Yesterday Robin Williams was found dead in his home, presumably as a result of suicide. I expect that the exact cause of death will be given in the next few days. One thing that I can say for certain is that he was a tortured soul. No amount or fame or riches can make a person immune to depression.
The best tribute I can give to Robin Williams is to talk about what he meant to me, as a film fan. When I hear his name, the first image that springs to mind is a scene from the Academy Awards about 10 years ago. He was sitting in the audience smiling, presumably amused by a bad joke told by the host. He looked so happy at the time. I can't remember what year it was or what films won awards that year, but I remember his face.
The first time I became aware of Robin Williams was round about 1995. That's probably later than most people, but at the time I lived in Germany and rarely went to the cinema. My real passion for films didn't begin until 2003, when I bought my first DVD player. My friend Robert Young, who lived in the same village as me, invited me to his apartment, and we watched "Mrs. Doubtfire" on video together. This was the first of many films that I saw him appear in.
People who know his career better than me refer to him as a comedian. I think of him as an actor, who has appeared in many outstanding roles. He was a talented actor who brought depth and emotion to whatever character he played. My favourite film of his is "Bicentennial Man", which I'll probably watch in the next few days. He may have left this Earth, but in his films he will live on forever.
July 21, 1951 – August 11, 2014