Remembering Robin Williams On The Fourth Anniversary Of His Death
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It was four years ago today that actor and comedian Robin Williams died, and left us with a little less magic in the world than there was when he was alive.
He was 63 when he took his own life, leaving behind an impressive legacy of work and, beyond that, an incredible ability to make viewers feel an incredible array of emotions.
Usually, it was laughter that he dealt out while performing. Born in Chicago on July 21, 1951, Williams started off as a stand-up comedian in 1970s San Francisco.
Although he struggled with the pressures of starting out on the circuit - something that led him to start using alcohol and drugs - it led to a few TV appearances, which in turn landed him the role of alien Mork on an episode of Happy Days in 1978.
From that, the spin-off show Mork & Mindy was born, in which he starred alongside Pam Dawber. It last just four seasons, but turned Robin Williams into a household name, thanks to his relatable comedic talents and his ability to effortlessly merge the absurd with the poignant.
His first major film was as the title character in 1980's Popeye, and while it wasn't perhaps his finest role, it marked the beginning of an extensive and successful Hollywood career that demonstrated his versatility as an actor.
1982's The World According To Garp, based on the novel of the same name, demonstrated Williams' incredible ability to convey the full spectrum of complex human emotions effortlessly and naturally - he could make you laugh and cry at the same time.
He did that throughout his career, and gave some of his most powerful performances in Good Morning, Vietnam, Dead Poets Society and Good Will Hunting - he won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor in 1997 for his role in the latter. He also had one of the most heartwarming smiles ever captured on film.
He never gave up being a goofball either, as roles in Mrs Doubtfire, Hook and Jumanji showed, and he was also able to play creepy pretty damn well, which you'll know if you've ever seen One Hour Photo.
Of course, like so many people who suffer from mental health issues and/or depression - especially those in public eye - Williams presented a happy-go-lucky version of himself to the world that, unlike the complex characters he was so good at playing, kept his darknesses firmly hidden.
He was an incredibly talented actor (and an incredibly funny comedian) but beneath all of his fame and success, he was a human being just like the rest of us. And just like the rest of us, he craved love and friendship and kindness, and sadly felt the world could no longer offer those things to him.
That's something nobody should ever feel, but plenty do on a daily basis.
'U OK M8?' is an initiative from LADbible in partnership with a range of mental health charities which features a series of films and stories to raise awareness of mental health.
Explore more here and don't suffer in silence. Reach out. It's the brave thing to do.
MIND: 0300 123 3393.
Samaritans: 116 123.
CALM: Outside London 0808 802 5858, inside London 0800 58 58 58.
Australians can call Lifeline on 131114, Kids Helpline on 1800 55 18000 or visit the National Centre Against Bullying website.