On August 11, 2014, Mr. Robin Williams passed away after a long battle with addiction and depression. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences issued the following tweet at 9.56 p.m., Monday:
Robin Williams will undoubtedly go down in history as one of America’s greatest comedians and actors. However, upon hearing the news of his passing last night, my memory was met with more than classic movies or charismatic award speeches. I fell in love with Robin Williams because of his undeniable spark for life.
There is an old comedy show that ran on ABC and ABC Family from 1998-2007 entitled "Whose Line is it Anyway?" Hosted by Drew Carey, the improv show boasted a talented ensemble of four comedians.
The show hosted many celebrity guests from Kathy Griffin to Whoopi Goldberg, yet none touched my heart quite like Robin Williams. I distinctly remember watching this episode and specifically, this scene. At the beginning of this YouTube clip, we see Robin Williams, a grown man running around stage, pressing the noise making buttons, and behaving with such a pure, childhood innocence. It’s a kind of contagious joy.
For the past two nights, I’ve heard the same proclamation replayed over and over again from friends and family:
“Celebrity deaths don’t really affect me that much, but this is so, so sad.”
It does seem, perhaps, a bit strange to mourn the death of someone we have never met. Yet in regards to someone like Mr. Williams, his persona was enough to make us all feel as though we knew him. He felt like a father, a mentor, and a friend. He was someone that, though we would never meet, many of us felt a personal connection too. I suppose as I ramble on, words are starting to fail me. I find it best, at this point, to end with an open letter.
Dear Mr. Williams:
Thank you for teaching me that it is okay to never grow up.
Thank you for encouraging me to hold on to a spark of creativity.
Thank you for showing me the importance of language and learning.
Thank you for reminding me that there is always someone on your side.
Thank you for believing in laughter, even when it was hard to find for yourself.
Thank you for bringing joy to countless people across the globe... but most importantly?
Thank you for being exactly who you are.
In Memory of Robin Williams
July 21, 1951 – August 11, 201