Archives: August 2014

Iconic, legendary, genius? Perspectives on Robin Williams

Robin Williams

Mork from Ork?

I wasn’t a fan of Robin Williams. Nor was I a hater. I’ve seen very few of his films and none that I’ve loved or loathed.

I was vaguely aware that he wasn’t an altogether happy man. And I know that while a couple of his films gained vast critical acclaim, he mainly ploughed a different furrow, starring in a succession of family-friendly films that were big on light comedy with a side-serving of schmaltz.

So it comes as a bit of a surprise to hear that, on the occasion of his sad and untimely demise, he is being accorded legendary status. But only ‘a bit’ of a surprise…

Death confers greatness

I certainly don’t remember his ever being called a genius in his lifetime. But of course, death confers all sorts of greatness on us.

Robin Williams leaves behind a body of work that will go on entertaining people. And that’s a good epitaph, surely? He leaves behind so many people – family, friends and fans – who loved him. That’s a wonderful epitaph.

But in quotes and on Twitter, his friends seem desperate to outdo each other; to claim he was a ‘genius,’ a ‘legendary’ performer – as if to say that he was a good and popular comic actor somehow does him a disservice. As if to say that he was fine friend somehow sells him short.