I remember the first time I saw Robin Williams on the big screen in “Good Morning Vietnam.”. Oh sure, I’d seen him acting all kooky and stuff as Mork on “Mork and Mindy” and I was expecting him to pull much of the same shenanigans here. The commercials had shown nearly as much with him mugging with the microphone… and of course there was that infamous bellow of his, “GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOD MORNINGGGGGGGGG VIETNAMMMMMMMMMM!” I left the theater thinking, “Holy cow… this guy can ACT!”
Over the decades, I saw an actor that could easily shift from comedy to drama to comedy again. Sure, sometimes his attempts at drama could come across as way too sappy, but this was a guy who was not afraid to bare his feelings on that big screen. He could have you in hysterics one second and then nearly weeping as you saw the pain behind his eyes. Let’s also not forget that he could do scary. “Insomnia” and “One Hour Photo”, anyone?
This was a man who out-Tootsied Dustin Hoffman in “Mrs. Doubtfire” and had us believing in Peter Pan again, but he was also someone who we could see following through on his promise to “end” Matt Damon in “Good Will Hunting”. He was never someone that we could pigeonhole in a certain role.
It was sad when CBS decided to end “The Crazy Ones” since I was hoping that Williams would at least be the former TV star who successfully returned to that medium, but both he and Michael J. Fox were left standing outside when the past television season ended. But he was still going to keep busy. There was supposed to be a “Mrs. Doubtfire 2”, which had all of us 80’s kids atwitter.
Like James Gandolfini and Philip Seymour Hoffman, we’re going to be seeing Williams in upcoming movies, including “A Night At The Museum 3”, which hardly seems like a fitting send-off, but life and circumstances rarely give us that. But what we can do learn from what Williams said in “Dead Poets Society”: Carpe – – hear it? – – Carpe, carpe diem, seize the day boys, make your lives extraordinary.
You seized a lot of days during your life, Robin.