Friday, August 15, 2014

The Many Dimensions Of Robin Williams

I've been on an on-again, off-again fan of Robin Williams since I first saw him playing Mork the alien on Happy Days before spinning off into Mork & Mindy, way back in my adolescent days.  I loved him in Awakenings, Dead Poets Society and Goodwill Hunting, though at other times his schtick would completely take me out of a film.

Vicki and I were eating dinner at Crabby Joe's this week when I looked up and saw the TV screen showing CNN with the banner, "Breaking News: Robin Williams Dead at 63."  I actually said, "What the Hell?" to Vicki then, which was kind of cruel as she couldn't see what I was looking at.  Within minutes, of course, incredulity turned to realization and sadness, as usually happens in these situations.

In the wake of his death, we've learned all kinds of things that most of us would prefer to have never learned, such as the fact that one of the funniest people on the planet suffered from deep bouts of depression, and that his death was likely a suicide.  Maybe something good will come of it, though, as mental health is a topic that desperately needs to be discussed more and stigmatized less.

On a more positive note, I saw this wonderful article today, in which it's revealed that Mr. Williams required that all events and jobs that wanted to book him also commit to hiring a certain number of homeless people to work on it, as well.  Imagine that: a celebrity who made it a condition of his employment that some of the less fortunate members of society also benefit.  And considering that I've never heard this before now, I'm guessing he didn't exactly broadcast the fact, either.  Wow.  That's a good man for you.

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