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The whole world was shocked by the news that Robin Williams, all-time great comedian and performer, died at the age of 63 yesterday from an apparent suicide.
“An investigation into the cause, manner and circumstances of the death is currently underway by the Investigations and Coroner Divisions of the Sheriff’s Office,” a sheriff’s statement said. “Coroner Division suspects the death to be a suicide due to asphyxia, but a comprehensive investigation must be completed before a final determination is made.”
Since the news broke, the tweets and posts about Williams have been endless. His incredible generosity and kindness have been cited by numerous celebrity friends, and even President Barack Obama acknowledged the loss in a White House statement:
“Robin Williams was an airman, a doctor, a genie, a nanny, a president, a professor, a bangarang Peter Pan, and everything in between. But he was one of a kind. He arrived in our lives as an alien — but he ended up touching every element of the human spirit. He made us laugh. He made us cry. He gave his immeasurable talent freely and generously to those who needed it most — from our troops stationed abroad to the marginalized on our own streets.”
Williams had performed with the USO in both Iraq and Afghanistan.
Williams, a Julliard-trained performer, found his first big break in the form of Happy Days spinoff Mork and Mindy, on which he played the alien, Mork. During that same time, his stand-up comedy routine was taking off. He was known primarily as a funny man; however, he more than proved his dramatic acting chops by receiving four Oscar nominations in his lifetime: for Good Morning, Vietnam in 1987, Dead Poets Society in 1989, The Fisher King in 1991, and finally, for Good Will Hunting in 1997. It was his portrayal of psychologist Sean Maguire in Hunting that finally landed him a statue.
Other roles for which Williams was known include the Genie in Disney’s Aladdin (a role which eventually resulted in his induction as a “Disney Legend”); Alan Parrish in Jumanji; Armand Goldman in The Birdcage; an adult Peter Pan in Hook; and the titular Mrs. Doubtfire, a role he was set to reprise in a 2015 sequel to the 1993 hit.
His list of credits goes on and on, and there will be four more to add to the list. Williams appears in four films that are currently in post-production, including another installment in the Night at the Museum franchise, in which he plays Teddy Roosevelt.
According to both co-stars and audience members alike, Williams’ talent was nothing short of “genius.” Many of his most memorable performances were improvisations. Henry Winkler, aka “the Fonz” from Happy Days, claimed that from Williams’ first rehearsal as Mork, Winkler knew he was “in the presence of greatness.”
Williams was also known for his philanthropy. He was co-founder of the Windfall Organization and, along with Whoopi Goldberg and Billy Crystal, a host of Comic Relief, a charity which raises funds for the homeless.
According to his media reprensentative, Mara Buxbaum: “(Williams had) been battling severe depression of late.” His death is a tragedy for his family and fans and a reminder of a serious problem. If you or anyone you know is battling with depression or thoughts of suicide, please seek help by learning about symptoms and solutions on a site such as Help Guide, or contact the National Suicide Prevention Line at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
By Digital Film Academy Blog Manager Sara McDermott Jain.