Published: 11th August 2021
#ThrowbackToday: The legacy of laughter left behind by actor Robin Williams
In today's #TBT, we remember American actor and comedian Robin Williams for all the times he made us laugh and reminded us that, "You're only given a little spark of madness. You mustn't lose it."
O Captain! My Captain!
Upon reading the above line, you'll either remember the poem of the same title penned by Walt Whitman or actor Robin Williams and the movie The Dead Poet's Society. Or both.
Starting out as a stand-up comedian, Robin Williams went on to play roles in Mrs Doubtfire, Jumanji, Good Will Hunting (for which he won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor) and the Night at the Museum trilogy. At the age of 63 on August 11, 2014 this American actor died by suicide and it was only later, after the postmortem to be precise, that it was found out that it was dementia with Lewy body disease (a kind of dementia which results in changes in sleep, behaviour and more) that could have been the driving force behind him taking his own life.
Williams' death sparked a lot of talk around mental health and depression, which he was known to suffer from. The versatile actor was popular for his comical roles, but it was soon clear that privately, he was silently suffering a lot. Now we know why he gave us a quote like, "Comedy is acting out optimism".
The annual Robin Williams Legacy of Laughter Award has been instituted in Williams' memory by his three children.