This past month marked the two-year anniversary of the tragic death of comedy icon Robin Williams, and the many memorials that flooded in reaffirmed the fact that we might never see work of his kind again.
So beloved was Williams, especially for his work in children's films, that for many the grief of losing a childhood hero is still overwhelming. From films such as Hook to Flubber, almost everyone born after 1985 has a film that they'll still go back to when remembering Robin Williams and will share with their own kids.
Of course, while we all still mourn the passing of this gentle comedy legend, for Robin's daughter, Zelda Williams, this loss must still be extraordinarily painful. Zelda posted this poignant photo on the anniversary of Robin's passing:
Williams's passing left millions of fans in shock, but for his three children the journey through grief was unimaginably harrowing. For his only daughter, Zelda, the grief was made worse by having a more public personae as an actress and scriptwriter. Following her father's death, there was an outpouring of love and support through social media but there were a few rotten apples who began to troll her, poking perverse fun at her family tragedy, to which she responded by abandoning her online accounts.
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After retreating from the public eye, Zelda resurfaced over the weekend to talk to Chelsea Handler about her father, her grief and her new life — some of which you can view in the Netflix clip below:
Keeping His Memory Alive By Rediscovering Her Smile
Despite working in the film industry later on in life, Zelda — now 27 — talks about growing up away from the noise and spotlight in San Francisco. Here, her dad was always present and they didn't have to worry too much about press and trolls. In the interview with Handler, she opens up about the immediate aftermath and the feeling of shell shock she endured for months. The combination of people crowding around her and the ugly Twitter feud with petty trolls — who photoshopped images of Robin Williams post-death, accusing Zelda of causing his passing — forced her to focus more on her writing in seclusion, do some soul searching and, after not "seeing daylight for a while," re-emerging stronger and happier.
Much like her prolific father, Zelda has found solace in her work. In her break from the public eye, she completed 12 scripts and played two interesting roles — one of which, in Dead of Summer, sees her starring as Drew, a transgender teenager who joins Stillwater Camp for a summer of joy only to be spoiled by a series of murders for which she is one of the prime suspects.
Later in the interview, she talks about finding a new joy for life in working on new projects and expressing her grief through her writing;
"And so I just kept going, ‘OK, well, today I’m going to get up and love what I do. And then tomorrow I’m going to wake up and be happy and love what I do. And then the next day… because that’s all you can do.”
Check out a teaser trailer for Dead of Summer below:
A History Of Trolls And Vulnerable Celebrities
There was a time when celebrities could divide their lives between a public and private persona, however with social media, ubiquitous tabloid paparazzi and a growing obsession with celebrity, privacy unfortunately seems to be a thing of the past. When it comes to trolls, the best advice seems to be to just ignore them. However, when they are resorting to revolting tactics to humiliate these young women, it is hard to pretend to be unaffected by their gruesome bullying. Zelda did the right thing in retreating but many criticize Twitter for not having proper processes in place to stop abusive behavior.
As we saw recently with Kevin Smith and his daughter Harley Quinn — when someone attacked her on Twitter, wishing for her death, forcing her father to intervene and address the young man directly — troll culture lives on, and it seems that daughters of famous people are easy targets for them. Trolls attack anyone in the celeb world, but the ones most likely to answer are the younger ones as they are more active and engaged in social media but they are also the most vulnerable.
Remember Robin Williams's unforgettable positive energy on Letterman:
Robin Williams's personal philosophy obviously comes across via his work — he was a devoted optimist, despite the ups and downs of life. His legacy of happiness lives on in his films that fans will re-watch and share with their kids, but also through Zelda who has demonstrated bravery in the face of adversity and risen above trolls to find inner strength. She carries her father's memory by taking a page out of his book and working in film, using art as therapy, which has helped her be to deal with the grief.
What's your favorite Robin Williams film?