Robin Williams was a beloved man by many, starring in many famous roles that grew his star throughout the years. He will be greatly missed by fans across the world. Many are coming forward now to express how much he touched their lives, including people who were so inspired by his performance in Dead Poets Society that they became teachers to emulate the person he portrayed.
Williams played the exuberant Mr. Keating, jumping on desks, encouraging students to rip pages out of a textbook, and famously telling his students, “…you can either call me Mr. Keating, or if you’re slightly more daring, O Captain My Captain.” The rogue teacher taught his English students how to seize the day and love poetry through his unorthodox methods. William’s character is a mentor to the young men in the film and influences them to change their lives and change the way they viewed the world.
After Robin William’s death, many people took to social media outlets to talk about how inspiring he was to them and lament his passing, sharing their favorite quotes alongside declarations that the character of Keating and William’s performance were what inspired many people to become teachers, to try to achieve what Keatings did for his students. Others took to twitter simply to shout “O Captain, My Captain”, a line from a Walt Whitman poem, made famous by the film.
Many celebrities have also been motivated to pay tribute to Robin Williams in one way or another. Amanda Palmer, of the Dresden Dolls, and her husband Neil Gaiman, author and screenwriter, got involved with Secret Cinema to present Dead Poets Society around the world with donations from all proceeds going to Mind, the charity that helps those with mental illness. Jimmy Fallon paid an especially touching tribute to him with a spot on impersonation and ending with a nod to Mr. Keating by standing on his desk and shouting the famous salute.
As an actor and comedian, Robin Williams will be greatly missed, but his legacy lives on in his films and he still has the ability to inspire long after his death. Hopefully, future generations will be provoked by his dramatic roles and he will leave in his wake many people who have chosen to become the best teacher they can be because of that movie. Remember, “No matter what anybody tells you, words and ideas can change the world.”
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