Robin Williams' legacy is the laughter that comes from hearing the truth and the tears that fall when in the presence of someone who radiates an unfathomable darkness. He was much more than a comedian, he was an insanely talented man who chose to make us forget our worries for a while by entertaining us. Along the way he has won many awards including an Oscar, multiple Grammies, and an Emmy.
Whether he made you laugh while watching him on the 70s sitcom Mork & Mindy, or in a comedy club where he would run through a cocaine fueled, stream of consciousness set that had you believing that a thousand people did indeed live inside his head, Robin Williams made people laugh and gave them some happiness.
Later as he mastered sobriety and came into his own as an actor, he capably delivered a raw, emotional assault on his audience. He touched our hearts and we wanted him in our lives.
Personally, I always dreamed that I would find a therapist like the one he played in Good Will Hunting. When he played a teacher at a boys boarding school in Dead Poets Society, a generation of people held his character as the standard for what a good, inspiring teacher should be. I witnessed as the phrase 'carpe diem' went from Latin obscura to commonplace as thousands of people were inspired to 'seize' their respective days. When he dressed up like a homely woman as Mrs. Doubtfire, he became the mother every father aspired to be.
Even one of the aforementioned roles would have been enough to secure his legacy as a comedic genius and brilliant actor, but when you look at his entire catalog of work, the only word that comes to mind is formidable. Robin Williams was a formidable talent and his legacy, likewise.
"You're only given a little spark of madness. You mustn't lose it."
It's difficult to answer this. I didn't know him. I never even saw him during my days working at the studio. Yet he's been a huge part of my life nonetheless.
Cinema is my upbringing. My parents were movie lovers long before I was born and when I finally grew old enough to begin watching them, my parents didn't shy me away from anything, to a certain extent.
My generation grew up with Robin Williams. Sure, the Mork and Mindy episodes were still playing on Nick at Night, but for me, it was his films that best stood out, as well as those early days of Comedy Relief with him, Whoopi Goldberg, and Billy Crystal. His stand-up comedy and ability to improv on stage was amazing.
He has no equal in that respect. Even those first few more obscure films resonate with me when I look back on my childhood and youth overall.
The World According to Garp
Moscow on the Hudson
The Best of Times
I love all of these films. I do. Actually, maybe I don't love most of them as much as I love Robin Williams IN them. Had he not been a part of most of these somewhat forgotten films, they likely wouldn't resonate with me.
Robin had an energy about him. A glint in his eye with that slight smile of his. Whether he was cracking jokes, bouncing of the walls (figuratively), ad-libbing like no other, or during quiet moments like in The World According to Garp, he always had a special energy about him.
And then came Good Morning, Vietnam. Don't forget that. A film that showcased his talent as a manic comedian yet displayed his amazing dramatic range.
And don't forget Dead Poets Society. Need I say more? Another blend of his comedic and dramatic ability, but enhanced with his nobility.
Don't forget Cadillac Man, another forgotten gem. It's a charming little film, trust me.
Don't forget Awakenings...
And don't you dare forget The Fisher King, perhaps his most underrated role.
And who could forget his iconic voice role as Genie in Aladdin?
Don't even forget about Hook, or Mrs. Doubtfire, or his amazing "straight man" performance in The Birdcage!
And here's where it gets really tough. Good Will Hunting. This amazing film was one of the films that made me want to be a screenwriter. Williams' Oscar-winning performance is one of the best that has ever graced the big screen. I've watched this film more than most I've seen by far. These scenes below taught me all about screenwriting. All about characters. All about building to a moment. Please take a moment and remember these...
And perhaps his finest scene...
And as I wipe away those tears welling up in my eyes watching these clips and thinking about this talented icon that we've lost, I think of the underrated and beautiful What Dreams May Come. Please, don't forget it. Even though it holds a deeper and darker meaning now that we've lost him.
So what will Robin be remembered for? Need I say more?
And lastly, let's turn tears of sadness into tears of gut wrenching laughter from a man that did that so well. Beyond all others.
And brace yourself...
THAT, all of that and more, is what he'll be remembered for...
We'll see you in the next life, Robin. Until then, you're legacy lives on in our hearts and in these films and the many more you blessed us with.
It will be like missing the sun.
What will he be remembered for? Dressing as an old woman, Nanoo Nanoo, crazed laughter, bright spirit, jokes that know too well how human we are, and sometimes too colorful to repeat, shocking revelations, uncanny wit, rapid-fire jokes that seem to come from a place beyond the world, "Oh Captain, my captain," dancing Gene Hackman dressed in lovely white out of a drag club, that a man known so well as a wonder with wit may too be greatly remembered for incredible dramatic portrayals.More questions on Quora:
- Robin Williams: Robin Williams has passed away. What can we learn from this incredibly intelligent man's life?
- Movies: What are some movies like/as good as Good Will Hunting and Dead Poets Society?
- Good Will Hunting: What is the main message Sean (Robin Williams) is driving across in the park conversation of the movie Good Will Hunting?