“WHAT?!” I heard my mother from the family room. My ears perked up because my parents were acting really shocked by something. I thought it was someone messing up in Wheel of Fortune, which we watch every day during dinner. I shrugged it off, but my parents kept going and going. I left my room and called out from upstairs, asking what was going on. I expected something happened to my sisters who were out or this WOF player really messed up, but my mom’s answer left me in shock: “Robin Williams just died.” I was in shock for the rest of the night. I still am. Robin Williams, a legendary actor whose work was so familiar to me, has died. What made that moment harder was that I was actually taking a break from watching Aladdin and stopped before the Genie’s grand entrance.
Let me just say: I honestly am not surprised about Williams’s death. He went to rehab last month for his past alcoholic problems and I immediately thought of Glee star Cory Monteith, whose life ended the same way. Rehab to fix his problems, then boom: Gone like that that. I had a feeling the same thing was going to happen with Mr. Williams and I’m sad that my gut feeling came true.
His work that I am most familiar with is, of course the Disney nerd that I am, is Aladdin. I think this is the Robin Williams work that everyone is mostly familiar with because it’s a Disney movie like Jungle Book and Pinocchio. The Genie was always one of my favorite Disney sidekicks. Not only because how big of a role he was (Perhaps the biggest sidekick role in any Disney movie with Jiminy Cricket), but because of that big, loud voice and his fast, snappy one-liners and his crazy antics. And of course, who would forget Friend Like Me, a song that has “Disney” written all over it with Williams, stealing the show and lighting up the screen? My older sisters used to sing Prince Ali all of the time when we got home from school. I recently saw the spectacular Broadway production of Aladdin and I thought of James Monroe Iglehart, the actor who plays the Genie and won a Tony for it (and well-deserved, may I add!) when I heard the passing. I read in a interview that he is a huge Robin Williams fan and how he inspired Iglehart to play the Genie on Broadway, and how he was hoping for Williams to come and see him. Don’t worry, my friend, Williams will see you real soon.
Of course, Aladdin isn’t the only Williams movie I’ve seen. One of the my most beloved family moments is actually from one of his other works. My family and I went to Massachusetts in 2006, and we had a long, grumpy day (I forget why) in Boston. We all decided to stay there for the night and when we got in the room, we decided to watch a movie. What did we watched? RV. So, we spend all night, cuddled in bed and eating ice cream while watching Robin Williams (and one of my Broadway idols, Kristin Chenoweth) do his thing in RV. We all still talk about that moment.
2 (or 4 if you count the sequels) of the other works I’m most familiar with are the Happy Feet movies as a huge animation fan, and the Night of the Museum movies, which I really enjoy. Williams was hilarious as the Genie-sounding Ramone and the wise Lovelace and I wish the awful sequel was as good as the beautiful, first one. I owned the second Museum movie and he always did wonderful in his scenes as Theodore Roosevelt, looking just like him and having a wonderful voice for him. It’ll be sad to watch him in the final Museum movie, this December.
I also watched a little bit of Hook recently before falling asleep around 12:30 in the morning, and I remember watched a bit of Dead Poet’s Society in my freshman year of high school. We owned the 1997 Flubber, so my siblings and I watched that as kids. I haven’t seen the other Williams films, so I need to watch glimpse of some of them, especially his iconic Mrs. Doubtfire & his Oscar-winning performance in Good Will Hunting.
I am very pleased to read such positive stories about meeting and actually knowing Robin Williams in real life (not from a celebrity!), this morning. It’s great to read about a Hollywood actor who did not let the fame go into his head and remained a kind, generous soul. I am very sorry that his life ended in the way it did and I am surprised how huge his death is. I never knew how much he touched and impacted the world with his humor and class until sadly, now.
I really think that Robin is with our Maker now. I do not think God sends you to Hell for killing yourself. He knows how much you’ve been suffering, and he understands that. He won’t send you to more suffering if you’re a good person (Pslam 103:8). Yes, Robin did drugs and alcohol, but God knows what was in his heart and how good of a man he was. This has been a terrible year, in general. From James Avery (Technically, last year) to Shirley Temple (who was also a big part of my childhood) to Mickey Rooney to Ann B. Davis, and many, many more to finally, this unexpected death.
I’ll end this post with an amazing quote that Frozen actor Josh Gad has said about Robin Williams: “Well, today we’ve lost the clown. And now we’re left with the fools.” Couldn’t agree more, Olaf. Less the Kardashians, more people like Robin Williams, please!
Rest in peace, Robin Williams and thank you for everything! Genie, you’re free and gooooooooood niiiiggggghhhhhht, Vietnam!
Gad, Josh. “Olaf Remembers His Friend and Idol, the Genie.” USA Today. Gannett, 12 Aug. 2014. Web. 12 Aug. 2014. <http://www.usatoday.com/story/life/people/2014/08/12/josh-gad-remembering-robin-williams/13951075/>.
“Kim Kardashian to Release Book of Her Selfies.” Fox News. FOX News Network, 11 Aug. 2014. Web. 12 Aug. 2014. <http://www.foxnews.com/entertainment/2014/08/11/kim-kardashian-to-release-book-her-selfies/>.