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The life and legacy of Robin Williams

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Cowritten by Brianna Ganzon

What do you do when someone dies? You recover from the shock, look at photos, and take a walk down memory lane. You grieve. That is what the whole world has been doing since August 11, when the shocking news was revealed that actor/comedian Robin Williams had passed away.

William’s death swept the world as countless fans and celebrities were devastated. The aftermath was largely evident on twitter, where celebrities from all over the Hollywood spectrum posted condolences and parting words. From Tom Hanks to Ellen Degeneres to even President Obama, celebrities barraged twitter and issued statements with words commemorating the Hollywood superstar. TIME magazine released a tributary issue and even the trending movies on Netflix revealed Robin Williams as the main star.

It has been difficult to say goodbye to someone who brought the world so many emotions. He made kids afraid of board games in Jumanji, he made people cry in Hook, and he made people feel uncomfortable in One Hour Photo. He made people laugh in so many films, playing so many characters, that he truly was a man of every emotion.

This is truly the saddest reality when a person who brought smiles to so many faces and laughter in so many households is unhappy on the inside. Williams battled with both alcoholism and depression in his lifetime, and eventually, his depression got the best of him.

If you look back at his comedy, Williams provided a balanced amount of adult humor and enough funny anecdotes to make me laugh for hours. In fact, I enjoyed his comedy work a lot more than some of his great films.

Though the number of films pile up, the well-known Good Will Hunting is one that granted Williams an Academy Award. This film was the one that broke Williams into the drama genre and showed all the characters that this man can play. Williams’ co-star from Good Will Hunting, Ben Affleck, tweeted “Heartbroken. Thanks chief – for your friendship and for what you gave the world. Robin had a ton of love in him. He personally did so much for so many people. He made Matt [Damon] and my dreams come true…”

People have now been reflecting on all the other treasures he had to offer. He was known worldwide to have been a philanthropist and spent countless hours donating his time and humor to thousands of troops and civilians around the world.

The cause of death was asphyxia, or suffocation, by hanging. Ruled as a suicide, his death is mainly attributed to the depression he had suffered for numerous years, described most recently as “severe” by Williams’ publicist, Mara Buxbaum. In addition, Williams’ wife Susan Schneider revealed that Williams had been diagnosed with early stages of Parkinson’s, a degenerative disease of the nervous system.

But Williams refused to let the world see him sad. Right before his death he signed on to do Mrs. Doubtfire II, bringing excitement to those who loved the original laugh-out-loud comedy. He went to interviews, bringing his extravagant personality, bringing smiles to everyone.

In the weeks following his death, tributes have rolled in, trying to honor the man that graced the world with his presence. Billy Crystal, who founded Comic Relief USA with Williams, which was devoted to helping the homeless, took the stage at the Emmy’s and said goodbye to his friend through a moving tribute.

“It is very hard to talk about him in the past because he was so present in all of our lives,” Crystal said. “For almost 40 years he was the brightest star in the comedy galaxy. But while some of the brightest of our celestial bodies actually are extinct now, their energy long since cooled, but miraculously because they float in the heavens so far away from us now, their beautiful light will continue to shine on us forever and the glow will be so bright it’ll warm your heart, make your eyes glisten and you’ll think to yourselves, Robin Williams, what a concept.””

In the end, Williams was a treasure to behold. The enormity of his death was simply a measurement of Williams’ talent as a comedian and actor, his gift of making people of all ages and from all over the world double over in laughter as well as bawl their eyes out. In the same way, his death also measured how many lives Williams impacted, the amount of smiles and laughs he elicited. To many, Williams’ was an idol and a fond childhood memory – an adult Peter Pan who never truly grew up, or the eccentric blue genie who helped Aladdin.

He delighted us with all he had to give, and left this world a better place. And so, in the words of The Academy, I’d like to say, “Genie, you’re free.”

About Morgan Lanyon

Morgan Lanyon
Morgan is a senior at Mt. Carmel High School. She is kept constantly busy with varsity field hockey, Hebrew school, swim team, and being the co-Editor in Chief of the MC Sun. She has a problem with watching too much TV, and eating an excessive amount of snacks. She knows the lyrics to practically every Billy Joel song, and doesn't care who knows. She also knows about most celebrities, and can answer your questions almost as fast as the internet.

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