Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Robin Williams—R.I.P.

Watching the great comedians at work is one of the pleasures of my life.  Of course, I have a distinct preference for the comedians who are funny because they are clever.  And of the folks who are funny because their insights are so good, Robin Williams was one of the very best.  He was literally breath-taking to watch.  Ten minutes of Williams at high speed and I was more than happy to take a break.

And that was, perhaps, Williams' big problem.  If ten minutes can exhaust a listener from the sheer joy of keeping up, listening intently because no one wants to miss a word, and laughing so hard, what can the energy demands possibly be like for the guy on the production end who can sometimes go on for a hour?  

"How does he possibly do it?" I would ask my friend and fellow Williams fan.  Because his energy was so superhuman, there would be speculations on chemical enhancement.  But mostly we figured he just knew how to dig more deeply into his energy stores and run his vital life forces at a deficit.  The problem with such a strategy is that it usually shortens your life.  This morning, I had a very sweet email from my friend explaining what Robin Williams had meant to his own sometimes-troubled life.  It ended with:
George Carlin, Hunter Thomson and Robin Williams...not much to look forward to.
And then I found this lovely comment by the man who played Williams' old college roommate so skillfully in Good Will Hunting (one of my all-time favorite movies.)  I especially loved his description of Williams' energy as "It was like he had three brains which were constantly revving."

Yup, that about covers it.

Sweden's Skarsgård pays tribute to Robin Williams

12 Aug 2014

Swedish actor Stellan Skarsgård paid tribute to Robin Williams on Tuesday, recalling the "immensely exciting" experience of working with him in Good Will Hunting.

Actor Robin Williams was found dead in his home in California on Monday evening, apparently having taken his own life after bouts of serious depression. The news shocked Skarsgård when he awoke Tuesday morning, but he didn't want to speculate about the cause.

"People take their own lives for many different reasons, and it's not unusual among comedians that the comedy is a way of keeping the darkness at bay," Skarsgård told the TT news agency. "That may have been the case with him."

The two costarred in the film Good Will Hunting, released in 1997, for which Robin Williams received an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor.

"It was like he had three brains which were constantly revving," Skarsgård recalled. "He could say absolutely anything. No take with him was like any other, and it was immensely exciting."

Skarsgård said that Williams was a very complicated person, always struggling to keep his demons at bay. more

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