|Robin Williams -- July 21, 1951 – August 11, 2014|
As were many others. I was devastated [as much as one can be devastated by the loss off a person one never met] by yesterday's announcement of Robin Williams' untimely death. He was the ultimate iconic comedic actor of my lifetime. While he participated in the making of too many brilliant works to list here, my personal favorite was probable Dead Poets Society, although it's hard to argue against either Good Will Hunting or Good Morning, Viet Nam. My childhood favorite was Mrs. Doubtfire.
The death has yet to officially be ruled a suicide, but it's looking that way. Williams had been treated for depression and for substance abuse related to depression. If his death was, indeed, self-inflicted, we may never know what drove him to such a drastic and final act. All I know is that the world lost a genius far too soon. Rest in peace, Robin Williams.
Billy Joel performed "Summer Highland Falls" in a concert that featured questions and answers from the audience. An audience member asked him what inspired the lyrics. In his answer, which follows his performance of the song, he alluded to the idea that many artists of one genre or another, or highly creative people in general, often deal with extreme emotional highs and lows. I don't know if Robin Williams' diagnosis ever included bi-polarism, but it seems to fit.
Eventually effective ways of treating this very legitimate condition will be found. (It may not yet be able to be spotted on an MRI as a tumor can be, but it is, nonetheless, every bit as real.) Progress is being made as I type, but the progress is not happening fast enough. Until better solutions are found, lives will be affected for the worse or lost because of this very real condition. The world is a poorer place if the Robin Williamses of the world do not live out their natural lives.