This is not the first time I have witnessed the passing of a celebrity, but it is perhaps the first that has moved me in a real way. Robin Williams was a dominate fixture through much of my childhood, from watching Mrs. Doubtfire & Aladdin at every sleepover for years, to obsessing over Hook to the point of memorizing the entire film. I can even pinpoint key moments in my transition to adulthood while watching Dead Poet’s Society, What Dreams May Come, and Good Will Hunting. It is hard not to feel that along with the star, a little bit of the magic from these movies has died as well.
Even bigger than Robin Williams’ death itself is the message that it sends about the seriousness of depression and mental illness. It is sad and frightening to think that a man who gave so much laughter and hope to strangers was incapable of doing the same for himself. Perhaps it is that thought that makes his death haunt me so. I wish him peace, and that his family can eventually find it as well.
To select my favorite clip from Robin Williams’ career is a certain impossibility, for there are too many to even count. But this is the one that fits best for me.
Thanks for teaching me how to fly.
Thanks for teaching me how to be a friend.
Thanks for teaching me how to love.
Thanks for everything, Oh Captain, My Captain.