Last night, Hollywood lost one of its greatest stars. A towering and indomitable force of uproarious laughter and wit, Williams ranks as one of the greatest comics in the history of cinema. From Good Morning, Vietnam to Patch Adams, The Birdcage to Aladdin (which is possibly the greatest voice performance in any animated film in history), Williams was a rare talent, whom nobody disliked, with a tremendously bankable box office appeal because everyone trusted in his unique talent. Unlike many of his contemporaries (Jim Carrey, Eddie Murphy et al), his zany and breathless antics never plunged into the realms of egomania; he served only to make us laugh, not to stoke his own persona. Williams was the court jester who wanted us simply to laugh at him, not worship him as a result. The irony is, he’ll be remembered as the more worthy talent of hero-worship than all of the others.
Williams' later career was peppered with these darker roles, which were perhaps indicative of the star's internal struggles through addiction toward his tragic suicide last night. Williams will always be remembered for his gleeful energy however; a family entertainer, his talents were often at their greatest when simply trying to make children laugh. Flubber, Jumanji, Big and Father's Day all saw him clowning on screen like Laurel and Hardy, or Charlie Chaplin. Slapstick, physical and farce-like, his humour was safe and almost saccharine, not betraying for a moment that darker side that would eventually lead to his death. I, like many, saw Williams as a man who still held that spark of youth, who'd never let go of his childlike view of the world... Almost as though he really was the grown up Peter Pan that I grew up with in Hook.