When Michael Jackson died, most of the western world wept. They clamored out for understanding. “Why? Why did he have to die?” even those who usually muttered under their breath fell silent, if only for a moment. That was Michael Jackson – a brilliant spectacle able to silence cynics and inspire others. It is through death that people are revealed. Jackson was a spectacle, Thatcher left few apathetic, Mandela inspired people to be peaceful but Williams was confusing.
Robin Williams is probably best know for our generation (those who are 20...ish) as Mrs Doubtfire or Genie from Aladdin. For previous generations he may be more recognisable from Mork and Mindy, The Dead Poet's Society or Good Morning Vietnam. It's because of this continued presence that he has become so influential.
Whereas Jackson had a sound that burnt through the ages, Williams was you're favourite pair of gloves.He makes you just that little bit warmer. He rarely jumped into the limelight but was always there to make you feel better. Granted the films that he made weren't always the best. Even Williams mocked 'PopEye' and 'The Bicentinial Man' but he kept on going and doing the best he could.
It was his erratic, hyperactive physical comedy paired with his lighting wit that made him stand out. That was how he became the spaceman Mork. That was his style of stand up and it is that which most people remember.
Over the last six days for me the most outrageous outcome of Williams' death has been the comments made by ignorant people in relation to his depression. Comments along the lines of 'why didn't he just snap out of it?'. Then after the reveal on Thursday of his early stages Parkinson's people seem to be accepting it more than they accepted depression.
It's likely that most people reading this will know about depression. That it's not just a bad mood. Depression is so immensely difficult to convey that it took a hour for my colleague to come up with a sentence that was 'the best we can do.' He told me that depression for him was 'the feeling of guilt for every failing in you're own life and others' which isn't an easy thing to shake off.
Robin Williams had a huge impact on me. He was the one who made me want to perform, he was the first actor I saw doing lots of silly voices, he was the first actor I saw dressed as a woman, he was the first actor I saw perform both comically and seriously in one film. If every person has a singular turning point in their lives, seeing him perform was mine. I just hope he didn't feel alone at the end.
This is a very difficult article to finish, not least of all because of my watery eyes, mostly because there are so many good lines Williams has said which sum up so many different things. But I’ll leave you with a line of mine.
When Michael Jackson died the world wept.
When Robin Williams died the world watched Mrs Doubtfire.