Many of us remember Robin Williams as Mork from “Mork & Mindy” (previously of Happy Days). A kooky “alien” that starred opposite of Pam Dawber. It was suppose to be just as much a breakout role for her as it was for Williams but just like many of the times he took a stage he stole the spotlight.
Along with his stand-up “Mork & Mindy” helped launch his career where he went on to play larger than life characters such as his first leading role as Popeye in 1980. He went on to play Peter Pan (Hook), Genie (Aladin), Alan Parrish (Jumaniji), John Keating (Dead Poets Society), and Sean Maguire in Good Will Hunting that won him his first Oscar after being nominated numerous times. These are just a handful of roles most remember him by. But perhaps one of the more underrated roles that doesn’t get talk about much in Williams career is that of Seymour Parrish.
This character was not one that would make us laugh until we cried with crazy antics – or pull at our heart strings by deconstructing the human psyche as he did in Good Will Hunting. Instead it was a character study of a sad lonely man whom worked at a One Hour Photo in a big box store. Processing photos each day in a meticulous manner and loving every minute of what he did. Perhaps wrapping himself up in a job so much that he lost himself in order to feel something normal in his life. While processing the photos he saw ideal images of happy families and milestones in other peoples lives all while striving to create them for himself – but never reaching those goals. In a sense it was a character study of depression that spirals out of control into something darker as the film progresses. Mixing these kind of emotions with a film that was beautiful shot and meticulously art directed made for a very creepy film and one of my favorite Thrillers.
This inside look at Seymour was another defining role for Williams. Another display of his range. While he will always be remembered as a comedian, I will remember him most for three films that were never meant to really make us laugh. Good Will Hunting, Dead Poets Society and One Hour Photo.
Celebrate his life this week. For all the times he made us laugh and all the times we were in awe. While doing so think about your friends that suffer from depression. Your loved ones. Yourself. Ask how can I help them? How can you help yourself? Many of us have suffer from depression or have known someone who has. Things can slip away quick but just remember there are people here to help. Ironically, I saw Good Will Hunting in theaters the weekend it came out. Later that night I would arrive home and find out my father had passed away from what appeared to be suicide. Was it accidental or on purpose? I don’t know. We weren’t close during that time in his life. I know I’ve struggle with bouts of depression many times in my life. It can be embarrassing, humiliating and debilitating if you let it. But it can also make you stronger. Strive for more and think how your loss would effect others. Then apply that to yourself. You are loved.
“Robin was a lightning storm of comic genius and our laughter was the thunder that sustained him. He was a pal and I can’t believe he’s gone.” — Steven Spielberg
“Robin and I were great friends, suffering from the same little-known disease: depression. I never could have expected this ending to his life, and to ours with him. God bless him and God bless us all for his LIFE! I cannot believe this. I am overwhelmed with grief. What a wonderful man/boy and what a tremendous talent in the most important art of any time – comedy! I loved him.” — Chevy Chase
“Robin was as sweet a man as he was funny. If you’re sad, please tell someone.” — Jimmy Kimmel