2014 has been the saddest year for celebrity deaths that I can remember. Philip Seymour Hoffman, Harold Ramis, Bob Hoskins, Mickey Rooney, Shirley Temple, James Rebhorn, Pete Seeger, and James Avery are among those we lost this year, and now another great talent has joined their ranks. Robin Williams has died, having apparently committed suicide.
I’ve said this before on The Back Row, when Leslie Neilsen died. I’m not a big crier. I don’t get weepy at the movies. It’s rare that you’ll see me shed tears, but I can never hold them back when someone who has made me laugh so much and so hard passes away. Leslie Neilsen was a comedy legend to me, but admittedly his style of deadpan spoof humour was a little niche. Not everyone enjoys good parody the way I do. Robin Williams, on the other hand, was universally beloved. He could play to any audience, whether it was doing adult humour in his stand-up comedy act…
…doing fun-for-the-whole family improv on Whose Line Is It Anyway?…
…or being the voice of ultimate, fun-loving energy in Aladdin or Ferngully.
Although he was renowned for being one of the funniest people on the planet, Williams struggled with depression, drug addiction, and alcoholism. Many people suspect that it was a recent relapse combined with depression that lead Mr. Williams to take his own life. It is so sad to think that a person who appeared so happy, and who brought so much joy to so many, would struggle with a deep and incurable sadness. If you know anyone who is struggling with depression, talk to them. Help them. Don’t lose them.
With all this sadness surrounding Williams’ death, though, it’s important to remember the joy he brought to all of us. Rest in Peace, Robin Williams. Genie, you’re free.