Earlier today, Robin Williams was found unconscious in his California home. Shortly thereafter, he was pronounced dead of an apparent suicide.
I’m struggling to get these words out, because the shock of this hit me pretty hard. We lose a lot of great people in the entertainment industry every year, and some losses hit harder than others. This one’s hard for me, because I grew up during the peak of his cinematic saturation. I owe a lot of laughter to Robin Williams.
Like laughter, depression is a powerful thing. According to Williams’ press representative, Williams had been struggling with severe depression lately, and it’s difficult to think about how much pain he must have been feeling.
In the wake of this sudden loss, I find myself compelled to watch the episode of Louie in which Williams appeared. It’s surprising how often Louie explores the subject of death, and this episode (a split episode titled Barney/Never) is one of the more poignant meditations on death seen on the show. Williams’ warm, kind performance is one of the biggest reasons the episode works so well.
I can’t help but tear up at the part when Williams asks Louie to attend his funeral. “Whoever dies first,” requests Williams. It’s haunting.
Williams was 63.