Coming from a performing background I grew up in an environment where stars such as Robin Williams were looked up to and respected for what they achieved. The way they honed in on their craft and how they faced each and every moment entertaining, taking the time to make the world a happier, brighter place.
We grew up watching Williams in movies like Hook, Flubber and Jumanji. We regularly quote characters such as Fender from Robots, Lovelace and Ramon from Happy Feet and as evidenced by our newsfeed yesterday the Genie from Aladdin. The moments that captured us from the Dead Poets Society, to Patch Adams, to Good Will Hunting. Performers create joy and a moment of escapism for an audience.
As I sit here writing this, news is flooding in that several TV channels are changing their programming schedules over the next few nights to accommodate viewers by issuing tributes to the acting legend. We just watched Mrs. Doubtfire, a movie I’ve seen six times over the past few months and a film that had just received the green light for a sequel.
As I watched Williams in Mrs. Doubtfire I couldn’t help but think of a friend from High School. Robin Williams is her hero, his performance style and the techniques he uses are exactly what she studied in high school and grasped onto to grow as a performer. I’m never going to forget the teachers scrambling through scripts trying to figure out what she was doing as she ad-libbed, as she improvised on the spot. Much like her role model. Williams has left a legacy. I keep hearing, there will never be someone like him again. That may be the case, but the foundations he set for actors, comedians, performers and entertainers cannot be broken.
We can see the way he touched peoples lives, not just his family and friends but to the people who opened their homes and watched him every episode on Happy Days, Mork & Mindy and The Crazy Ones, his performances in films such as Good Morning, Vietnam, Awakenings, FernGully: The Last Rainforest, Hamlet, A.I. Artificial Intelligence, Popeye, RV, Man of the Year, August Rush and who can forget his recurring role in both Night at the Museum films.
Two more films are due to be released later on in the year Merry Friggen’ Christmas, where Williams stars as Mitch, and the third instalment to the Night at the Museum franchise, Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb. We all have our memories and favourite characters. I am fortunate enough to be able to say that his films have enabled me to create strong bonds with friends and family and for that I am grateful. He inspired generations, his comedic genius brightened our days and we are thankful for the laughs we had along the way.