Battle Students React to Robin Williams’ Death

Chase Lampkin, Staff Member

Nobody expected it, nobody saw it coming, so why has the death of Robin Williams affected so many people? Williams died in his home on August 11, 2014. The cause of death is what creates the confusion for many, which was suicide. Throughout his career, Williams had the ability to make a lasting impact on the world of comedy and the way people would perceive that genre. With works like Mrs. Doubtfire, Aladdin, Good Will Hunting, andDead Poets’ Society, Williams successfully landed himself among Hollywood’s’ A-listers and was able to keep this star power up until his tragic death.

Hannah Blackmore, a senior at Battle, said Williams’ death was “surprising because I didn’t know that he was that depressed.” This brings up an idea, because it shows us just how much celebrities can hide from the public, and what can happen when they keep this depression all stored away. Because Williams had an extremely successful career before many of us were born, we all had to learn about his movies after their original release; Hannah learned about this from her father whose favorite actor was Robin Williams. Hannah believes that Williams’ death will not create a higher level of suicide awareness to the majority of the population; however, she does feel as though the suicide prevention rates will go up in Hollywood. I think this provides an interesting view on what the public feels to be important now, because one won’t see these Hollywood executives going out to help someone struggling with depression unless this person is famous.

A very questionable thought has also come out of Williams’ death, as it has been highly publicized and took over many media outlets for weeks. This also caused people using social media to express their opinions on the comedian’s suicide. Andie Nolla, a freshman at Battle said, “I think that it will show that people who appear to be happy, aren’t actually always happy,” Williams was a very sought after comedian, so many would assume that he had to be happy if he was making us laugh but the case seems to be very different. While in the limelight of Hollywood, Williams had some issues dealing with addiction, substance abuse, and also a declining state of health. In the 1970s and 1980s, Williams had dealt with a very strong addiction to cocaine, but overcame it and continued to be healthy, but in 2009 he began to heave some troubles with his heart and went to the hospital. The most important piece about his health is the disease that many think sent him to commit suicide, which is Parkinson’s. After being diagnosed with the disease Williams life seemed to take a downward spiral which is why many believe he grew tired of living.

The most interesting question to me is, why? Why would his death be broadcasted to millions, while the suicide of a bullied teen is broadcasted to none? Why would people act as if he had no option, when many call suicide a selfish act? I asked two Battle High School students from two very different grade levels, and two different perspectives why Williams’ death was so impactful. Hannah Blackmore thinks that his death is more widely known due to his star power, and by the fact that many idolize these celebrities, and when they die the idea that they are human too comes flooding in. Andie Holla thinks that we know celebrities at a certain personal level, just due to their involvement in the world and the connection we have to them which creates a kind of bond that is not easily broken.

Throughout his career, Williams had the ability to make everyone around him happy, and he could brighten anyone’s day, so his cause of death made many people question what we really know about people. I think that the death of Robin Williams is going to cause an outpouring of support and an increasing amount of people that will confront you if they believe that something is wrong. Williams will never be forgotten for his tremendous impact on the world of pop culture and the world of comedy.