by BRIANNA SICILIANO Social Media Coordinator
Robin Williams was a comedian and actor like no other. He brought laughter and smiles to faces across the country, and now, we are all forced to say goodbye. At the young age of 63, Robin Williams committed suicide on Monday, August 11 in his California home.
In Chicago, Illinois on July 21, 1951, a comedic genius was born. As a child, Williams was bullied for being chubby, and spent most of his childhood playing alone in his family’s home to avoid torment. He eventually overcame his overweight label and joined the wrestling and track teams. It was then that he realized that he had the ability to make other children laugh. Bringing laughter to others helped Williams gain respect.
Williams’ father took early retirement, and the family moved to California. After graduating from high school in 1969, Williams attended Claremont Men’s College where he studied political science, played soccer, and took classes for improvisation.
Eventually, Williams left Claremont and enrolled at the College of Marin to study acting. While there, he won a full scholarship to the famous Juilliard School in New York City. There he met Christopher Reeve (who he was great friends with until Reeves’ death in 2004) and Valerie Velardi (Williams’ first wife).
In his spare time, Williams practiced stand-up comedy. Over time, he realized that comedy was going to be the best career path for him to follow. Once he left Juilliard and made his way to Los Angeles, Williams’ success began.
His big break was when Garry Marshall, the creator of the hugely popular television program “Happy Days,” hired him. Williams’ performance as Mork from the planet Ork was so incredible, a new show was created for him. “Mork and Mindy” was a hit, and his performance earned Williams his first Golden Globe win in 1979.
“Robin Williams reached out to people, no matter where he was or what he was doing. When I hear his name, I think of Aladdin and Mrs. Doubtfire, the two movies I remember him the most from. He had something special about him that made him stand out, in a good way of course,” said senior Alexa Caffery.
Mr. Williams had some major downfalls in the beginning of his career; he became addicted to substances like alcohol and cocaine. Williams did manage to sober up and once he did, he was able to create some of the best work of his lifetime. He shined in films like, “Good Morning, Vietnam,” “Dead Poets Society,” “Good Will Hunting,” “Aladdin,” “Mrs. Doubtfire,” “The Birdcage,” and “Jumanji.”
“Robin Williams was a huge part of my childhood. When I was seven, I moved to a new school, and in the after school program, the first movie I was shown was Jumanji. During the movie, a lot of us seven year olds huddled up with each other because of our mutual fears for certain animals. Because of Robin Williams’ genius acting, I transformed from a new kid without friends to a child who had tons of friends in the matter of minutes. Thanks, Mr. Williams, for helping me make friends. Rest in peace,” said junior Sahithi Karingula.
Williams was able to remain clean for 20 years before relapsing. In 2006, Williams entered rehab for the first time publicly. He returned to his movie-making and comedy acts as quickly as he could, and films like “RV,” “License to Wed,” and “Night at the Museum” were released.
In 2009, Williams underwent open-heart surgery. Major heart surgery often leaves patients with depression, and Williams was, unfortunately, no exception.
Mr. Williams hid his depression very well; he continued to work on his acting and comedy up until the last weeks of his life. He was a very successful man who was able to make everyone happy–everyone but himself.
Within this upcoming year, three films that Williams starred in will be released, including “Boulevard” where he plays Nolan Mack, “Merry Friggin’ Christmas” where he plays Mitch, and “Night at the Museum 3” in which he plays Theodore Roosevelt.
When Williams passed away, he thought that he was only leaving behind his three children, wife, and other family members and friends. What he did not realize, though, was that he was leaving a world full of people who absolutely adored him.
Robin Williams is a legend who will be missed dearly.
What was your favorite comedic act, movie, interview, or television show of his? How has Mr. Williams impacted your life?