I have refused to read other blog posts or commentaries on Robin Williams until I finish this post, which, obviously, I just started writing. Not being the kind of person who generally takes a lot of time to ponder the loss of a celebrity I didn't know in person, this blog post is not my normal. Because I found that I was truly saddened at the loss of this man of great talent, I've decided to write my own brief memorial because Robin Williams is one of a handful of celebrities who used his talent for many good things. I've seen that there are posts out there focused on better understanding mental health as well as articles focusing on the way he died. I won't write about that. I considered taking a few other directions, but here is where I landed.
Robin Williams chose roles with careful scrutiny. He could perform well in nearly every genre of cinema, and he could work a crowd on stage too. He was probably one of the most talented men to ever grace the stage or screen. If you take a few moments to reflect on the roles he played, I would find it hard to believe that anyone could look at the career of this man and not see that he used his celebrity for good, even if your definition of good is narrow. Many of the roles he chose, even some of the most laughable roles, taught us hard life lessons. Some were simple lessons, but there is much to be learned from the films of Robin Williams that so many of us love. Off the top of my head, here are a few things worth remembering and learning from a celebrity who, in spite of being imperfect like the rest of us, did the best he knew how, to leave a legacy of great moments in his wake.
Mork and Mindy: Never take life too seriously. Laugh, and then laugh some more.
Good Morning, Vietnam: Corruption lies in the least obvious places. The good guys are sometimes the bad guys. Even in the darkest corner of the world, people need someone to help them smile.(Actually, all the lessons in this movie could probably be a series of blog posts).
Dead Poet's Society: The best educators teach outside the box and color outside of the lines, and their students become captivated by real, authentic learning.
Hook: Never forget where you came from. Don't work too hard. You're never too old to play. The good guys win in the end.
Aladdin: There are no quick-fixes in life. Freedom is never free.
Mrs. Doubtfire: Do whatever it takes to be an active and always present part of your child's life. No.matter.what.
RV: You can't fake it when it comes to your family, and, seriously, not just anyone should drive an RV.
Night at the Museum: Hard work and initiative always triumph. Study history. Okay, so maybe it was Teddy Roosevelt who taught these lessons, but, still, Robin chose to play the role.
August Rush: People are not always who they seem. Use discernment.
My favorites are his roles as Genie in Aladdin and Adrian Cronaur in Good Morning, Vietnam. There are so many more great roles and great moments in the life of Robin Williams. I choose not to pick him apart or to reflect on the way he died. I loved what he did for me and what his films will continue to do for the world.
Robin made me think.
Robin made me reflect.
Robin made me laugh.