Following the tragic news of Robin Williams’ death yesterday, Williams’ wife, Susan Schneider, said she and their family hoped that “the focus will not be on Robin’s death, but on the countless moments of joy and laughter he gave to millions.” And thankfully, that seems to be what is happening. A number of Williams’ colleagues have come out with beautiful statements of remembrance.
Steven Spielberg said, “Robin was a lightning storm of comic genius and our laughter was the thunder that sustained him.”
To watch Robin work, was a magical and special privilege. His performances were unlike anything any of us had ever seen, they came from some spiritual and otherworldly place. He truly was one of the few people who deserved the title of ‘genius.’ … The world was a better place with Robin in it. And his beautiful legacy will live on forever.
I never met anyone who loved making people laugh more than Robin. I’d come to watch he and Matt film their beautiful scene on the park bench in Goodwill Hunting, and when they broke for lunch we sat around on the grass eating sandwiches; what began as a riff on something or other to make us and the crew laugh suddenly extended to office workers out on their lunchbreak, enjoying the sunshine, and pretty soon he stood up and his big beautiful voice, full of laughter, reached out to the people who were now hurrying down from the street and across the park to catch his impromptu standup. There must have been 200 hundred people listening and laughing by the time lunch was over. I just remember how broadly he smiled , patted me on the shoulder and said, “There, now that was GOOD” I loved him, and I will miss him greatly. My thoughts are with his family and friends.
Paul F. Tompkins wrote a beautiful piece for Fusion that you should definitely read in its entirety.
Robin Williams will live on in shadows and light and sound, at least. He will continue to comfort weird little kids (and odd adults, for that matter) with his performances, those who know his work today and those who have yet to be born, who may experience him ten, fifty, a hundred years from now. But this is cold comfort indeed.
There will be much celebration, in the coming weeks and months, of Robin Williams’ life and career. But perhaps the best tribute to him would be if we all reached out to the troubled people in our lives and let them know that we are here for them. Because Robin Williams was there for us.
I could not be more stunned by the loss of Robin Williams, mensch, great talent, acting partner, genuine soul.— Steve Martin (@SteveMartinToGo) August 11, 2014
Your humor, like hot jazz, was topped by your sensitivity, compassion & kindness. Standing on my desk for you, always. #RIPRobinWilliams— Josh Charles (@MrJoshCharles) August 12, 2014
We mourn the loss of our friend Robin Williams, who always made us laugh and smile. pic.twitter.com/UOY8LTjVRA— Sesame Street (@sesamestreet) August 11, 2014
Even Patton Oswalt came out of hibernation.
"But doctor, I AM Pagliacci." That's the only way this makes sense. Can't stand thinking of him being that sad. #RIPRobinWilliams— Patton Oswalt (@pattonoswalt) August 11, 2014
I am named after a character from a Robin Williams TV show when my parents still lived in Africa. He meant so much, to so many, so far away.— Mindy Kaling (@mindykaling) August 12, 2014
We lose at least one great comic to suicide or ODs every year. Our jobs are to communicate, but we seem to not know how to ask for help.— Michael Ian Black (@michaelianblack) August 12, 2014
A tweet cannot begin to describe the hugeness of Robin Williams heart and soul and talent. This is so sad. #RobinWilliams— Ben Stiller (@RedHourBen) August 12, 2014
OK, I’ll try. I met him when I was 13 and a huge fan and he was so kind and I watched him be kind to every fan i ever saw him with…— Ben Stiller (@RedHourBen) August 12, 2014
And with other actors he was so generous and brilliant. He made everyone feel special and equal around him even though he was the genius…— Ben Stiller (@RedHourBen) August 12, 2014
His heart was so big and even if you didn’t know him, what he gave everyone was that same spirit in his work, so we all felt it…— Ben Stiller (@RedHourBen) August 12, 2014
His impact on the world was so positive. He did so much good for people. He made me and so many people laugh so hard for a very long time.— Ben Stiller (@RedHourBen) August 12, 2014
And because they don’t really tweet, this message represents all the Stillers (Jerry, Anne and Amy) who Robin was a great friend to. xxxxx— Ben Stiller (@RedHourBen) August 12, 2014
And that, of course, is only the tip of the iceberg of love and loss for this incredible man.