In 1995 a film was released which would bring in to my life, one of the greatest actors I would ever witness. ‘Jumanji’ was a piece of on-screen genius and to a kid, like me, it would forever cement in my mind that one of the funniest men on the planet was the incredibly talented Robin Williams. Now it’s well worth noting that, at this point in my brief existence, I didn’t know the name ‘Robin Williams’; but knew him instead as “that strange man” or ” that funny man”; and that’s alright by me. When you’re a child, you’re not influenced by names or fame or reputation; you’re moved simply by pure on-screen presence; something of which Mr Williams was most definitely not lacking.
When you watch films like ‘Jumanji’, ‘Jack’, ‘Hook’ or ‘Flubber’; you see-as a child- a fellow child, masquerading as a fully grown adult. You see a crazy man, jumping and making funny voices, pulling funny faces and talking to a piece of green jelly. This is of course, something Robin Williams did rather well. But don’t forget his other roles; serious, striking and powerful. My favourite of these is most definitely ‘Good Will Hunting’. I wont in any way describe the film; I wouldn’t want to ruin it for you; but take some time out of your day to watch it, because Williams’ acting is leaps and bounds beyond what most actors could pull out of any of their hats during their entire career.
Getting back to the reasons I loved this man growing up. One of which is that, quite simply, he was there while I was growing up. There aren’t many actors; in fact you could probably count them on one hand; who made the positive impact on my childhood quite like Robin Williams. It is-when I think about it-probably the reason i’m such the stubborn person I am today. He taught us kids that growing up (and no, this isn’t just a Peter Pan reference) was out-dated and frankly, boring. He taught us that nothing in life should be taken too seriously; unless of course that something is your flying car, or your real-life jungle board game.
I honestly don’t think that we will ever see an actor who in any way matches Robin Williams’ on-screen comedic presence; or who can compare to his adorable and loving nature; whilst still managing to be a serious and imposing hero at the same time. I might be wrong, but i’m pretty sure he was most certainly one of a kind, and future comedic actors had best be aware that they have got some seriously large shoes to fill.
When I first heard of Robin Williams’ passing, I couldn’t believe it, and I am still trying to come to terms with it. I’d lost a childhood and adulthood hero and i’ll be honest, it’s difficult to accept.
My point is, that Williams was an example of a life lived, not endured; and that is my entire life philosophy in four short words. To quote the man himself, ‘you’re only given one little spark of madness; you mustn’t lose it’.
It was shocking and heart-breaking news for me to hear; but my thoughts go out to his wife and children during this tragic time.
RIP, Funny Man, you’ll be truly missed, but never forgotten.