There is something different about the world today. Something is gone, off in the distance but nonetheless palpable. It’s not often that I eulogize stars; not often that I even think of them or remember their roles or the names of their shows. This time it’s different. This … is one that I remember … almost know or think that I do. There’s always been something emotionally risky about the man, something that drove him up to the edge; something scary I picked up from him in spite of his outstanding humor, talent, supremely challenging roles. He would go too far, put too much of himself into the role. That’s what made him such a fabulous actor, but it’s also what worried me about him. There were insufficient boundaries – no limits to what he would do to fully occupy the role; to fully immerse himself in the persona of the moment. It seemed to me, always the therapist, that he didn’t keep enough of himself for himself.
That’s what scared me about Robin Williams. I always saw deep sadness, bordering on hopelessness in his eyes, even if they sparkled with laughter. In his quiet moments, in an acting role or in a TV interview, I saw his despair. Many of the things I’ve read about him: his need for an audience, his discomfort with ‘one-on-one’ encounters, his substance abuse, depression, all those things fit my ‘sense’ of him and while I think he was the finest broad spectrum actor I’ve ever seen, he always felt fragile to me. While I enjoyed him, those viewing experiences they were accompanied by my own mental subtext that read ‘this man is in pain.’