Two Faces of Robin Williams — Marisa Gaetz

A reminder to be kind. What one presents to the world is not necessarily how one feels of oneself.

Robin Williams in an atypical serious pose.


Robin Williams in an atypical serious pose.

On August 11th of this year, the legendary comedian, actor, and filmmaker, Robin Williams, was found dead in his California home at age 63. The cause of death, suicide by hanging, came as a shock to his fans everywhere. Many people had a hard time imagining the light-hearted and often goofy actor they had seen on television being anything but that. As his motivations for suicide were more closely investigated, it was revealed that Williams had bipolar disorder. Although it is not always in the spotlight, many actors and comedians suffer from this. The disorder causes its victims to have spurts of creativity and energy that result in the great works seen by the public. However, on the other side of the spectrum, these people suffer from severe depression. In an interview, Robin Williams stated that he is much different at home than he is on stage because he cannot always be “on.” In addition to the bipolar disorder and depression, Williams had also struggled with drugs and alcohol. Williams had been sober for 20 years after quitting cold turkey because of the overdose of his friend and fellow comedian, John Belushi; however, he gradually fell back into alcohol abuse around 2003.

Sorry, there are no polls available at the moment.

Williams’s break out roll was as a funny alien, Mork, in a sitcom called Mork & Mindy. Around this time, Williams also did stand up comedy, which was where his brilliance in comedy really showed. He had amazingly quick and witty responses paired with intelligence and a voice that could seemingly morph into any other voice. He went on to have many other successful rolls in movies including Dead Poet’s Society, Mrs. Doubtfire, Aladdin, Good Will Hunting, and The Fisher King. Although his lighthearted rolls are perhaps what come to mind when thinking of his acting, many of his characters were very offbeat and dark. For example, in the movie One Hour Photo, Williams plays an obsessed and disturbing loner.

By seeing him as characters who were jolly and lovable as well as characters who were serious and dark, viewers perhaps got a look at the two sides of Robin Williams. In both styles, Williams put his heart and personality into the character, possibly showing a side of his personality rather than just a character. Because of these convincing rolls, his death hit close to the hearts of many, because they truly felt that they knew him.