Who can forget the unforgettable Mrs Doubtfire? Or the Bicentennial Man, Flubber and Jumanji? When Robin Williams donned the greasepaint, he did it with a purpose. It is one of life’s tragic ironies that the comedian and Academy Award-winning actor who made the world laugh should die in an apparent suicide. From his beginnings on the wildly successful Mork and Mindy TV show through to the classic Mrs. Doubtfire, the respected actor graced our screens for years. He imbued his performances with wild inventiveness and a manic energy, evident in the exuberance with which he yelled, “good morning, Vietnam” in the 1987 film with the same name.
For all the adulation that he received, Williams was a typical Hollywood showbiz artiste, starting with the fact that his ancestry included English, Welsh, Irish, Scottish, German and French backgrounds, demonstrating in himself America’s history as a nation of immigrants. He was also unable to resist the allurements of drugs and alcohol and several marriages. Through it all, he won the affection of his many equally celebrated colleagues and raised the question again by the manner of his death why wealth, success and fame are no guarantees against despair.
The death of a comedian is all the more poignant because it reminds the world how sadness lurks just below the contours of a smiling face and can exert an overwhelming influence on the mind at a moment which is known as the dark night of the soul. Another Hollywood celebrity who became a victim of the “dark night” a few years ago was Heath Ledger who claimed that his role as the Joker in The Dark Knight turned him into a psychopath. Unfortunately for the rest of the world, Williams has joined the list of those who lived the American dream but finally succumbed to the nightmare which is seemingly never far away from an otherwise blissful existence.