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There Will Never Be Another Robin Williams

Charles Sykes/Invision/AP

Charles Sykes/Invision/AP

He was arguably the funniest man alive, until, shockingly, he wasn’t.

Robin Williams was found dead of asphyxia in Marin County, Calif., on Monday. The investigation is ongoing, but his publicist reportedly said he was battling depression.

Williams was a rare, transcendent performer who excelled at nearly all his endeavors. One of the all-time great stand-up comedians, he became a TV star, then a movie star, then an Oscar winner. It’s the comedian’s curse to want to be taken seriously, but Williams did that with roles in films such as “Dead Poets Society” and “Good Will Hunting,” for which he won the Academy Award.

He entertained generations of Americans in his too-short life, appearing in a huge range of characters, from the animated genie in Disney’s “Aladdin” to the divorced dad who misses his kids so much he goes in drag as their nanny in “Mrs. Doubtfire.”

Williams was chancy with his career, willing to appear in offbeat and downright weird movies such as “One Hour Photo,” “Death to Smoochy” and “What Dreams May Come.” Whatever missteps, we always seemed to welcome back that manic teddy bear, whose machine gun fire, stream of consciousness delivery hurled impressions and jokes at us like a fire hose.

Williams struggled with addiction throughout his career, but he always stayed productive, popular and, without question, funny.

A friend on social media said it best, referencing Williams’ English teacher John Keating and his beloved Walt Whitman: “Oh captain, my captain.”

The king is dead. Long live the king.

— Posted by Peter Z. Scheer

Peter Z. Scheer
Managing Editor
Peter Scheer grew up in the newspaper business, spending family vacations with his mother at newspaper editors' conferences, enjoying daycare in editorial departments and begrudgingly reviewing his father's…
Peter Z. Scheer
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