Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Genius

Good morning to all.

The title isn't a word I would use very often, and certainly tire of folks in the media throwing it around endlessly to describe people who coach football teams or write books.  But I found it to be the only appropriate word this morning when considering the very untimely passing of actor and comic Robin Williams.

Remember the first time we all saw him?  He played a far-out alien on the old sitcom "Happy Days," designed probably to be a one-off appearance.  This turned into "Mork and Mindy," then a contract dispute and then his entry into movies.  And many of those movies were pretty bad, if you recall.  "Popeye," "The World According to Garp," and many more that were largely forgettable.

But then something happened wherein it looked like Hollywood had figured out how to harness the immense comedic horsepower that Williams brought to a scene.  He was in several successful films, garnered Oscar nominations for "Good Morning Vietnam," "Dead Poets Society" (audio clips of which appeared in recent Apple iPad commercials), "The Fisher King," and an Oscar for a great supporting role in "Good Will Hunting."

Along the way he kept doing stand-up comedy, got very publicly sober, went through divorce and remarriage, had children and kept making movies and appearing on TV and elsewhere.  Laugh out loud funny when he turned "it" on.  Can't breathe funny when he kept "it" on, too!  I always wondered where that stuff came from, as he seemed to have an endless supply of pithy comments and observations about everything and everyone.

Like so many artistic folks, he was haunted by personal demons, above and beyond his substance abuse issues and was reportedly suffering from severe depression at the time of his death.  And like these other artistic people, his demons probably served as a foundation for his enormous creativity.

I won't say that I loved everything he did.  I also won't say that I found everything he did to be funny. But I will say that he was a true genius and he will certainly be missed.

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