This was originally going to be a Random Thoughts article but I realized I have to much to put in so made it a tribute.
We were all saddened at the new we received just about 24 hours ago (as I type this) regarding Robin Williams. Even more shocking than his death was how he died. At first, I wasnâ€™t going to do a tribute article because, well, he was never my favorite comedian. Donâ€™t get me wrong, he was a brilliant comedian and a genius at improve. But he was lower on my list when I grew up. But then I decided there were three things I had to talk about, and that is what we will do today.
Before I begin I am only noting the works I have actually seen. Therefore some his great stuff will be absent. I am sure they were amazing but this is about the stuff I did see.
I noticed in the tributes (and I would be lying if I said I saw all) they neglect the TV work Williams did. Robin Williams did a ton of television, and here is a list of my favorites:
Mork & Mindy. Duh. No one is forgetting this one but I had to mention it. This was the show which made Williams a young star with his crazy improv.
Happy Days. Of course, Mork was a spin-off of this show. If youâ€™ve never seen the episode he first appeared, find it somewhere. It is one of the funniest half hours anywhere.
The Tonight Show. Need I mention how many times he appeared and was always hilarious. And yes ge was also on Letterman, Conan, and pretty much everything else.
Friends. Yeah this was a stunt to push for the new film â€œFatherâ€™s Dayâ€, but Williams and Billy Crystal appeared in the teaser of one episode. It was probably the funniest thing in the episode.
Carol, Carl, Whoopi and Robin. Oh my friends, you have to see this. This was a variety special hosted by Carol Burnett. The highlight being a funeral sketch with Robin Williams as an inappropriate mourner. The legend is they did the sketch twice, once as written and the second time letting Williams improv. Itâ€™s pure classic and won Williams an Emmy award. It seemed inappropriate to link to it considering what happened actually to Williams, but it is on YouTube if you want to check it out and I highly recommend it. It is Robin Williams at his best.
Comic Relief. And how could I not mention these telethons? Williams along with Whoopi Goldberg and Billy Crystal did several of these to raise money for homeless. Of course it featured dozens of comedians but Williams was always one of the stand outs.
Saturday Night Live. The younger folks may not remember this but Williams hosted this show several times. In fact I had the VHS copy of The Best of Robin Williams. It was great and I watched it many times. I could do a whole article just on this, and he also appeared in the 15th Anniversary Special.
The Earth Day Special. You may remember my article on this last year and Williams was front and center as â€œEverymanâ€. In fact it was something he did here which made me dislike Williams for a time, but thatâ€™s another story.
Dame Ednaâ€™s Hollywood. Anyone remember this one? I have it on tape if you donâ€™t
Sesame Street. Yeah Williams did a few these. One involved showing Elmo how many things you can do with a stick simply by using your imagination. Classic.
The Golden Globes. In 1998 Christine Lahti won for Best Actress in a TV Drama. Why am I bringing this up? When her name was called at the awards, she was in the bathroom. No joke, and Williams took it upon himself to jump on the stage and stall with some improv. A small but brilliant moment.
Who’s Line Is It Anyway. I hated this show, but checked out this clip online Let’s see, an improv show and Robin Williams…nah could never work. WATCH THE CLIPS!
Law & Order. I never saw this one, but wish I had. He is on this show and is not funny. It really shows off his dramatic side. Chilling.
I am leaving a lot off, including his live show at the Metropolitan Opera, but weâ€™ll be here all day. I think I made my point.
The second thing I wanted to discuss was the movies he was in that I have seen. Some were good, some were not as good. But Williams was always worth it. Again, only lsiting the fllms I have watched working from most recent down.
Night at the Museum. Yeah I never watched it per se. I did see Film Brainâ€™s review of the sequel. I felt I had to mention Williams awesome jot as Theodore Roosevelt.
Bicentennial Man. Sadly I have say that this is one of the worst movies I ever saw. It is so boring, but Williams wasnâ€™t bad in it. Itâ€™s about a robot who wants to be humanâ€¦next.
Patch Adams. Yeah this is an example of Williams trying really hard. The problem with this movie isnâ€™t the acting, itâ€™s the awful script which just turns this great guy into a goof ball.
Good Will Hunting.Well, I am cheating because I only saw clips of Good Will Hunting. Robin Williams won the Academy Award and after watching the clips…I totally get it. Amazing acting by him in this.
