Actor Robin Williams was found dead in his house this morning, a suspected suicide.

For a little while there, WIlliams was the biggest movie star on the planet. Just listing his prominent roles is exhausting. From Mork from Ork to Garp, Good Morning Vietnam, The Adventures of Baron Munchausen, The Birdcage, Dead Poets Society, The Fisher King, Hook, Aladdin, Toys, Jumanji, What Dreams May Come, Insomnia, Happy Feet, and most recently, the Night at the Museum movies.

It’s a film legacy that’s unsurpassed.

At his height, Williams was simply the funniest man alive, a non stop barrage of improv and free association that was the Sistine Chapel of rapid fire humor. It was an act inspired by his idol, Jonathan Winters.


One of his most famous roles, of course was the Genie in Aladdin, a voice which took advantage of his singing and fast paced pop culture references. The animation itself was a reflection of his persona, and one of the most memorable Disney characters of the 90s.

Williams was a comics fan, long before it became fashionable, known to go to shops in the Bay Area with his kids. For years there was some talk of his appearing in a straight out comic book movie, but it never happened.

I know this seems like second guessing, but I sensed a sadness in him whenever I saw him on TV in recent years. It struck me that someone who was happiest at such a manic level would have a hard time adjusting to the gradual, inevitable slowing down that is the human lot. It’s a lot that isn’t innately sad or tragic. But some people handle it better than others. Williams’ drug use and depression was an open secret for year as well. I’m sure we’ll hear more about all that, and rehab and what might have been. He left behind a family and a wife, and I hope their privacy can be a little respected.


There’s always hope. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255. Call if you need help.


  1. Some of his movies were really instrumental to my personal development and I will be forever grateful for the passion and soul he injected in those characters.

  2. “Williams was […] known to go to shops in the Bay Area with his kids”.

    In NYC too. I once saw him and, I suppose, his son browsing in the basement of the old East Side location of Forbidden Planet. (That’s how long ago that was.)

    “For years there was some talk of his appearing in a straight out comic book movie, but it never happened. ”

    Understandably, you forgot about the ‘Popeye’ musical — one of the biggest flops for Williams and the director Robert Altman. Not good, but still though, something unusual to see.

  3. I always thought Popeye was fun as hell. If it was a “flop,” that’s a failing on the part of moviegoers rather than the film or the filmmakers.

  4. “Was Popeye not a “straight out comic book movie” ?”

    No, it was based on the Fleischer animated cartoons of the ’30s. It’s a terrific movie that finally has the cult audience it always deserved. Altman’s film was too quirky for mainstream audiences in 1980, but people have finally come around.

    I keep thinking about the heartbreaking ending of THE WORLD ACCORDING TO GARP, which you can watch on YouTube.

  5. On the topic of his life meaning so little to himself. Actor/Comedian and friend of Robin Williams, Rick Overton has said, “I want to make clear that it’s my firm belief that Robin Williams was suffering from heart surgery related depression rather than slipping into drug depression. I have known him through the drug days and I’ve known him through the drinking days and I have known him through the dry days and he is not the person he was. The surgery altered his personality and I can only assume that on the other side now he is back to being his original self and for that I am grateful. But I want to make this clear to save his reputation that he did not turn into a callous addict and abandoned his family. The heart surgery changed his chemical dynamic and his brain chemistry as well.” He went on to say that 30% of people who have this type of surgery done become suicidally depressed.

  6. Quick disagreement: though the Popeye movie has many salutes to the animated cartoons, it also draws on the comic strip, bringing in a few characters that never made it to cartoons, like Geezil and Rough House the Chef.

Comments are closed.