Whenever a celebrity dies, I usually feel annoyed.
Not by their death, of course, but by the outpouring of “R.I.P.”s and tears on Facebook. I’m annoyed that people act as if that person was their best friend, as if they really knew them. It feels like they’re going through the motions without meaning. How sad can you genuinely be that a stranger has died?
But when I heard that Robin Williams died, I cried. I went on Facebook and saw the things people had to say about him and I cried some more. When Philip Seymour Hoffman died, I was sorry a person had died, but I only felt personally affected by the loss of his future work because he was a great actor. Losing Robin Williams feels like losing a friend.
It’s difficult to understand that distinction in myself as it makes almost no sense. I didn’t know more about him than any other celebrity. I wasn’t a fanatic devotee who owned (or had even seen) all his movies. But I think the difference is that Robin Williams has been in my entire life.