Flubber. Willaims was perfectly cast in this role to bad he was once again the victim of a bad script. What else can I say?
Jack. Ok I promise we will get to the good movies! This one was awful, and I could be here all day with this one. Whatâ€™s that? It was the directorâ€™s fault? I have no problem with that.
Jumanji. Now weâ€™re talking! This movie was just goody fun. Sure it made no sense really, but I enjoyed watching it.
Nine Months. The movie everyone forget he was in. Including me. This was a Hugh Grant comedy and Williams basically has a cameo as the gynecologist. Know what? He was the funniest thing in the film.
Mrs. Doubtfire. I really liked this movie. Does it have its problems? Sure. It can be a little heavy handed at times not to mention contrived and ridiculous. But the fun parts are a lot of fun and this is a movie I could watch over and over again.
TOYS.When this was coming out Williams really pushed it, I think he was proud of it. Too bad itâ€™s a confusing mess of a movie. I still have no idea what the heck was going on in it.
Alaadin. Oh hell yes! Williams was pitch perfect as the Genie. We didnâ€™t even care that most of what he said made no sense given the time period. It was funny as hell and the Genie is one of the best loved Disney characters to this day. As I said on MovieFan’s post, I also loved his quieter scene with Aladdin, you could really see the friendship they shared.
Hook. Steven Spielberg directed and some would say that it really shows. I liked this movie and the way Williams plays Peter. You totally buy him when he is a jerk and then later when he rediscovers the kid inside. Just a very strong performance here.
The Fisher King. Williams plays a homeless man who lost his sense after his wife was brutally killed in front of him. This movie has its funny moments but for the most part is serious. It is a very well told story and Iâ€™m glad that I finally saw it. Williams does an fantastic job being convincing in his portrayal of a normal guy pushed over the edge.
Awakenings.Williams totally lost himself in this role, and his work here is just amazing. How someone who could be so funny can also do heavy drama will always fascinate me. Robert DeNiro is the star but Williamsâ€™s performance should not be ignored.
Dead Poets Society.I decided that it was time to see this it been off my radar for years. And? I am kind of mixed about it. It was kind of slow at parts but Williams was top notch and the movie did a good job of keeping me interested which is impressive considering how much I hate poetry. But it while there were things I liked there were other things I didn’t. I am glad that I finally watched it. It is a very solid film and I see why it has been so regarded all these years.
Good Morning, Vietnam. Iâ€™ve talked before about how I got hooked by the ads which made this sound like a comedy romp. Not quite. But Williams is awesome here and handles the funny moments just as good as he does the serious oneâ€™s. I should mention that he took the catchphrase from this movie into the real world use by doing USO shows all over the globe.
Popeye. Finally, we end on one of his earliest films. And itâ€™s not the best. It is quite boring. But give Williams credit he really captures the spirit of Popeye and I can find no fault in that.
Whew. And there are plenty I missed because Iâ€™ve never seen them!Â I just know after I publish this I will remember five other appearances I’ll wish I had mentioned. What were your favorite moments?
The final reason for doing this article is to talk about how Robin Williams died. He had been suffering from bipolar depression for some time, and according to reports the depression had been very bad lately. I do suffer from depression, but it is mild. That doesnâ€™t mean when I hit a low it doesnâ€™t hurt, it makes me moody and miserable and hating everything. But it is mild so I donâ€™t take meds and it usually fades. I can only imagine what it is like for people who suffer from Major Depression. The fact that Willaims he had to take his life is beyond my ability to comprehend. However, if anything good can come from this I just hope that people will become more aware of what depression is. It is not a bad day, it is not someone being â€œnegativeâ€. Telling them to get over it isnâ€™t the answer. Itâ€™s an illness, and even to this day many refuse to see it as that. I wish that would change so that the people who suffer from this condition can stop feeling ashamed, and get the treatment they need. Depression is a disease and we need to stop pretending that it is not.
Thatâ€™s my tribute to one of the finest actors/comedianâ€™s I ever saw. He was around and for my whole lifetime which I am fortunate for. But he was one of a kind and it saddens me that I will never see him again except for his excellent legacy he left us. In fact, Larry King said it best last night. I leave you with the quote he paraphrased from Hamlet.
He was a man, take him for all in all, I shall not look upon his like again. (1.2)