It’s been a few days now that you have left us and still I’m trying to wrap my brain and make sense of something that is, in truth, incomprehensible. With a career spanning over forty years, you have been a fixture and a positive undeniable force to both fans and colleagues.
Over the years, you were many different things for many different people. Some may remember you when you first appeared on television screens as extraterrestrial Mork from planet Ork in Mork & Mindy all the way to Simon Roberts, the outrageously eccentric advertising executive and father to Sarah Michelle Gellar (another one of my childhood fixtures) this past year on CBS’ The Crazy Ones.
As a kid from the ’90s, you were essentially everywhere in every part of my childhood. You put a whole new meaning of “Dude looks like a lady” as Mrs. Euphegenia Doubtfire, you brought me along into an “out of this world” experience in what is unarguably the craziest and dangerous board game of all time in Jumanji, and lastly, ensured the we never had a friend like you in Aladdin.
Those who know me best know Aladdin is my all time favorite Disney movie. To say I was obsessed as a kid would be a severe understatement. I would take my mom’s broom and pretend it was Jafar’s “snake staff” and begged her to get me the Genie lamp for Christmas one year—it was so cool because when you rubbed it, a projection of Genie would appear on my ceiling. I probably treasured that thing as if it truly did come from the “cave of wonders”. Heck, even as a grown 24 year old man, if I see it on TV, you best believe I will watch it from beginning to end.
I see it only fitting that I express my three wishes for you. My first wish would be that this never happened and you would still be here. Yes, I know–Genie’s number one rule is that you cant’t bring people back from the dead, but this is an instance where the fact great people like yourself have their lives cut short while others who bring nothing but conflict and evil in the world get to live on saddens me, but I digress. My second wish would be that you felt that there was someone you could’ve talked to. Coming from a place being touched by depression and addiction (myself included), I understand the loneliness, the isolation and disconnect you feel from friends, family and society as a whole. It’s a feeling I don’t wish upon anyone, and I wish you knew you weren’t alone. Lastly, although I strongly believe that suicide should never be an option, an answer to a problem or the “way out”, my final wish is that whatever pain you were in both externally and internally is now gone. I hope you’re happy, at peace, in love and feel loved.
Because I always push my luck, I’m going to be greedy and ask a fourth wish, which would be that I hope this tragedy sheds some light on depression/mental illness. It shouldn’t have taken your life to get people talking about the seriousness of this, but at least the conversation has started.
My heart goes out to your wife Susan and children Zak, Zelda and Cody.
Thank you so much for being a fixture in my childhood. A time in my life where I can always look back & smile. I’m eternally grateful. You definitely were one of a kind. You can be imitated, but you’ll never be duplicated. You once said I would “never have a friend like you”, you have no idea how right you were.
Until I see you again…
Your fan, your admirer, your friend,
Photo source: Walt Disney Pictures