Tales From A Hungry Life

August 13, 2014

RIP, Robin Williams

by Maria Schulz

The other night, my dog and I were having a beautiful, relaxing after-work-walk (she works hard). The sun was still out, the air was fragrant with flowers, and I felt happy. That’s when my phone went “ding!”

I looked at the texts and saw my friend Lisa had written two words: ROBIN WILLIAMS!

Robin Williams

Robin Williams

I thought at first that she meant to send that to someone else, or that maybe I was being pulled into a conversation that really had nothing to do with me. Or maybe she wanted to play a Celebrity Free Association game. So, I responded.

BETTE MIDLER!

She wrote back quickly: No. Robin Williams has died.

WHAT???? Was my reply.

It’s not supposed to go like this. I mean, Robin Williams was witty, smart, and absolutely full of life. By any stretch of the imagination, he should have had a lot of life left in him. So how could he be dead? I knew he had addiction issues, heart troubles, and battled depression (so many comedians do). But what happened?

I ran home and searched ye ol’ interweb for answers. I found them all right; they were gruesome and confusing, and not a happy ending for someone whose life had filled mine with many, many laughs. Mr. Williams’ death made it clear just how how devastating depression is for people who are in the thick of it. I noticed that one of my friends put up a post that said, “I might never laugh again.”

While the details of his death are very sad, I would rather focus on all of the ways that Robin Williams brought joy and laughter into my life.So, at the risk of becoming the “dead celeb” blogger, I will write about him today. That funny little blog post I had all ready to go will just have to wait until next week.

NaNu-NaNu

NaNu-NaNu

The first time I ever heard of Robin Williams was when my brothers, parents and I sat down for a crazy little show called Mork and Mindy.  Mork from Ork was an alien who came to earth in an egg. He befriended a sweet, likeable, All-American girl from Colorado named Mindy. He spoke a weird, funny language and often said things like “Nanu, Nanu” and “Shazbot!”

When we watched that goofy little show, my mother would laugh so hard that she’d have to wipe the tears away and catch her breath. It made me think of when Chris and I were little, and she would speak in hilarious, made up languages to get our attention.

Mork from Ork certainly had mine.

Robin Williams, a.k.a. “Mork,” had impeccable comedic timing, hilarious reactions, and a frenetic energy that was always surprising and fresh. In one early episode called “Mork’s Seduction,” Mork goes on a date (he doesn’t even realize it), and a very young Morgan Fairchild says to him:

“I think I’d like some wine.”

“All right,” he says, “if you insist. “Waaaaaaa.”

(Scroll to the 17:30 mark on the video to see some of his witty “date” banter)

Yes, that joke’s a little cheesy, but I remember it got big laughs at the time. My father was LOLing before we even knew what it meant to LOL.

The show burnt itself out in a few seasons, but not before Robin Williams’ idol, Jonathan Winters, joined the cast. Of course, he played the role of Mork and Mindy’s son. The scenes that included RW and JW absolutely cracked us up.

A few years after M&M went off the air, I saw Robin Williams in The World According to Garp. I was not expecting him to be such a good actor, but even though the movie wasn’t a comedy, I found him riveting.

The World According to Garp

The World According to Garp wasn’t a laugh fest, but Robin Williams portrayed the role with a sense of mischief and mirth in his eyes. It was dark, and sad, and sometimes unexpectedly funny. How could he portray all those aspects of one character in one movie? He truly was talented and made every movie he was in better.

I suppose my favorite movie of his—out of many great contenders, with Good Will Hunting a close second–is Dead Poet’s Society.

Captain! My captain

Captain! My captain

As prep school English teacher John Keating, he implores his students to remember: Carpe Diem! Seize the day. Life has no guarantees, so live every moment to the fullest. He so inspires this group of young boys that they start taking chances, bucking the status quo, thinking for themselves, living courageously, and, miracle of miracles, loving English class.

This sweet movie was funny, gripping, sad, and touching. It is one of my all time favorite movies about teachers, and besides the wonderful writing, I think the reason would have to be Robin Williams’ incredibly quiet, stirring, and powerful performance.

0011774.JPG

If I polled my kids, they would probably choose Mrs. Doubtfire or Genie as their favorite Robin Williams characters. I can’t really argue with them—those were terrific, fun movies. They are so saddened to hear of Mr. Williams’ passing, and even sadder when they realized that the Mrs. Doubtfire sequel won’t happen now.

Na-Nu Na-Nu, Robin Williams. Thanks for the years of laughter and enjoyment. You will definitely be missed.

Recipes:

Fun, Creative Egg Recipes

Shakshuka!

Shakshuka!

I chose these Egg Recipes in honor all the funny, creative ways that Robin Williams inspired so many people. There’s a recipe for Eggs Benedict, omelettes, and Shakshuka…which sounds like something Mork would enjoy.

So, Hungry Lifers…what’s your favorite Robin Williams movie/character? Do you remember Mork from Ork? Please leave a comment and let us all know. Thanks.

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4 Comments »

  1. The true impact of Robin Williams can be the drawing of population’s attention to the seriousness of depression, addiction, and all the mental illnesses. No matter how successful, how rich, how powerful how much of a celebrity you may be it is all for naught if you aren’t happy, aren’t content with your life and thankful for the privilege of being alive and enjoying all that this crazy old world has to offer. We must, as a society, provide better mental help treatments and understanding of what these diseases are really all about. Can’t tell a depressed person to get up and move his or her ass instead of just laying around. They can’t do anything about it and we as a society must be more supportive and understanding. If we are moved to greater understanding, greater support of those afflicted then Robin Williams life, and death, is not in vain. .

    Comment by Bglou — August 13, 2014 @ 12:33 pm | Reply

  2. Maria, one of the sad thing about RW’s death is that he had so much more to share and make people laugh. The best medicine is laughing and he was a doctor of healing. To bad he was not able to use it on himself. I will miss what he could have done.

    Comment by Tony Lagalante — August 13, 2014 @ 7:26 pm | Reply

  3. Words can’t do justice to the genius that was Robin Williams. No one comes close. I’m fortunate I was lucky enough to see him live at Comic Relief at Radio City in 1990. Godspeed.

    Comment by thedailypeeve — August 13, 2014 @ 8:30 pm | Reply

  4. He soared. He had too much heart (how many times have I watched “Mrs. Doubtfire” with my kids? A Dozen at least and we laugh every time). But I so agree with comment above on depression. I had the opportunity to see with him when he did I show with Robert Klein on USA and with Jim Lipton on Inside the Actors Studio– a crazy pleasure, such a sad ending to a man who brought such fun into this world.

    Comment by Caroline Bock — August 14, 2014 @ 10:29 am | Reply


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