Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Be Kinder than Necessary... Rest in Peace, Robin Williams

From the
Hollywood Walk of Fame Facebook Page
Robin Williams ~ December 12, 1990
Today, I - like most of the world - am still reeling from the news that Robin Williams is gone. I have adored Robin Williams since I was a little girl, growing up in the 1970s and 1980s. There are so many favorite moments from film and TV, I could not name them all. But one film that always touched me deeply was Hook. I am not sure why, I just always held that film close to my heart.

In my own mind, I have often compared the talents of Bob Crane and Robin Williams. Both extraordinary men. Extraordinary entertainers. Perhaps because when watching Good Morning Vietnam, I see a lot of Bob Crane's KNX radio show. I see that wild and crazy radio man doing wild and crazy things, bowing to no one in the industry to perform his radio show his way. A little known fact is that Bob Crane also entertained our U.S. troops, both in person and via the U.S. Armed Forces Radio Network. Bob was a proud American, and he supported our troops.

Robin Williams and Bob Crane were also both kind. They had loving families. They had adoring children. Then had wonderful friends. They had respected colleagues. They cared. They were generous, both giving graciously of their time and money to charity.

They also both suffered their own personal demons. One was murdered. The other took his own life. Both are heartbreaking tragedies.

In the coming weeks, people will judge Robin Williams. The media will dissect him from birth to death. Curious, the public will watch with impending anticipation whatever glimpses into his death the media can - and probably will - be allowed to show. His depression and the addiction that fueled it will be scrutinized. He will be analyzed from one arm chair psychologist to another, until just when you think you might have heard the end of it, there will be another report. Another analysis. Another photo. Another theory.

Personally, I don't know how people in the public eye can do it. Today we live in a world where not only do public figures have to deal with negative criticism of their latest movie, book, TV show, album, political campaign, or whatever, but they have to see the hateful banter of the Cyber Bully. We all know him or her. We all have seen the Cyber Bully. Some fight back. Some ignore. Either way, the Cyber Bully is vicious, cruel, and hateful. Before social media, if we didn't like a book or a film, we told our friends. Now we tell the world. And some people say it in such a way that no matter who you are, no matter how successful or popular, it is crippling.

That Robin Williams committed suicide makes me incredibly sad on levels I cannot begin to explain. What happened in the final hours of his life to make him think that nobody cared? He did not wake up yesterday saying, "You know what, world? I'm done. Today, I'm leaving you." No. Something happened. A trigger. A moment that turned his entire life upside down and he said, "Enough." When I envision what those final hours might have been like, I cannot help but get a lump in my throat.

A billion people today are mourning his loss, showering him with tributes and beautiful sentiments, crying, remembering, shaking their heads. And yet, he thought he had nobody.

Nobody.

How can this be?

He was so successful. So popular. So energetic. Gave joy to millions. Adored his fans. Gave so many people a reason to smile.

And he thought he had nobody.

Because, at the crux of it, Robin Williams was human. He was not a genie. He was not a boy child. He was not a school teacher. He was not a doctor. He was an actor with outstanding talent who portrayed these characters. But that was his job. He showed up for work and did his job, and he did it extremely well.

But he was human. He was not perfect. And when addiction takes hold, it does not matter if you are Robin Williams or Bob Crane or your neighbor or your brother or your friend or quite possibly you. It takes you and pushes you right to the edge. Sometimes, it wins.

Let us not judge Robin William, Bob Crane, or anyone for their weaknesses. Addiction can happen to anyone, rich or poor, famous or not.

Robin Williams left us with a big hole in our hearts. May his final lesson be to "be kinder than necessary, for everyone is fighting some kind of battle."

Most of the time, we just don't know it.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
No matter what problems you are dealing with, we want to help you find a reason to keep living. By calling 1-800-273-TALK (8255) you’ll be connected to a skilled, trained counselor at a crisis center in your area, anytime 24/7. http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/

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For more about Bob Crane: The Definitive Biography, which was published on September 17, 2015, visit http://www.vote4bobcrane.org/book.html