Of all the comedians who made the transition to film acting, Williams may have been the best. So few comedic actors had the ability to jettison the schtick and allow themselves to melt into sympathetic, eminently vulnerable sincerity. Personally, this is what attracted me to Williams -- that and his fanatical love of professional cycling. Above all else, when Robin Williams was on screen, you knew something electric could happen at any moment.
There were so many reasons to love his work. Here are just a few of my favorites...
The Best of Adrian Cronauer in Good Morning Vietnam:
His Oscar winning performance in Good Will Hunting:
Many of us have been lucky enough to have had a teacher like Mr. John Keating in Dead Poets Society:
Teaching Nathan Lane how to be a straight man in The Birdcage:
His vastly underrated performance in What Dreams May Come:
And finally, here are a few scenes from what I consider to be the most wonderful and dynamic Williams performance in Terry Gilliam's The Fisher King:
Wow. Just wow. We lost a good one today.
Godspeed, Robin Williams. Here's to hoping his last bike ride had a wicked tail wind.
Adding... I thought I'd wake up today and it'd be better, but I'm still shaken by the loss of Robin Williams. An additional thought:
Robin Williams' characters were always people we wanted to know personally. John Keating, Dr. Malcolm Sayer, Adrian Conauer, even Perry from The Fisher King. He made us want to sit and talk with his characters -- to thank them personally for sharing their stories and to give them each a big hug. I'm not precisely sure why this "celebrity death" is hitting us so hard, but I think this is one big reason why.