Dear Robin, (may I call you Robin?)
I wish I could have said this to you in person. Unfortunately, I never had the opportunity to be graced in your presence. I hope my thoughts can reach you now.
You’ve been a part of my life since I can remember. 1978, just before my 7th birthday, “Mork & Mindy” hits the air and I was captivated. The crazy handshakes, laugh, and dialogue kept me staring at the television (sans blinking) for 30 minutes every week. One time, my Dad would get a haircut and when my Sister and I mentioned it, he would respond “Wrong! I got them all cut!” The first episode after a new cut for you, I remember Mindy’s Dad walked in and said “Mork! You got a haircut!” and Mork (you) responded “Wrong! I got them all cut! ARARAR (Mork’s laugh)” I looked at my Dad and said “Hey stole your joke!” He responded “No, he called me and I told him he could use it.” (Yes, I believed him. Imagine my disappointment when I found out he lied!)
That was just the beginning for us. You went on to play Popeye (one of my favorites) in the movie. I went to the theater and watched it endlessly on HBO. I was not, however, allowed to watch your stand-up in the early 80’s on HBO. Years later, I would learn that was a good call for this (at the time) 8 year old.
“Live at the Met” was your first stand-up I was able to watch. If I wasn’t before this, I was (and still am) a fan for life! To this day, 27 years later, I still quote lines from this show. “Now that I’m a reformed alcoholic, I’ve learned ‘hey, I’m still the same asshole, I just have fewer dents in my car!'”
I learned that Jonathan Winters, during his time with you on “Mork & Mindy”, had trained you in the art of improv. In fact, I just listened to Henry Winkler say he and you would go out on the lot and just improv, drawing the attention of all around you. I watched you in live situations and (as many of my friends and family can attest to) have learned, mimicked, and at times memorized that crazy style. For that alone, I owe you everything!
But you weren’t all about comedy, were you? The time and effort you put in to helping people was equally, if not more, inspiring. Christopher Reeve’s family, Comic Relief, and many other charitable events I’m sure I am not even aware of. This, if for no other reason, is why you are poking angels in the ribs at this moment saying “How about these halos, huh? Huh?”
But there was more. The movies I watched endless times, not only hits like Good Morning, Vietnam, Dead Poet Society, Mrs. Doubtfire, Jumanji, Good Will Hunting, Patch Adams, and the Night at the Museum. But the ones some people missed out on: Awakenings, Hook, Aladdin, Toys, Birdcage, Jack, Father’s Day, Flubber, What Dreams May Come, One Hour Photo, Robots, RV, Man of the Year, License to Wed, and your last television show, The Crazy Ones.
This afternoon, the world learned of your death. I don’t know what happened leading up to this moment. But what I do know is since that moment, the world has poured their hearts out, paying tribute to your career, your genius, and your heart. I hope heaven is ready to laugh.
I, however, am not ready to laugh. Today is a day of true sadness. Today is a day of remembrance.
Today I pay tribute by saying “Oh Captain, my Captain!”
Rest In Peace, Robin.
Thank you for EVERYTHING!