“All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players: they have their exits and their entrances; and one man in his time plays many parts, his acts being seven ages.”
One of the most beloved comedic actors of our time has taken his last bow.
The first time I remember seeing Robin Williams in a film was Dead Poets Society (1989) where he portrayed an English teacher, John Keating, at a private boarding school for boys who taught his pupils what it was to love poetry. In this role, Williams encouraged students to speak the text, bringing it to life through the spoken word thereby plunging the depths of the human heart.
The films Williams starred in were many and wonderful as were his roles in animation voice acting. From Batty Koda in FernGully: The Last Rainforest to his critically acclaimed performance as Genie in Disney’s Aladdin, Williams could sing, dance and voice his way through with the best of them. His abilities to improvise and mimic voices were hallmarks of his career.
Arguably, Robin Williams stood out in the world of acting for his ability to take on a range of roles and perform them ever so convincingly. To be laughing and then crying, to have mountaintop experiences while flirting with utter despair. In this sense, he was a chameleon, a master of the stage.
Remember Mrs. Doubtfire?
Williams was set to reprise his role as the Scottish nanny. Anyone watching the film who had been impacted by divorce could immediately sense that his pain was their pain. Williams was gifted with the ability to take on challenging and emotional roles that gave voice to many of our culture’s struggles, all while struggling to bear burdens of his own.
Now, we take time to remember his work, honor the man and draw from the lessons he left us.
The contributions he made to his art are unparalleled. For someone known for his voice, some of his richest moments were expressed without any words at all.