When I was about my daughter's age one of the best presents I got for Christmas was a set of rainbow suspenders with odd trinkets on the straps. I wore them clipped onto my Lee jeans and sat upside down on the couch to watch my favorite television show.
If you were a child (or even an adult) of the late-70s/early-80s, you know of what show I speak-Mork and Mindy. It was a show unlike any that had ever been on television with a star unlike any that had been seen before. Robin Williams made an impression on America. We tuned into his show each week to see what Mork from Ork would be up to. Sure, there were other famous actors on the show-like Pam Dawber and Jonathan Winters-but we all knew it was Williams that really made it a hit. He was a big ball of zany energy that we had never seen before.
I remember one time while watching the show - again perhaps while sitting on my head - my sister said she had heard this new, unknown actor was almost uncontrollable when off camera.
Eventually we all came to know that side of Robin Williams simply from his appearances on talk shows and awards shows. He was a continual fountain of comedic acting. I can only imagine that life with him or as him was exhausting, but usually in a "Stop, I can't laugh anymore" kind of way.
Unfortunately we all know now that on Monday that fount of laughs came to an abrupt stop when Williams appears to have taken his own life. Reports say he battled addictions and depression for years.
I can only think that being that "on" for so long was indeed exhausting. As is characteristic of manic depression, there are periods of extreme highs and extreme lows. The public mostly just saw the highs. Now we know the extent of his lows.
It shocked us all-this news of the demise of such a beloved American figure. He brought us so many laughs. Without him Aladdin would have just been another Disney love story. Patch Adams would be a man few knew about who brought joy to children. Those two of his movies were my favorites, particularly Patch Adams.
When I think of Robin Williams, I think I'll always see him with a clown nose and kind, smiling eyes. I will think of him inspiring me to be a goofy kid in my living room. I will remember a wonderful body of work. . . and unfortunately a life that ended too soon with many more roles he could have brought to life.