Robin Williams RIP

From a National Catholic Register article

By Steven D. Greydanus

In the flood of commentary and sorrow surrounding the death of Robin Williams, apparently by suicide, so many are struggling over what to say about a man who seemed never to be at a loss for words.

Not many people who have ever worked in Hollywood were as starkly in a class by themselves as Williams. You can compare what Meryl Streep or Daniel Day-Lewis do to the work of other actors; you can’t really compare Williams to anyone. Not when he was doing what he did best. Steven Spielberg’s phrase “a lightning storm of comic genius” captures that sense of Williams as a force of nature, explosive, unpredictable, one flash of inspiration followed by another seemingly without interruption. If he was ever truly at a loss while he was “on,” I never saw it.

Looking back, there is no reason why “Nanu nanu” should ever have become such a ubiquitous catchphrase, let alone something we remember decades later. There is no reason a novelty character trotted out in the declining seasons of Happy Days as a foil for one of 1970s TV’s most iconic characters, the Fonz, after he had literally jumped the shark, should have clicked so strongly with audiences as to lead to a spin-off series. No reason, except that you couldn’t look away from Williams. Whatever he was going to say next, you wanted to hear it.

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