Robin Williams on Good Morning Vietnam movie poster.
BALTIMORE— The death of Robin Williams continues to generate so much sorrow across the globe. Many have continued to wonder why someone who gave so much joy could be so sad. As many continue to build memorials across the globe to remember the life of this great actor and comedian, many of his colleagues on Broadway are also remembering him. Last Tuesday after the performance of the Broadway musical version of Aladdin, the cast got together to celebrate and pay tribute to late Robin Williams, who did the voice over for the Genie in the 1992 Disney film of the same title.
The tribute was led by James Iglehart who won a Tony in June for his role as Genie in the Broadway version of Aladdin. In a sing along of Friend Like Me, the cast invited audience to join them in remembering the life and career of this great artist, who made everyone happy but carried the burden of sadness in his soul. To make it easy for everyone to participate, the Playbills for the night’s performance was stuffed with Friend Like Me’s lyrics. The tribute was heartfelt and touching.
William’s sudden death continues to be a shock to family, friends and fans across the globe. For many years, Williams battled what he and many others have described as his “demons.” Addiction and depression were Williams’s demons, and he waged endless wars against them. He was not only open about the challenges he faced in combating the fearless foes, he was also clear about the impact of alcohol addiction and severe depression on his work.
For a while, it seemed Williams would beat the alcoholic addiction and depression. However, after years of sobriety he relapsed in 2006. But even then, Robin Williams continued to stare the demons in the face. He knew that depression and addiction were real diseases that must be confronted with every tool known to man, and he was unflinching in the quest to deal with them. Early this year, it was reported that Williams was reentering rehab to “fine-tune and focus on his continued commitment” to sobriety. He was that committed.
Sadly, Williams lost the battle to the demons that tormented him for so many years. On August 11, the comedic actor celebrated for his film and stage work took his own life at his home in Tiburon, California, reportedly from suicide. He was 63 years old. Robin Williams has a long list of career credits, including Good Morning Vietnam, One Hour Photo, Dead Poet Society, World’s Greatest Dad, Good Will Hunting, What Dreams May Come, and Mrs. Doubtfire, amongst many others.
What is clear from the death of Williams’s is that depression and addiction are powerful diseases that must be adequately dealt with. Clearly, depression is an affliction that does not recognize status. From celebrity to actors and the poor, depression has straddled boundaries. Just like Williams, Philip Seymour Hoffman battle depression and lost. Of course, there are many others who have lost their battle with depression and addiction that will take days to list here. What is important is that depression is real and should be taken seriously. Every effort must be made to address it as soon as it is detected.
The discussions on news, Twitter, Facebook and other social media about the circumstances of Williams death is already inspiring others to talk about and share their struggles with severe depression. According to National Institute of Mental Health, almost 40, 000 Americans die by suicide, more than those who die by homicide. For many who suffer from severe depression, there are several signs. Beyond withdrawal from everyday activities, many indulge in self-harm, including cutting themselves.
Artcentron celebrates the life and career of Robin Williams not just because of the job he brought to many people, but also because in spite of the “demons” that tormented him for years, he continually brought his best to all his work. This is why he was such an exceptional and successful artist. While Robin Williams will be truly missed, it is important not to forget that addition and depression are afflictions that must be adequately treated.
Robin Williams won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor in Good Will Hunting. The American drama directed by Gus Van Sant starred Robin Williams, Matt Damon, Minnie Driver, Ben Affleck, and Stellan Skarsgard. Written by Ben Affleck and Matt Damon, the move was nominated for nine Academy Awards in 1997. Along with Robin Williams Best Supporting Actor Award, it also won for Best Original Play.
Hook, an American fantasy adventure directed by Steven Spielberg stars Robin Williams as Peter Pan. Written by James V. Hart and Malia Scotch Marmo, the movie also features Bob Hoskins, Dustin Hoffman, Julia Roberts, Bob Hoskins and Caroline Goodall.