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Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Mork Has Left the Planet: Personal Reflections on Robin Williams

When I first heard the news of Robin Williams' death yesterday, over the Internet, I thought it would surely turn out to be another on-line celeb-death hoax. Unfortunately, I was assured by an article in Variety that it was indeed real. And, like the rest of the world, I was shocked and dismayed that this comic genius -- who was also a solid serious actor -- had committed suicide.

It is often said that comedy comes from pain; that it is the flip side of tragedy. In my darkest hour, I've often told friends the reason I didn't kill myself is that I just have a hard time committing to anything.

Robin's improvisational skills were top-notch, even if I frequently found his stand-up comedy too manic. It made me antsy rather than making me laugh. But I admired his more disciplined comic acting from tv's Mork and Mindy (his breakthrough) to Popeye, Good Morning, Viet Nam, Dead Poets Society, Mrs Doubtfire, Jumanji, The Birdcage and numerous other films I've enjoyed.

Robin Williams' suicide shines a light on the issue of clinical depression, mental health and the effective treatment of a psychological disorder that can make the most successful people feel worthless. R.I.P., Robin Williams.

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