Monday 18 August 2014

Robin Williams And The Dark Legacy Of An Era Of Brilliant Addicts

Robin Williams came to notice as a brilliantly original performer in the 1970s, a time when alcoholism and drug addiction came to define an era of brilliant comic performers. Like Richard Pryor, George Carlin, and so many other amazing performers of the time, Williams used drugs and alcohol in legendary quantities, calming down that manic stage presence; or, given his enormous use of cocaine, to help him keep up with his own awe-inspiring comedic powers. During the late 1970s and early 1980s, Williams was addicted to both cocaine and heroin, with alcohol being a constant companion.

As a hard-drinking cocaine-addict, Williams used the rush of the stimulant to power the lightning-fast improvisational genius of his comic bits. As he rose to fame as the manic Mork from Ork on the 1970s hit sitcom Mork & Mindy, Williams developed a hard-partying reputation for drug abuse and alcoholism. In the 'live fast, die young' era of the 1970s, developing such a reputation was not easy and with Williams, it was clearly well deserved.
What was he afraid of? "Everything. It's just a general all-round arggghhh. It's fearfulness and anxiety."

Williams continued to battle alcoholism and cocaine abuse in the early 1980s at the height of his first taste with celebrity. A frequent partier alongside John Belushi, Williams had been partying with the legendary Saturday Night Live comedian at L.A.’s Chateau Marmont hotel hours before Belushi overdosed on a lethal combination of heroin and cocaine in 1982. Coinciding with the birth of his son, Belushi’s overdose in 1982 was a strong wake-up call for Williams. He chose to embrace a path of recovery that lasted for over twenty years. When asked if Belushi’s death helped him find that path, Williams explained, "Was it a wake-up call? Oh yeah, on a huge level. The grand jury helped too."

Continue reading: thefix

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