It seems like yesterday he made me smile

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In 1977, I was all of 12 years old. In that time, television was purer, fewer channels to choose from, pretty much everyone was watching the same things. Monday Night Baseball/Football, Johnny Carson, and the news was then brought to us by Camel Cigarettes courtesy of Walter Cronkite and the CBS News team.

For kids, we were routine with shows like Batman, The Monkees, The Waltons and Happy Days. While Dad and Mom tuned into Gunsmoke, we were watching the Duke Boys (and girl) tear up the roads of Hazzard County.

I remember the episode of Happy Days as if it were yesterday. I looked up the date; it was 1977, not so much yesterday after all. Robin Williams made an appearance as Mork from Ork. The show was a two-parter, the cliffhanger was The Fonz frozen by Mork, but what we as kids were seeing was one of the very first television debuts of a comedic mastermind.

With one more walk-on appearance, the television show Mork & Mindy was created with co-star Pam Dawber and it bridged the gap between adults and children’s television. Funny, even stupid at time, the show was an instant hit with audiences. The show aired 92 episodes from 1978 through 1982. A short run by most television standards, but Williams would win his first Golden Globe for Best Actor and launch a career that touched the entire American populations.

While a comedic genius he was, a serious actor he could be as well. Joining John Lithgow for T.S. Garp, Williams played T.S. Garp in a serious role with his usual comic undertones. The trend continued and in 1987 Good Morning Vietnam depicted Williams as radio personality that refused to understand wartime radio. Bucking the system, Williams is eventually relieved of his radio duty after tragedy. Williams was then nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actor and won Best Actor in a motion picture — Golden Globe.

It would take 10 years and his box office hits just racked up including Mrs. Doubtfire, Aladdin, The Fisher King, Awakenings and Dead Poets Society to name a few. In 1997 Williams landed Academy Gold with Good Will Hunting. Starring beside a young Matt Damon, Williams won the award for Best Supporting Actor.

But Williams had a softer side, one for his audience that he first appealed to, the kids. Known on the family film circuit for hits such as Flubber, Aladdin, Patch Adams and Night at the Museum.
Williams took roles on that addressed world issues such as FernGully: The Last Rain Forest, starring as the voice of Batty Coda, a bat that found its way to the forest after a stint in chemical animal testing facilities. He played the part of Dwight D. Eisenhower in The Butler, a new look at racism in American over the past four decades.

Recently, Williams stared is 22 episode of The Crazy Ones, however this show had been cancelled by the network. Three movies are still to be released including Merry Friggin’ Christmas, Night at the Museum III and Absolutely Anything (voice).

According to news reports, Williams was found dead in his home on Monday August 11 at roughly noon. Reports have flooded the Internet that Williams was found dead due to as asphyxiation in his Northern California home from what is being reported as a suicide. Reportedly, Williams was suffering from depression and had recently showed signs according to a statement made by the family.

I for one will miss this talented actor and comedian. Having followed his career from it’s beginning, I feel a kinship, as I’m sure does most of the world which is now a little sadder not having Robin Williams in it.

Dennis Phillips | Robertson County News

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