Remembering Robin Williams: Genie, You are Free


By Justin Jasso (@jjasso007)

Life. It is a word that has been able to spark great debates among the greatest of philosophical minds. Life is a thing in which we all share; it’s something that is both vibrant and miniscule. When we consider that the Earth is around 4.5 billion years old, our lives here are but a barely observable blip on the map. But with life, we have the opportunity to change an entire world. Like a pebble dropped in a lake, a kindness you do for another has the ripple effect to touch so many others. Robin Williams took his gift as an artist and touched us all.

On August 11th, 2014, at 12:02 pm, Academy Award winner Robin Williams was pronounced dead at his home in Marin County, California. Upon the information being released to media outlets, news of his death spread across the world and social media with heartfelt thoughts and memories going out to the departed actor. Though most people never met Robin Williams, never held a conversation with him, never shook his hand or said hello to him, through his work they came to feel as if they knew him. Williams began his career in film and television in 1977 with the film Can I Do it ‘Till I Need Glasses? and will make his final big screen appearance in 2015 with Absolutely Anything. These are just two films over a career of characters he became known for.

Many people received their introduction to Robin Williams in the television hit Mork and Mindy. Williams played an alien who came to Earth from the planet Ork to investigate and report back to his superiors. Williams spent so much time ad-libbing scenes that the scriptwriters started leaving blank areas in the scripts where Williams could go off and improvise. From there, a film career began to take off, most notably in the film Good Morning, Vietnam with his turn as a DJ for an Armed Forces Radio Service. For that role, he was nominated as Best Actor in a Leading Role at the Academy Awards. Over the next four years, he would again be nominated for the same award for his performances in the films Dead Poets Society and The Fisher King. He finally won in 1998 when he was nominated for Best Actor in a Supporting Role for his portrayal of a junior college psychology professor who must work with a young man who exhibits immeasurable intelligence but chooses to live a life filled with petty crimes in the film Good Will Hunting. But an award doesn’t determine one’s greatness as Williams will also always be remembered for so many other roles such as Mrs. Doubtfire, an aged Peter Pan in Hook, the unorthodox doctor Patch Adams, or the Genie in Aladdin.

Though Robin Williams will always be remembered as a comedian, a man who possessed an uncanny ability to imitate voices, and as someone with endless amounts of energy, he’ll also be remembered for his dramatic roles that brought us to question our own lives and how we lived them, often with tears and a heavy heart. It is always difficult when the world loses a person who brought so much joy to it, as people cannot be replaced. It is up to us to take what we were given by them, to be grateful for all of the good times, and to go forward and do our part – as they did – to make the world a better place for everyone to live. Robin Williams once said, “No matter what people tell you, words and ideas can change the world.” His words and his ideas left lasting impressions on our world, so let us all follow his lead and use our words and ideas to continue to change our world for the better. Thank you for the smiles and tears, for the levity and the deep moments of thought, Mr. Williams, and may you always rest in peace knowing you touched so many.

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