For some people, they had just lost their childhood hero. Others had lost the man who brought them smiles and laugher.
Along with this loss, the streets outside are filled with tears. Children have broken out in crying fits. Women weep into their friend's arms. Grown men kneel on the floor, sobbing.
The world is truly mourning.
For when a legend falls, he falls hard.
He was an American actor, a comedian, producer, screenwriter, gamer and children’s hero.
He spent most of his childhood years in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, US. There he attended the Detroit Country Day School. In his teen years, he moved to Woodacre, Marin County, US where went to Redwood High School, and later Claremont McKenna College. When he left Claremont he gained a scholarship at the extremely prestigious Juilliard School. In his first year at Juilliard School, he was one of only two students to be accepted into the school’s esteemed ‘Advanced Program’. The other student was Christopher Reeve.
Unknown to many people, Robin was an extremely shy child and teen, often having difficulty in social situations. His shyness was finally cured when he began studying acting and drama, a place he felt he naturally belonged. And rightly so.
Robin first rose to fame in his role as an alien called Mork, in the popular TV show, Mork & Mindy, which ran from 1978 until 1982.
After the TV show, he very quickly became an incredibly successful and popular comedian, leading him into the world of successful films, such as Good Morning Vietnam, Dead Poets Society and Good Will Hunting.
He was, and still is, one of the most decorated actors there has ever been, earning in his lifetime two Emmy Awards, four Golden Globe Awards, two Screen Actors Guild Awards and five Grammy Awards.
Marriages And Family
Robin married Valerie Velardi on June 4th 1978 and had a son Zachary Williams. However, Robin was not faithful, secretly seeing a cocktail waitress, Michelle Carter, in 1984. Michelle later contracted a herpes virus, blamed it on Robin and sued him. The case however was settled outside court and his wife, Valerie, divorced him in 1988.
On the 30th April 1989, Robin married his second wife, Marsha Graces, who was his son’s nanny and was already pregnant with his second child. They had two children together, a daughter called Zelda Rae (whom Robin, being an avid gamer, named after the computer game character, Zelda) and and a son named Cody.
In the month of March 2008, Marsha divorced Robin.
On October 23rd 2011, Robin again re-married. This time to a graphic designer, Susan Schneider.
Career And Charity
Ever since Robin entered the scene, his popularity and fame sky-rocketed. The man was a comedic genius, a wizard with dialects, an emotionally deep actor and a brilliantly charitable person.
He has starred in many successful roles, bring smiles, laugher and wows to millions of people. A selection of some of his best roles are:
Robin was a firm supporter of many charities and he was very well known for being a generous person.
He founded a the Windfall Foundation, which is an organisation that raises funds for other charities. During his 2010 comedy tour, he also donated 100% of the proceeds to a city in New Zealand to help with rebuilding after it was affected by an earthquake.
He was also a supporter of children's hospital charities and was well known to visit troops abroad to boost their morale.
"My children give me a great sense of wonder. Just to see them develop into these extraordinary human beings."
-- Robin Williams, 2013
The Final Curtain
Robin Williams fell into a negative spiral of alcoholism and drug abuse in the 1980′s. It took the death of one of his friends, John Belushi to shake Robin out of this spiral. The wake-up call led him to quit cold-turkey and remain sober, alcoholic free for two decades.
In the 2000′s, Robin admitted to relapsing, falling back onto the bottle. He was checked into rehab and treated for alcohol addiction. In an interview he said about his addiction: “It waits. It lays in wait for the time when you think, 'It's fine now, I'm OK.' Then, the next thing you know, it's not OK."
In 2014 he again checked into rehab, but denied that he had fallen back into the alcoholism trap, insisting that it was just a precautionary measure. Two months earlier, TV corporation CBS cancelled his then-new TV show, The Crazy Ones, after just one season.
Robin has also been battling severe depression, particularly during the last days of his life. It was also revealed that Robin was having money issues, despite being worth millions of US dollars. Much of the money he was making was spent paying alimony to his two ex-wives. He was desperately trying to sell his 600-acre home to raise the much needed funds.
On the 11th August 2014, a 911 call was received from Robin’s residence in Marin County, California near Tiburon, US. The caller, Robin’s personal assistant, explained that Robin was unconscious and was not breathing.
Emergency crews attended the scene at 11:55am (PDT). Robin Williams was pronounced dead at 12.02pm.
Robin Williams had committed suicide by hanging. The official cause of death is asphyxiation by hanging.
Robin had also cut his wrist several times with a pen knife.
"I lost my husband and my best friend, while the world lost one of its most beloved artists and beautiful human beings. I am utterly heartbroken."
-- Susan Schneider, 2014 (Robin's wife)
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He was a caring man, a funny man, a genius and a hero for many. He was the reason for many childhood smiles. He was the cause of global laugher. He brought people together in the best and the worst of times.
Though he was depressed, something he tried to hide from people, he never gave up being a beacon of happiness and hope for the people.
Robin has always been a very generous soul, he was always giving money away to people who needed it more than he did. But in the end, when he needed the money himself, nobody was there to help him. Robin was a victim of unnecessary modern-world stresses and the deep recession.
I am reminded by a line I once heard in a film called “The Watchmen“. It seems relevant to this sad death. The quote is:
Heard joke once: Man goes to doctor. Says he’s depressed. Says life seems harsh and cruel. Says he feels all alone in threatening world where what lies ahead is vague and uncertain. Doctor says, “Treatment is simple. Great clown Pagliacci is in town tonight. Go and see him. That should pick you up.” Man bursts into tears. Says “But Doctor… I am Pagliacci.” Good joke. Everybody laugh. Roll on snare drum. Curtains.
Goodbye Robin. Thank you for bringing laugher, cheer, happiness and hope to millions. Sorry that the world was so cruel to you in return.
Robin Williams will always be remembered as the caring funny-man he always was.
The world stopped on this day, and it mourned.
Legends may fall.
But they will never be forgotten.
"Robin Williams was an airman, a doctor, a genie, a nanny, a president, a professor, a bangarang Peter Pan, and everything in between. But he was one of a kind. He arrived in our lives as an alien - but he ended up touching every element of the human spirit. He made us laugh. He made us cry. He gave his immeasurable talent freely and generously to those who needed it most."
-- Barack Obama (2014)
Will you miss Robin Williams? How about sharing your favourite memory of him? Feel free to leave a comment.
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