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Dublin: 11 °C Thursday 18 December, 2014

Remembering Robin Williams (1951 – 2014)

Genie, you’re free.

Robin Williams, 1951 – 2014. RIP.

ROBIN WILLIAMS

WE ARE ALL in mourning this morning, waking up to the news that a man who created so many fun-filled, happy memories took his own life yesterday.

It seems everybody is remembering their favourite memories, emotional at the loss of a man who brought thousands of shades of genius to our television and cinema screens.

Robin Williams. But to many of us, he is Mrs. Doubtfire. Patch Adams. Peter Pan. Mork. Or the Genie from Aladdin.

To Zelda Williams, his daughter, he was just Dad.

She posted a quote from Antoine De Saint-Exupery, with her own note at the end: “I love you. I miss you. I’ll try to keep looking up. Z”

Just a fortnight ago, Williams had posted an image of his daughter for her 25th birthday.

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His wife, Susan Schneider, issued a statement shortly after the devastating news broke last night. She said:

This morning, I lost my husband and my best friend, while the world lost one of its most beloved artists and beautiful human beings. I am utterly heartbroken. On behalf of Robin’s family we are asking for privacy during our time of profound grief. As he is remembered, it is our hope the focus will not be on Robin’s death, but on the countless moments of joy and laughter he gave to millions.

The Academy, which awarded Williams with the 1998 Supporting Actor Oscar for Good Will Hunting, used a Disney favourite to say goodbye.

A spontaneous memorial to the actor has also been spotted at the Good Will Hunting bench in the Boston Public Gardens, the sport where Williams and Matt Damon sit and chat, watching the swans in the film.

Nick Rabchenuk, who wrote one of the lines, told Buzzfeed that a number of people had the same idea and there are references to Hook, Good Will Hunting and other films at the bench.

Fellow actors have taken to Twitter and issued statements to share their loss.

His daughter in Mrs Doubtfire, Mara Wilson, was glad to have heard it before the news was shared online.

Director Steven Spielberg said:

Robin was a lightning storm of comic genius and our laughter was the thunder that sustained him. He was a pal, and I can’t believe he’s gone.

Mrs Doubtfire director Chris Columbus remembers the magic.

To watch Robin work, was a magical and special privilege. His performances were unlike anything any of us had ever seen, they came from some spiritual and otherworldly place. He truly was one of the few people who deserved the title of ‘genius.’ … The world was a better place with Robin in it. And his beautiful legacy will live on forever.

While, Ben Stiller noted that he never got over being a fan while working with Williams.

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Long-time friend Steve Martin said some brief words on Twitter.

It was hard to battle tears when another friend, Danny DeVito, kept it devastatingly short.

And many people referenced Williams’s long battle with depression.

Sarah Michelle Gellar, who starred in The Crazy Ones with Williams, used images to remember her colleague.

In our own comment section on TheJournal.ie, Sean C has his own fond memory.

The ending to Aladdin is gonna hit me hard from now on, I guarantee it. Just like the ending to Ghost or Dirty Dancing hits me hard cos of Patrick Swayze’s death (and how he also died from pancreatic cancer, like my dad). It’s just gonna be another instance where I know that they are gone, and with them goes a part of the fondest memories of growing up. I know this sounds selfish, and yeah, it is to a certain degree.
But there’s this degree of feeling like you know this person, even if you never me them. From TV appearances, to movies, to music…one felt like he was part of your community. This is the guy who walked the streets, shook hands with people, and just tried to cheer folks up after 9/11. His contemporaries did the opposite, hiding out and not wanting to be seen, but he wanted to cheer folks up because he knew they were scared. When South Park: the movie was nominated at the Oscars for best music and song for Blame Canada, the actress who sang the song in the film, Mary Kay Bergman, was not there to sing it. She had taken her own life a month or two before the Oscars. Williams stood in and sang the song instead, and it was actually one of the most memorable moments from that ceremony. Funny, but poignant. And then there was the time Christopher Reeve was paralysed in a horse riding accident. He walked into the room of his friend from college, and, disguised as a doctor, started giving him orders. Reeve cracked up laughing, and that was the beginning of his desire to live. Williams never told that story, that was in Christopher Reeve’s biography.
He was a darn good human being who did his best to make everyone feel good, the sad thing being that the only person he could not cheer up was himself. RIP.

Comedian Jason Manford spoke frankly about depression in a post on Facebook that has been shared more than 50,000 times.

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Share your favourite memories in the comment section….

Helplines

  • Console 1800 247 247 – (suicide prevention, self-harm, bereavement)

  • Aware 1890 303 302 (depression, anxiety)

  • Pieta House 01 601 0000 or email mary@pieta.ie - (suicide, self-harm, bereavement)

  • Teen-Line Ireland 1800 833 634 (for ages 13 to 19)

  • Childline 1800 66 66 66 (for under 18s)

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