Robin Williams: Thanks for the memories

Robin Williams:
Thanks for the memories

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Robin Williams is credited with saying “If you can remember the ’60s, you probably weren’t even there.” It was a brilliant funny line from a man who could spit them out faster than almost anyone who ever lived.

It turns out his turbulent life was more aptly described by the song lyric “laughing on the outside, crying on the inside.” Robin took his own life at the age of 63 – barely “mid-career” for someone with his gifts. His death has generated renewed discussion about mental health and about suicide. Here’s hoping it lasts more than a couple of news cycles.

Not all that long ago, it was a criminal offence in Canada and other countries to try to kill yourself, although the case didn’t go any further if you succeeded. The news of his death had barely broken when a Fox News anchor named Shepard Smith called him a  coward for choosing to end it all when he had children and others who loved him. Mr. Smith quickly apologized, but I still see him as a prime candidate for the Terminal Dumbness Award.

If you haven’t walked a mile in someone’s shoes, and developed a feeling for what their demons might be, then silence is probably a much better option.

Robin’s work told us so much about who he was and what he was feeling inside. Leave out the madcap comedies like Mork and Mindy and The Birdcage for a moment. Take a look at movies like The Fisher King or Insomnia and you’ll see a man who was hurting in a way that was almost too believable.

All of his performances had a deep humanity about them, like Patch Adams or the English teacher in Dead Poets Society. He refused to “phone it in” or go through the motions when the cameras were turned on.

Good night sweet Prince, and thanks for the memories.

Roger Currie
Authored by: Roger Currie

Roger Currie has been a writer, broadcaster and storyteller in Canada for more than 40 years. Born and raised in Winnipeg, Roger occasionally studied at the University of Manitoba. He began his broadcasting career at CJOB in 1970, spending a total of 20 years there, including nine years as host of one of Canada’s first all-information morning shows. He also spent a total of 11 very rewarding years in Regina where his family roots run deep. He is once again active on radio, doing commentaries and a daily newscast on CJNU. He also serves on the board of the Nostalgia Broadcasting Cooperative. Roger has served on the boards of the major food banks in both Winnipeg and Regina. He also serves on the board of the Manitoba Lung Association. As a writer, Roger has done articles and columns for a variety of publications, both locally and nationally. In 2007, he wrote his first book. MTC 50 tells the story of the first half century of the Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre. Movies are Roger’s greatest passion. He has served on film classification boards in both Manitoba and Ontario. Roger is a father and grandfather. He lives in Winnipeg with his wife Janice.