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!
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
Fun, Creative Egg Recipes
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.