I’m probably not breaking any news, Robin Williams died August 11th. You probably know him for his roles in Jumanji, Will Hunting, Hook, Dead Poets Society and bunch of other movies.
Death is always a surprise no matter how it happen. In the case of Robin Williams, it’s a different matter. I was astonished when I heard that the cause of death was suicide. I just couldn’t believe it. A sickness or an accident would have been way easier to accept. I’ve tried to figure out why he did it. I couldn’t find any answers. Out of curiosity, I’ve started researching about his past.
Williams was a workaholic He had problems handling fame. He had a past of alcohol and drug abuses. It is well known that he was taking coke in 1982 (look for John Belushi’s death). In 1988, he said in the people magazine: “Cocaine was a place to hide. Most people get hyper on coke. It slowed me down.” Then, for 20 years he was clean. In 2006, he was in rehab because of relapsed. His demons weren’t anything new. He has suffered from depression in the past. He wasn’t the ideal projection than most people thought he was. I’ve noticed a pattern that most of us have. We think that fame, success and money are necessarily equal to happiness. We are far from the reality. Celebrities are humans just like us. They can feel depress, they can feel bad and they can be unhappy. We tend to see the life of celebrities as fairy tales. We tend to see them as ideal people with perfect life. Famous people have flaws just like us.
“I’m shy, paranoid, whatever word you want to use. I hate fame. I’ve done everything I can to avoid it.” – Johnny Depp
People are fast to judge that he was weak, that he was selfish to commit suicide. No matter what we can say, the man was in deep pain. He couldn’t handle it anymore. Most of us don’t know how it feels to be famous. How would you react if all people you cross in the street knew who you are? Some people can simply not adapt to fame. Johnny Depp is good example of someone who disdain fame. On my part, I know I would totally hate it.
33 years ago, Robin Williams addressed the dark side of fame in the Mork & Mindy Show. He was playing an alien meeting Robin Williams. He was doing an investigation about fame on earth. At some point during the episode, he said: “Being a star, sir, is a 24-hour job and you can’t leave your face at the office.” It’s like he was already seeing fame as a prison.