R.I.P. Robin Williams, The Man With A Thousand Characters

Illustration for article titled R.I.P. Robin Williams, The Man With A Thousand Characters

Robin Williams—stand up comedian and beloved actor from Hook, Aladdin, Dead Poets Society and Mork & Mindy died today from an alleged suicide. He was 63.


According to a press release issued by Marin County Sheriff's Office Coroner's Division, Williams was found unconscious and not breathing this morning inside his home in Tiburon. The paramedics, police and fire department responded to a 9-1-1 call and arrived at the residence at 12:00 pm; Williams was pronounced dead shortly after their arrival. The Coroner's Division then released this statement, "At this time, the Sheriff's Office Coroner Division suspects the death to be a suicide due to asphyxia, but a comprehensive investigation must be completed before a final determination is made."

Williams' work is deeply engrained in the fantasy and scifi entertainment world. He was the starry-eyed alien Mork from Ork whose charm convinced the world that an egg could fly. That same charisma turned a 41-year-old man in tights into a fairy tale legend when he revitalized the Peter Pan myth in Hook. His innate whimsy launched the Disney blockbuster Aladdin, in which starred as the multifaceted voice of the Genie. Jumanji, FernGully, Night at the Museum, A.I., Toys, Robots—all of these films are absolutely infused with Williams' iconic, whirlwind stream of conscious humor. It was fast, it was relentless, it was funny. And that unique-to-Williams-alone style will live forever in the movies of our childhood.

His more serious work in What Dreams May Come, his Oscar-winning role in Good Will Hunting and the remarkable Dead Poets Society championed courage, something Williams demonstrated countless times on stage. His long career as a standup comedian was raw, uncut Williams. If Williams found sanctuary in fantasy roles, he bared it all on stage. His frenetic delivery was a relentless assault of joy, especially his early work. For better or worse, it never felt rehearsed, or contrived. It was a blunt impromptu look inside the mind of Williams.

But it wasn't without heart. Williams' 1978 Live Roxy ends his night of balcony climbing madness, impressions and salacious silliness with the thought, "You're only given a spark of madness. You mustn't lose it." He then pleaded with the audience to stay weird, and remain unique. Even at his zaniest, he was encouraging of the weirdness inside us all. Thank you for that. Our thoughts are with his family and loved ones. He will be missed.


Edgar Allan Bro

It's quite a strange feeling when someone like him dies. You know they can't be around forever, but they've been around your whole life.

I don't remember a time before Robin Williams. He was like an institution.