Over the past couple of days, much has been written about the tragic passing of actor/comedian Robin Williams, who died at his home near San Francisco last Monday.
He was an incredibly talented man who made us laugh till our stomachs hurt, and touched our hearts in the gentlest way at his moving portrayal of the saddest characters and scenes.
One of my favourite movies of all time is Dead Poet’s Society, in which Robin played maverick English teacher, John Keating. In case you’ve been living under a rock and haven’t seen it, the movie is set at an exclusive boy’s school, rich in tradition. Williams’ character inspires the boys to think for themselves and stand up for what they believe in. He encourages them to savour the language and interpret literature with their hearts and souls, as words and ideas CAN change the world.
“The human race is filled with passion. Poetry, beauty, romance, love – these are what we stay alive for!” Keating says.
He asks one of his student to read the first stanza of a poem. “Gather thee rosebuds while ye may.” Then asks them, “What does this mean?” It means, Carpe Diem – Seize the Day! Live your life and do what you love while you can, because life is short and in the end we are all food for worms!
As you may have guessed, this movie was the inspiration for the name of this blog. It contained so many beautiful messages such as:
- To remind ourselves that we must constantly look at things in a different way
- Don’t be resigned to a life of quiet desperation – break out, look around you
- Find your own voice and be your own hero
- Prepare to strike out, find new ground and Seize the Day!
I loved Robin Williams, from his days as Mork from Ork in Mork & Mindy, to movies such as Good Morning Vietnam, Mrs Doubtfire, The World Accoding to Garp, Good Will Hunting, A Night at the Museum and The Birdcage, just to name a few of my favourites.
I was shocked and deeply saddened to hear of his passing, as though an old friend had died. I’ve cried while writing this post, as though I’m grieving for a family member.
Although I never met Robin, I was deeply moved by him and will miss his wonderful wit and incredible talent. He was an inspirational man indeed.
Rest in Peace Robin Williams. Nanu Nanu!
Following are just a few of the hundreds of moving tributes that have flowed in for Robin –
Actress Pam Dawber, co-star in Mork and Mindy: “I am completely and totally devastated. What more can be said?”
Actor Ben Affleck: “Thanks chief — for your friendship and for what you gave the world. Robin had a ton of love in him. He personally did so much for so many people. He made Matt and my dreams come true. What do you owe a guy who does that? Everything! May you find peace my friend.”
Comedian Billy Connolly: “Robin was both my friend and my hero, a unique talent and a kind and generous man; the world will be a much poorer place without him.”
Actor Sir Kenneth Branagh: “Robin Williams was one of life’s gentlemen. His kindness and warmth were exceptional. We’ve lost a great talent and a good man.”
Actor Forest Whitaker, who appeared with Williams in Good Morning, Vietnam and The Butler: “The world has lost a special soul. Robin Williams touched our hearts, he gave us laughter, he gave us joy, he made us think about the impossible. I’m blessed to have been able to walk inside his universe. He forever changed this world with his presence.”
Director Stephen Spielberg: 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.”
And the last word goes to his daughter, Zelda, who posted a moving quote from Antoine De Saint-Exupery’s novella The Little Prince: