[Source: Entertainment Weekly]
Academy Award winner Robin Williams dies at 63. He was one of Hollywood’s most delightful, iconic actors and he will surely be missed.
It’s hard to imagine that the jovial man pictured above would have any reason to end his life. Whatever the reason for his death may be, the public should focus on what he did with his life and remember that among so much greed in Hollywood, he was one of the good ones. He was an actor that we associated with things that made us happy. He was someone that demanded a smile or a laugh despite how you were feeling. He was more than an actor or comedian…he was a genuinely good person.
Outside of winning an Oscar for “Good Will Hunting” or dressing in drag as our favorite British nanny in “Mrs. Doubtfire,” Robin Williams was a true humanitarian. He had a passion for helping the unfortunate through more than just money, he took action. When he played the role of “Patch Adams,” a doctor who believed that laughter helped the terminally ill, it wasn’t that far of a stretch. In addition to a variety of other causes he supported, he was an avid supporter of St. Jude’s hospital and their battle against children’s cancer. The video below is just one of many commercials he had done supporting St. Jude to help raise an astounding $72 million dollars. If you search online, you’ll find more videos than you can count featuring Williams and a patient of St. Jude.
Robin Williams also was a part of the Comic Relief charitable event alongside Billy Crystal and Whoopi Goldberg. The event, frequently held on HBO, helped to feed and house the homeless and was a huge success. It drew in a number of celebrities who participated in the event, but the constants over the years have always been Robin Williams, Billy Crystal, and Whoopi Goldberg.
When Robin Williams’ close friend and former college classmate Christopher Reeve (“Superman”) was paralyzed, he immediately took action funding much of his treatment and joining the board of the later charitable organization, the Christopher Reeve Foundation. Despite contributing financially, he contributed to many of the moments of happiness in Christopher Reeves’ life after the accident. Christopher Reeves’ first laugh after his accident was a result of Robin Williams visiting him dressed as a doctor and claiming to be his proctologist. The true sign of a gifted comedian is bringing laughter to someone in the most dire of situations.
Robin Williams was involved in a plethora of other charities and causes as well. He toured the Middle East five times with the USO tour to help with troop morale and in 2010 donated 100% of the proceeds from his shows to earthquake victims in New Zealand. The list of other involvements encompass every realm of charity including human rights, environmental, education, health care, war veterans and soldiers, a variety of diseases, and even animal cruelty. The full list can be found at LooktotheStars.org.
The one story that I found most inspiring was a conversation I had with a co-worker about 10 years ago, forgive me if I paraphrase. She told me about her uncle who had a window business in California and he had the opportunity to work on Robin Williams’ house. It was a hot day and her uncle and his workers were working even harder in the excruciating heat. Despite their hard work, they were forced to stop what they were doing because Robin Williams came outside and demanded it. He claimed that it was too hot for them to be working so hard and without knowing these individuals, invited them into his home for some cold drinks. Out of all of the great things Robin Williams has done, this act struck a chord with me. Helping a child with cancer or the homeless are actions of apparent charity that are amazing, but the small charitable acts of just being kind to an everyday individual are frequently lost. That story, whether embellished or not, is what made me look a little closer into the life of Robin Williams. It made me see that he was someone that didn’t just care about someone when it was appropriate, he cared about others even at the least opportunistic moments which I find to be the most genuine acts of kindness.
Robin Williams was a man that cared for others more than himself. He saw the power that his gift of laughter and kindness could bring the world and ensured that he pushed himself above his own limits when it came to charity. Among the cynics in this world, he was an idealist that believed there was no such thing as never, as long as you never gave up.
“No matter what people tell you, words and ideas can change the world.”
Robin Williams – 1951 to 2014