Hello, I’m Leah G. Alfonso. I write so that I may speak.
I have to admit, this is a hard week for me to be a blogger. Earlier this week, Robin Williams was found dead in his home, supposedly of suicide. On one hand, Robin Williams was the very first celebrity I had ever heard of, as well as one of my favorites. On the other hand, depression is a touchy subject for me. A lot of people have shared their own thoughts about depression and suicide since his death. It might be easy for me to jump on the wagon and share my opinions on the subject, but I’m not going to for two reasons. 1: So many people have talked about it in the last week that I don’t think I can say anything that hasn’t already been said. And 2: While I agree that depression and suicide should be talked about, that’s not why we should remember Robin Williams.
We should remember Robin Williams because of his passion. I can’t name a single person who thought Robin Williams was bad at what he did, and there’s a good reason for it. He was 100% invested in his work, both as an actor and as a comedian. I’ll admit I’ve only seen two of his stand-ups; one on Whose Line is it Anyway? and one when he was a guest star on a special Idol Gives Back episode in 2008. But in both scenarios, he had so much energy in his performances. He just looked so happy to be there, making people laugh, and his energy was contagious. And as far as his acting career goes, he appeared in his fair share of both good and bad movies. But even in his bad movies, no one can say that he just gave enough to make a passable performance. He gave it his all every time he showed up to act, no matter what.
We should remember Robin Williams because of his heart. His talents filled us with pride, joy, and laughter, which I think was what he intended. He also supported charities like Comic Relief, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, etc. (for more on Robin Williams’ charity work, click here: http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/envelope/cotown/la-et-ct-robin-williams-charity-work-20140811-story.html). When he died, many of his fans donated to some of his favorite charities out of respect for him. And if his death was the catalyst to get people talking about a complicated topic like depression and suicide, maybe some good can come of such tragedy.
We should remember Robin Williams because, to put it simply, there’s only one Robin Williams. The Willy Wonka quote “A little nonsense now and then is relished by the wisest men” can only be said of a handful of people, people who were brave enough and smart enough to stay true to who they were in a world that encourages conformity and popularity for all the wrong reasons. People who appreciate taking chances, even if they don’t always pay off. Robin Williams was one of those people. Not only did he create his own identity, one that’s nearly impossible to recreate, but he also encouraged us to do the same. One of his finest moments was in a little comedy bit known as ‘Little Spark of Madness,’ which I’ve inserted a link to at the end of this post. He opens with his usual slew of wit, which of course entertains the audience. But then he takes a moment to get serious and start talking about something he calls a little spark of madness. He says, “You’ve got to be crazy. It’s too late to be sane. You’re only given a little spark of madness. If you lose that, you have nothing. From me to you, don’t ever lose that because it keeps you alive.” And the fact that everyone was silent during that speech spoke volumes.
Now, I don’t know what his story is. Since they’re still investigating his death, it might be too soon to tell if he was depressed and he did kill himself. Or maybe that is what happened, I don’t know. But what I do know is that he was the first celebrity that, for me, was given a name during my childhood. He was funny, he was smart, he was dedicated, he was compassionate, and he was his own person. And he will be missed for all of those reasons.
Until next time, this is Leah G. Alfonso saying “We love you, Robin Williams.”
Photo source: http://disney.wikia.com/wiki/Robin_Williams