This afternoon came the unexpected, sad news that Robin Williams has passed on.
Williams' passing is all the more tragic as he apparently ended his own life. What a terrible irony that someone who made so many people smile suffered inwardly to such an extent.
His death is felt by those of all ages, from those of us who remember him as Mork in the '70s to Disney fans to those who appreciate his other film and television work. Celebrity passings are, of course, not uncommon, but I have to say this one really shocked.
HAPPY DAYS. His performance was so wild and completely unexpected, our entire family was laughing to the point of tears, while also saying "Who is this?!"
I don't think I ever missed MORK & MINDY, which ran from 1978 to 1982. He and costar Pam Dawber (Mrs. Mark Harmon for the last 27 years) were charmers, and I especially appreciated that, within the confines of MORK & MINDY, Williams was hilarious while also keeping the humor clean.
Tonight Dawber, who recently reunited with Williams on an episode of THE CRAZY ONES, issued a statement saying "I am completely and totally devastated. What more can be said?!"
Williams gained new fans through his voicing of the Genie in Disney's ALADDIN (1992), which was my oldest daughter's favorite Disney film as a child. I just saw it again this spring, at a Disneyland sing-a-long screening, and admired Williams' incredibly funny performance all over again. The ability of Williams and the animators to combine talents and get that wild persona on the screen in a manner which fits the story so well is quite remarkable. No matter how many times you see it, it makes you laugh.
While I have been most interested in the early, family-oriented aspects of his career, Robin Williams was also a talented dramatic actor, with a Best Supporting Actor Oscar and three additional nominations to his credit in a long career of considerable depth and range.
A very sad loss of a remarkable performer.
Update: Robin Williams: A Chance Meeting Remembered.