Sitting in my office listening to the local news via my RadioPup app I am listening to the DJ personality describe his views on the late Robin Williams, Heath Ledger and even Philip Seymour Hoffman’s death. To an extent he appears to be glorifying their stories a bit and lacks the knowledge necessary to truly understand what happened in each situation. Looking at each one they are all different to an extent while sharing similar characteristics.
Robin Williams for instance passed away a little over two years ago on August 11, 2014 in Paradise Cay, CA. He left behind his three children and ex-wife amongst other family. While his life may have appeared to be a paradise at times it was a constant struggle on a daily basis for him. Mr. Williams utilized his humor and ability to make people smile in order to hide his own struggle with happiness. He was perhaps one of the funniest men to have ever graced our planet. His roles in Good Will Hunting, Good Morning Vietnam, Dead Poets Society & Mrs. Doubtfire were all monumental roles that were able to capture humor in very difficult situations. Perhaps he utilized his own pain in these roles as an outlet for his own pain and suffering. Even with all the support of family, friends and fans it was not enough for him to overcome his true fight, Depression.
Williams created worlds we all were able to escape into all while being unable to escape his own battle with depression. Williams brought forth a media frenzy surrounding suicide, mental health and the battles of depression that to this date is maybe only surpassed by that of the late Kurt Cobain. They both contributed to increasing awareness surrounding mental health and suicide because of their own deaths.
Personally Heath Ledger for me will always be the best Joker. Is it because he passed away shortly after filming ended? I’m sure it plays a little bit of a role in my own decision but I just loved how he was able to reinvent the character and bring it to life. He personified everything the Joker was because he threw himself into the character. Heath took inspiration from Clockwork Orange’s character Malcolm McDowell. He secluded himself in his hotel room for weeks. Heath was truly an actor who put passion into all of his work. Ledger eventually passed away on the 22 of January 2008 from an accidental intoxication from prescription drugs.
Were Ledger’s prescriptions for depression? Perhaps but the point of the matter is that we often exclude accidental overdoses from the number count when it comes to suicide. Accidental suicides need to be discussed just as much as a regular suicide. More often than not you will find a battle with depression or history of mental health issues with the case being worked yet suicide is rarely mentioned as much as it should be in these situations. Ledger brought not only the Joker to life but the issues surround accidental suicides as well. Posthumously Heath was awarded an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor amongst other awards but he should be recognized for his support surrounding suicide as well.
Last but not least there was Philip Seymour Hoffman. Philip worked in both film and theater. He was not only an actor but a director and producer. Philip was well known for his iconic supporting roles in multiple films. Despite his success Hoffman struggle with sobriety and drug abuse his entire career.