Twentieth Century Fox Corporation
Twentieth Century Fox Corporation
Robin Williams has been gone for a year. He died a year ago today, in fact.
And we defiantly refuse to accept it.
Because unlike his actual loved ones, we have the luxury of pretending that it's not real, that he's just off somewhere, making more movies. Plotting one of his rare gems of a standup special. Doing voices.
We all like to think that's what he's off doing, regardless, but the Oscar winner and star of half the movies we needed our parents to drive us to back in the day died on Aug. 11, 2014. And the fact that he took his own life? Mind-boggling.
We knew he had battled demons—substance abuse, depression—and we ultimately found out that, not long before he died, he had been diagnosed with Parkinson's disease. And we read all the analysis that ensued: the hindsight, the signs, the tiresome burden that Williams placed on himself to always be on, even when it was almost impossible to just be. His death prompted a global discussion about suicide and mental illness that, one can only hope, ultimately saved lives.
And yet we can laugh at The Birdcage and quote Good Will Hunting to no end
We're not (too) nuts, we know that people die and Williams ultimately proved more vulnerably human than many. But just as is the case with so many great movie stars (Lauren Bacall, for instance, died just one day after Williams, her passing at 89 still carrying the air of untimeliness) who had so much presence, it seems impossible to think of them as gone for good, whatever took them away.
Such is our privilege, as fans.
Twentieth Century Fox
Williams wasn't just an entertainer for one generation, either. His appeal and ridiculously long list of credits transcended age groups: You and your friends memorized Dead Poets Society, Aladdin and Mrs. Doubtfire, while your mom watched Mork & Mindy and your dad will inexplicably watch Popeye and The World According to Garp whenever they're on.
You loved Patch Adams. You hated Patch Adams. You preferred 1970s-era, subversive Williams. You had no idea that the guy who played Buffy's dad on The Crazy Ones also played Mork from Ork. You only liked him doing comedy. You thought he made a great creep. Why have we seen Awakenings 12 times? He makes Night at the Musuem worth watching.
Lionsgate / Miramax Films
It didn't matter which incarnation of Robin Williams you preferred, because there were enough of them to go around.
He was 63 when he died and will always be so, if not younger, because he never seemed that "old" even when he was. In explaining his frantic work schedule, he would joke that, two divorces down, he needed the money. But screens big and small needed him, too. He covered a lot of ground in his time, fearlessly taking on roles up and down the genre spectrum, playing doctor, teacher, nightclub owner, bum, president, car salesman, father, husband, housekeeper, alien, criminal and genie.
To name a few.
Over the last 12 months, he appeared posthumously on the big screen four times, and the animated, fittingly titled Absolutely Anything is still to come. So it's been easy enough to trick ourselves into thinking he's out there, making more for us to see.
But that string of unfinished business is going to conclude soon, leaving us with only the complete body of work of the incomparable Robin Williams.
We'll always wonder what else he would have done, but hadn't he already done enough to live forever?
If you or someone you know needs help, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255)