There are two schools of thought when it comes to celebrity death and we’ll deal with the appropriate one first; the logical “right side” of the brain…the one that is analytical and thoughtful and preventative and reasoning says that we need to understand that this person had a place in our lives because of the job they did and leave it at that. In certain cases we may feel more than attached to the person but understand that we are no closer to them in death than we ever were in life. I have not met, nor written of, spoken to, or really thought of the actor Robin Williams all that much…well any more than your average ex-blockbuster employee would after devoting a large portion of their early employment years to watching and reviewing films. It’s perfectly reasonable for me to detach myself from the death of a public figure based on the fact that I’ve always separated myself from the emotional attachment these actors and films provide us and decide to view them in a technical sense; honoring their skill and gift rather than allowing myself to actually “feel” something on or off camera.
That’s the one school of thought.
The other school of thought is whatever happened to me when I found out that Robin Williams had passed away – and at this moment it looks to be suicide. Putting the suicide aspect aside for now, I found myself upset; genuinely upset as if someone very personal and close to me had just died.
I can’t think of a greater achievement, not just as an actor, but as a human being than affecting someone the way his death effected me. It’s an honest sadness that I’ve never felt towards someone I’ve never met.
The right side of my brain justifies my sadness as losing an actor who is unmatched in his skill and mark in cinema history, someone who literally has no equal…but I think it’s more than that.
I think, like so many of us do, that Robin Williams was a staple in the creation of who we are, the films he chose to do and the characters he decided to portray weren’t “him,” but for whatever reason the variety and scope of what he accomplished touched more lives then I’m guessing he intended to touch.
Tonight, though I knew I’d blubber like a baby, I watched “What Dreams May Come,” one of my absolute favourite Robin Williams movie, not just because I wanted to watch something that reminded me of how important he was but because like so many others who felt they had a strange personal connection to someone they never met, I wanted to say goodbye and as horrible as it sounds I needed to see him in a film that reflected and showed his….err…um…. “passing.”
Call it morbid, call it odd; but it felt right.
National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-8255