Robin Williams is dead at 63 and of a reported suicide. This is a really sad day and week. For this vlogger personally, Robin Williams represented San Francisco Bay Area creative genius. He was, as they say, “up there” with Steve Jobs (seen talking with him in the featured photo), and other mavericks, in many different walks of life, who have come to make up the always wonderful and unique culture of the Bay Area.
And, like all of the greats, Robin Williams was not just local, he was personable and accessible. He was a person who always made you feel happy. A person who always seemed to take life with a light air, and it’s because of that, that his death, and the way he died, is so very shocking.
The Marin Independent Journal has a series of very moving interviews with neighbors, all of whom describe him as “kind” and “friendly” and just a normal person. Here’s an excerpt:
Jeffrey Trotter, artistic director at Independent Cabaret Productions in San Francisco, first met Williams in 1976 at the college. The two were in a show together and Trotter remembers Williams’ antics.
“He would climb into this tree outside the theater and yell at the top of his lungs, ‘Woman, I want a woman,'” Trotter said. “His death is a phenomenal loss of a great artist.”
For Lucy Mercer, executive artistic director of 142 Throckmorton Theatre in Mill Valley, Williams’ death came as a huge blow. The two were close friends and often mingled with local comedians.
“Robin warmed the hearts of all those who had the good fortune of being in his presence. He embodied what it meant to be humble. He doused us in his love and positive glow and never asked for anything in return. He spent many Tuesday evenings backstage and onstage — encouraging the younger generation of comics to believe in the craft and find their unique voice,” Mercer said in a statement.
Henry Winkler, who’s best known as ‘The Fonz’ on Happy Days, just said on CNN, that Williams was a “ball of energy,” so it should come as no surprise that he took up bike racing to get out some of that energy.
I saw him annually at San Francisco The Escape To Alcatraz Triathlon – you could not miss him, because the crowd of fans around him announced his arrival. He took time for fans, too. Not stand-offish. And he was a great biker – he would not mess around out there one bit. That I can tell you as an expert spectator of the scene.
It’s indeed massively shocking to know this news. Now, I wonder what happened. What was it? What pushed him? And what could we have done to stop him from doing that.
Whatever was going on Robin Williams was one thing: damn funny. I mean, not just funny, but damn, freaking funny. He had a way of moving into this rapid fire, stream of words that would take off on political and social tangents, and had you laughing so hard you wanted to fart uncontrollably.
Yep. He was that good.
A real sad day and a real sad week.