute of him because his humor never stopped and there's nothing better than a good belly laugh.

But behind that little extra was a sadness we never knew because we chose not to believe that someone who created such a positive vibe and in the end, it was that sadness that caused him to take his own life in a surprising move that nobody could have anticipated and that we all wish we could have stopped him to tell Robin how much he meant to us and that his death leaves us longing for one more laugh.

In one of his best movies, Patch Adams, Robin Williams stands at the edge of a cliff and contemplates suicide after the murder of his girlfriend, He wants to know things happen and how if God could create man in his image, how could he also create suffering and death as well, and that maybe when God rested, he should have worked on his compassion. For a moment, it's a glance at someone who's fighting desperately to live and be loved, at that last minute of the scene He turns from the mountain and mumbles "You're not worth it"

Ever since the announcement came out that Robin had committed suicide, I've had this thought rolling around in the back of my head, something my Aunt Mame says all the time, that about 10 minutes after they bury you, life goes on and you're nothing but a faded memory but I think in Robin's case, his accomplishments both personally and professional will last longer than 10 minutes, that he won't be grouped into a category with the others who've died at the beginning or height of their careers. Robin Williams had a beginning, a middle and an unfortunate end, although there were still four movies in the can that Robin had completed.

I grew up studying comedians, behaviors, jokes and mannerisms of all of them but Robin always had a special place in my heart his humor related to everyone, there was nothing about his jokes that you couldn't find funny whether it was an off color remark about politics or his own struggles. I remember sitting on the floor watching and rewinding Mrs. Doubtfire because I wanted to study his technique, every flicker of the eye, everything I wanted to learn from a grand master but I always assumed there would be time.

I almost feel like I've lost a member of my family, because for some many years I watched Robin Williams and a dear friend put it beautifully "Orson, Jonathan Winter's character on Mork and Mindy needed a buddy and so he called on the one person who could make him and God laugh."

The only bright spot in this tragedy is the level of awareness that it's raising about depression and how to cope, in getting help and even discussing it. It's putting an unfortunate name to a face that was severely lacking attention and maybe if one person can be saved, it might balance out in the end.

It's hard not to think about what could have, the movies or a new comedy tour but for now, we'll just have to play the what-if game and rerun all those fantastical movies.

My hope as well as the hope of many others around the world is that Robin finally found the peace he desperately needed.

The final scene of one of the best episodes of Mork and Mindy shows a tearful Mork saying that he he had to say goodbye to a robot friend but that although his friend was gone, he will never be far from Mork's heart. Just like Robin will never be far from ours.

What was your favorite Robin Williams role? Favorite line?