Robin Williams will always be remembered for his manic, stream-of-consciousness stand-up comedy. Williams’s brain appeared to operate at light speed, and he could entertain a room without even having prepared material. Beyond that, Williams was a skilled actor both in comedy and drama.
Robin Williams was also tortured and depressed. Most truly great comics are dark and often depressed. The best comedy often comes from dark places inside the comedian’s mind. From Bill Hicks to Greg Giraldo, true brilliance is often rooted in extreme darkness.
Robin Williams appeared to have everything to live for. Despite his cocaine-fueled act in the 70s and 80s, Williams emerged from the other side of addiction as a sober, wiser man. His sobriety didn’t affect his comedy. He was still able to jump off on a rant or tangent at any given moment and have audiences in stitches.
Robin Williams suffered from an extremely rare neurological disorder called Lewy Body Dementia. It is most often misdiagnosed as dementia, and it is so rare there is no treatment. Essentially, Williams’s pleasure center in his brain was so damaged that he was physically incapable of feeling happiness. For a man that brought so much to so many people, it was a particularly cruel disease.
When Robin Williams committed suicide on August 11, 2014, it shocked the world. It’s not as if Williams was still struggling with addiction. He was still wildly successful and was on the heels of a well-received broadcast television sitcom, his first since his groundbreaking turn as “Mork” in “Mork and Mindy” way back in the 70s.
William’s pathology report at the time said: “It is important to note that patients with diffuse Lewy Body Dementia frequently present with Parkinsonian motor symptoms and … depression and hallucinations.”
William’s demons were so real to him that he sadly escaped the only way he could. Years after his death, his wife and kids have worked to deal with his death and raise awareness for his condition.
On the anniversary of his death, his son Zak posted heartfelt tributes to his late father on social media. Zak Williams recreated a famous picture of his father in khaki shorts and t-shirt on the tennis court to commemorate his passing in humorous style.
Zak Williams said:“Dad, on the 9th anniversary of your passing, I’m remembering you for your most excellent fashion choices. These days are always hard and I love remembering you for being so very, very YOU. Love you so much!”
Zak Williams, 40, is an actor himself, and he regularly shares tributes to his late father. On what would have been William’s 72nd birthday, Zak Williams posted a picture of his father from his smash hit “: Good Morning Vietnam” and stated: “Happy 72nd, Dad! Was remembering how much I used to love that look you’d give. That look with a mischievous, loving grin that your friends and loved ones knew so well. Joyous and curious and wondrous. Miss you and love you forever!”
Robin Williams was a father to three children, with Zac being the oldest. He was a tortured artist that brought joy and laughter to so many, but his demons and his neurologic condition couldn’t be overcome. It would have been interesting to see how Williams would have handled today’s sensitive climate in terms of comedy, but you can be sure he would have made people laugh regardless of the criticism from the left.
Featured image screen grab from embedded YouTube video
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