Who is this?
- Sean Penn
- Robin Williams
- I can’t tell!
Robin Williams’ suicide is tragic, and yet perhaps it was inevitable. Like Philip Seymour Hoffman’s death by overdose was. Robin Williams was doing drugs with John Belushi the night he died, and that was 32 years ago, so in a way the only real surprise here is that he managed to double his lifespan.
Michael J. Fox and Robin Williams both returned to TV last fall, and both of their series were cancelled. I watched the premiere episodes of “The Michael J. Fox Show” in New Haven, with a group of doctors, scientists, and Parkinson Disease patients from the Institute for Neurodegenerative Disorders. We were spared having to sit through the commercials, because Mike had provided the Institute with a DVD copy.
Fox has often said that one positive outcome of his Parkinson’s diagnosis was that it got him to stop drinking. Before that he was downing at least two bottles of wine every night and, as we all know, Michael isn’t a large guy.
Williams checked himself into rehab in July, so presumably he was using alcohol and/or drugs again. I don’t know if losing his TV series had anything to do with Robin’s downward spiral into depression, but I assume that Michael is disappointed that his own show was cancelled. Neither depression nor Parkinson’s Disease are easy to live with, and the unrelenting progression of Parkinson’s causes many patients to become depressed and, yes, some of them commit suicide. [See my follow-up - Dograt] Instead of thinking how sad it is that Robin Williams killed himself, I’m thinking what an inspiration Michael J. Fox is.
By the way, episodes of “The Michael J. Fox Show” are still available online from NBC, at this link. Not everything in the sitcom worked for me, but I enjoyed it a lot, especially the really off-the-wall bits they did. The one tweak I would have made? Drop the “taking to the camera” gimmick, aka “breaking the fourth wall.”