1992- I'm five. Aladdin comes out. It remains one of the earliest movie theatre memories I have, and one of the most beloved movies in my experience.
1993- I am in first grade. Euphegenia Doubtfire enters my life. I watch it so much the VHS tape breaks. I start doing voices and impressions even more than before.
1996- To the dismay of the parents of my fellow 9 year old classmates, I become obsessed with The Birdcage. When I perform Robin Williams' "Eclectic Celebration of Dance" in class one day, I face my first tough crowd.
1995-8 - A series of childhood favorites are released including Flubber, Jumanji and other 90's fare, all of which I adore.
Around this same time, I discover Mork's Happy Days reruns, The Adventures of Baron Munchausen, and other pieces of his earlier work. Whether an Alien or other-worldly king, Williams continues to make me roll with laughter and inspire my imagination.
Early 2000's - I am an adolescent. I discover Dead Poets Society, which makes me fall further in love with literature and passion and theatre. I decide to embrace failure instead of fear, and establish a deeply imbedded mentality to seize the day.
2007 - Good Will Hunting makes sense to me for the first time. Imperfections are the good stuff.
9:53 PM Tonight - I am 1 hour & 2 glasses of wine in to The Birdcage. I am devastated.
11:07 AM Tonight - I'm a bottle in and crying to Hook. I am feeling so. many. feelings.
Robin Williams is gone. He's off to Neverland.
Along with so many others who helped form my sense of humor and encouraged self assurance, Robin Williams made a lasting impact on me and countless others in my generation. He reminded us to be ourselves, to accept others, believe in magic & help those less fortunate.
His range from to demented to jubilant to haunting to impish covered the widest spectrum of the human condition. He could seamlessly move from subtle to manic with little more than a look. The shaded areas and complexities of his mind that led to his unfortunate passing also led to some of the many performances that we fell in love with.
He made us feel important and valuable and that we could believe in anything as long as we believed in ourselves. In this article by Paul F. Tomkins, he refers to us all as "Weird Little Kids (and Odd Adults for that matter)," and that's what we are. We're all weird little kids who found a kindred spirit in Robin's eccentric and engaging characters.
I've been startled at the phenomenal outpouring of emotion through the waves of the internet. There's something strangely unifying about experiencing grief in such a public and connected manner. And while I don't want to dwell on the cause of this loss, I hope this event increases the dialogue concerning mental health, and that people feel they can ask for help.
"You will have bad times, but they will always wake you up to the good stuff you weren’t paying attention to." - Robin Williams
We've lost an icon.
He is the nanny. The absent-minded professor. The therapist, the teacher, the clown. He is the boy who won't grow up. He is the Genie, the DJ, the King of the Moon. He is Garp. He is the captain.
"You're only given a little spark of madness, you mustn't lose it."
You were definitely Bangarang, Robin.
*For more remembrance: Listen to This Podcast , See some recent standup, his full LA Times obituary, along with The Many Faces of Robin Williams.