Ode to an Absent Clown

Katie through filter

A postcard from the early years

A Big Life: Encouraging Words for Those in the Entertainment Industry –

It was back in my early New York “extra” days and we were in a period piece. I wore red lipstick and had a ‘50s pony tail. It was a half day shoot in a tiny patch of green on the Upper West Side which by chance was right next to my apartment building.  Normally I never walked in that unsavory little park at all.  It was in the meridian and usually peopled with crack addicts who made me a little bit nervous.  But with the film crew about, I felt perfectly safe and a little bit reckless. The sun was shining and the day was fierce and free and fun.   I skipped confidently past the leading actor, silent in his shadow.

I was very, very young.

Robin & Me Processed & Cropped

A portrait of the past…me occupying space with Robin

When delivered the news this summer about Robin Williams’ death, my gut response seemed a bit odd: I found myself wanting to say something to him.  Of course my reaction was intellectually ridiculous.  We may have occupied the same space on a set, but it wasn’t as though I knew him.  And really, what could I have said? Robin had money and friends and was brilliantly comedic.  I believe he even had faith.   Yet he chose to end his life in his home at a time when someone who loved him was right there in the next room.  There is nothing anyone could have said.

But what I can do is remember that sundrenched day with him as one that was especially joyous.

And I will.

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2 Responses to Ode to an Absent Clown

  1. Joy (Joyce) Curtis says:

    What an incredibly moving piece. From the first time I ever experienced Robin Williams work on tv I was enamored and more so as time went by. Everything he did moved me. I was moved to tragic tears when I heard what had occurred. How wonderful to have been in his orbit. What an honor. Its a terrible thing that we never know what really goes on inside a person. I feel a sadness at his parting, he and his work were so unique. I always think of “Good Morning Vietnam” perhaps of my own military history. So sorry he is gone, so sorry there wasn’t something to help him. Thanks again for your wonderful piece Katie and do stay in touch.

    • Katie Bennett says:

      Thank you, Joyce. Your words say it so clearly…we don’t know. This is the third suicide of the summer involving someone who touched my circle. All of these people were young, vibrant and had love in their lives. Pain is just so…painful. I am glad I was able to be on a film with him.

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