Robin Williams is a name that can not and will not be forgotten. He has been one of Hollywood’s staple actors, comedians, and all around funny men with classics such as Jumanji, Mrs. Doubtfire, and, of course, the hilarious film, The Birdcage. However, Williams did not allow his funny side to overshadow his ability to be dramatic in roles such as What Dreams May Come, Patch Adams, and One Hour Photo. The actor was assumed to have suffered from depression, which, many believe, was the paramount cause for the actor’s suicide in August 2014. Now, William’s widow says that his suicide may have given the legendary comedian back his control over his own life, despite a deteriorating brain disease that was discovered post death.
Over a year after his death, Williams’ widow, Susan Schneider-Williams, finally sat down and opened up about the circumstances surrounding the actor’s death. The emotion of such an interview was undeniable and not without expectation. However, one of the underlying issues of such an interview, for many, has since escaped the media’s immediate attention. What is happening to celebrities in the industry where the issue of mental illness and diseases seem to find refuge in a premeditated facade only to ever be discussed when it is too late? It is no secret that fans and paparazzi alike can be (and have been) ruthless when there is personal business that is put out into the universe by a celebrity, or some nosey neighbor looking to make a quick check from some random tabloid.
Celebrities have always required and requested for privacy in moments of trauma. To simply be able to have the peace of mind to process; to not have to feel as though they must always be ‘on’ for the cameras. Yet, what happens when the woman whom no one really knew decides it is time to speak about the unspoken? When the husband that has entertained generations of people, struggles and ends his life in a final effort to make a choice that is solely his own; despite a disease attacking his brain? A moment of authenticity, pain, hurt, and transparency. That is what. William’s widow says that his final choice of suicide is what gave him back control over his life.
Sitting down with ABC News reporter Amy Robach, Schneider-Williams opened up about a brain deteriorating disease called Lewy body dementia. Schneider-Willams says that, despite the circumstances, she never expected her husband to commit suicide. “He was sick and tired of what was going on, absolutely…,” but, according to the teary-eyed widow, suicide was not something she thought Williams would consider. She says that he had too much life left inside him. The comedian’s widow compares Lewy body dementia to a sea-monster with numerous symptoms that can occur in one’s body at any given time. Yet, it can not be detected until the person is definitively deceased.
During the segment on Good Morning America, Robach asked Schneider, “Do you ever blame yourself? Do you have any regrets?“ Schnieder affirmatively told Robach, no, she does not blame herself nor does she have any regrets because she knows she did all she could with what she and Williams had at their disposal. Schneider-Williams continued as she also comforted those who she says may have felt like there was more they could do. She assured them that there was not.
Robach looked at Schneider who, at the moment, was seemingly filled with emotion, and asked her if she thought that Williams’ suicide was a way of taking his life back. Robach wanted to know if, in fact, it was a small move in an attempt to regain control that Williams had been losing over time. Schneider simply looked Robach in the face with a look of affirming power and said, “In my opinion, oh yeah. I think he was just saying no.” Whether Williams’ widow says his suicide gave him back control or whether it was simply a choice made by a man who could no longer endure it anymore, one thing is for sure. Robin Williams has forever marked this planet with his talent, laughter, jokes, and legacy.
Opinion by Danyol Jaye
Edited by Leigh Haugh
Entertainment Tonight–Robin Williams’ Wife Breaks Silence About Actor’s Suicide: ‘We Did Everything We Could’
Buzzfeed–Robin Williams’ Widow Says He Had Just Three Years to Live
CNN–Robin Williams’ Widow Speaks: Depression Didn’t Kill My Husband
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