One of the many sad aspects about the death of Robin Williams has been the failure of many to respond to his death in an appropriate and respectful fashion.
The 63-year-old actor was found dead on Monday after hanging himself at his home in Tiburon, California.
It is barely two days since the news of his death was reported and already there has been a wealth of insensitivity.
TalkSport's Alan Brazil stated live on air that he had “no sympathy” for suicide. Fox News anchor Shepard Smith branded Williams "a coward" for taking his own life. While the Samaritans caution journalists to "exercise caution when referring to the methods and context of a suicide," many newspapers have been quick to publish the full details of Williams' death.
Yet on Newsnight yesterday, the comedian Eddie Izzard provided a powerfully eloquent tribute to Williams' life, showing that the most important and poignant reactions have come from those who knew the actor and understood his strengths as well as his struggles.
Izzard's segment on Newsnight was moving not because he made grand statements nor sought to stand out from the dearth of sound bites being proffered on Williams at the moment; it was moving because of its simplicity.
Talking about Williams' warmth on screen, Izzard told presenter Kirsty Wark: "Well, that was just Robin. He was a nice guy. When I first met him on a film, he was just very welcoming. And I said, 'Can you watch my video?' And he watched it immediately, which was very odd. You would expect a lot of pull back on that. He was just a decent person and for a lot of us he was right up there...and it's too sad."
Izzard became friends with Williams while working on the film The Secret Agent in 1996.
Izzard did not want to go into the causes of Williams' suicide: "I don’t want to get into that. Depression is clinical and some people have it and some people don’t. It’s a disease. He was brilliant and it would have been wonderful if he could have gone on.”
Towards the end of the interview, Izzard became noticeably emotional about Williams' death and admitted that he had not wanted to come on television, not wanting to be another voice clamouring to say their bit about the actor's career.
"It is rather tragic," he said. "I didn’t want to come in here and do this, but I thought...I was discussing this with Steve Coogan, whether I should do this, because it looks sometimes like everyone jumps on telly and talks about people.
"But I just wanted to say: we’re going to miss him."Reuse content