Despite what the 24/7, Hollywood gossip industry (and it IS an industry) continues to crank out regarding the death by suicide of Robin Williams, nothing they could say (or imply) would ever make me change my opinion of him.
I don’t want or need to know the specifics of how it happened. I’m comfortable sitting that part of the story out.
I’d rather celebrate his life. (Which is exactly what his family said in a statement released shortly after the news broke.)
Two things come to mind today when I think about Robin Williams, and neither can be found on TMZ.
The first is his appearance with Johnny Carson during the taping of the final episodes of The Tonight Show in 1992. Johnny had asked for Robin specifically to appear on the show. It was a spot any A+ star would have given their right arm for.
Take notice of the undisputed king of late night television as he watches.
HE’S IN AWE.
And Johnny Carson was not an easy man to impress. He wanted him on that final show for a reason.
The second thing has nothing specific to do with Robin Williams, yet seems appropriate given the circumstances of his death.
There will be a national discussion about mental illness and suicide prevention in the aftermath of this tragedy. There should be.
In 2012, Vice President Biden shared a personal story with an audience of military families who had recently lost a family member.
Amazingly, Biden actually does something most politicians spend a lifetime in the public eye trying not to do.
In sharing a personal story about the death of his wife and daughter years ago in an auto accident, he breaks character long enough to actually be real with his audience.
In the process, he manages to give us some insight into what could actually drive a “sane” person to contemplate suicide. It’s unsettling and honest, unlike any politician you’ve ever seen on the stump. Eventually, he talks about his long, road back from the abyss and how he found the will to go on with his life.
I realize some dismiss Biden as a gaffe machine. It’s not a completely unfounded accusation. But put your politics aside for a moment and watch a man lay bare his soul, for everyone to see.
You might learn something about Robin Williams in the process.