Monday, August 11, 2014

R.I.P. Robin Williams & Jonathan Winters

This afternoon while I was in a Cal Poly S.O.A.R. (Summer Orientation AND Registration) seminar I got a phone call from my mom which I could not take so I ignored it. Then my buddy Blake who is headed into Cal Poly this fall as well and is a fellow history major and whom was sitting next to me bumped my arm and showed me the news on his cell phone that the beloved and inimitable Robin Williams had been discovered dead today of an apparent self-inflected asphyxiation. As it turns out that is what mom was calling to to tell me given she knew my affection for Williams. I felt punched in the gut upon realizing this new reality. I rarely feel abject grief upon learning of celebrity deaths but as with John Candy this one was a punch in the gut. This man I had been following and enjoying his work since Mork & Mindy back in 1978-1982 was now gone forever and due to a preventable cause and yet one I can 100% understand. For me the entire Robin Williams phenomenon began with the aforementioned Mork & Mindy. One of the most memorable elements of that series was the appearance of fellow lifelong mental illness-afflicted actor and comedian Jonathan Winters who brought the best out of Williams and who was his compete equal when it came to improvisational stream-of-consciousness mad-cap zaniness. Below is my favorite clip of them together which is a perfect sampling of their shared comedic chemistry. I share this here as a tribute to not only the newly-departed Robin Williams but the late Jonathan Winters who died just last year.

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