Robin Williams: Not 'a Faster Brain on the Planet'

At least when it came to comedy; tributes rolling in

By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff

Posted Aug 12, 2014 7:49 AM CDT

(Newser) – After Robin Williams' sudden death, the tributes are rolling in, with many recalling a comic genius grappling with private challenges. A sampling:

  • When it comes to comedy, "there wasn't a faster brain on the planet," writes Tony Hicks in the Contra Costa Times. We'll be hearing "a litany of tributes about one of the great comedians who ever lived. Much of it will be some of the same adjectives used when any great performer dies—especially before their time. But in Williams' case, most of it will be true."

  • Early in his career, "it was clear that Mr. Williams was one of the most explosively, exhaustingly, prodigiously verbal comedians who ever lived," AO Scott writes in the New York Times. And beyond that, "his essential persona as an entertainer combined neediness and generosity, intelligence and kindness, in ways that were charming and often unexpectedly moving."
  • Williams may have gotten his start long before Aladdin, but he gave a "generous and humble" gift to the millennial generation, writes Daniel D'Addario at Salon. "Williams will be remembered for his edgy comedy and for dramatic turns, but for people my age, Williams was our childhood," from Mrs. Doubtfire to Jumanji to Flubber.
  • In the Los Angeles Times, Kenneth Turan recalls a moment when, facing an onslaught of photographers, Williams asked him—in the voice of a fly from a 1950s sci-fi flick—to "help me, Ken. Help me." The experience stuck with him and seems particularly resonant today, he writes.

This 1982 file photo originally released by Warner Bros. Pictures shows Robin Williams as T.S. Garp from the film The World According to Garp.
This 1982 file photo originally released by Warner Bros. Pictures shows Robin Williams as T.S. Garp from the film "The World According to Garp."   (AP Photo/Warner Bros., File)
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