August 11, 2014
PO Box 200
Old Bridge, NJ 08857
Dear Mr. Williams,
I know that this letter to you is arriving later than it should, but I hope it will get to you somehow. I apologize for this letter taking so long but things get in the way, as they so often do. I was hoping to tell you all this in person, but things rarely work out as are planned and expected.
When I was growing up, I was a fan of yours on Happy Days and then on Mork and Mindy.What can I say other than you made an overweight unhappy and shy kid laugh. And you never knew it because that is how these things work, the gifts of one can change the oceans of the anonymous. I am sure I can speak for many like me who had their lives made a bit better by what you gave out.
When I got older, I wanted to be a stand-up comic for the simple reason that you inspired me to do so. Your racing mind and improvisation enchanted me and I could not help myself but try to do what you did. While I failed miserably at stand-up, my racing mind and silliness never stopped. All I had to do was listen to your first album (which I memorized) for inspiration.
But while I put comedy on the back burner, it was your movie Dead Poets Society that inspired me, no, wait, healed me enough to go back to teaching. On no uncertain terms your performance made me go back and be a teacher that would inspire their students by passionate example. To this day, I still try to live up to that example.
I went back to comedy a few years ago and found that your influence was still very much there and it saved me from a horrible teacher trying to get me to quit. I didn't and found myself within the amazing joy of improvisation with others on stage. On no uncertain terms, I always looked back to you as a reference for excellence.
Nothing came of my career but the path you showed did, and still does, bring me joy. Over the years of commercial failure I learned that the rue joy comes from the work, from being with others and making something beautiful that you have no control over. One cannot describe this to those who have not experienced it, but I am confident you know what I am talking about.
Having met people who worked with, they always said the same thing. That you were a good man, when talking one on one you were quiet and shy, very open and listening all the time. You were also very generous, paying the checks for people on movie sets and doing good work for causes in private. When I read your interviews long ago, I identified with your quiet side, the one you would show only in small parts when you felt safe. I could see that there was a line between the performer and the person. While they were part of a unified whole, one did not have to live the life of the stage when one as off.
So, SIr, I thank you for being a deep deep part of my life.You changed it in so many ways but never knew it. In the end, I still carry one thing you said with me each day. At the end of your debut album, you got into a serious character, an old man who has survived a nuclear holocaust. In the end you took a modified quote from Lord Buckley and said, "People, the're kinda like flowers. It's been a privilege walking through your garden. My Love goes with you...." I never,ever forgot that and the older I got, the more beauty I saw in it because that is what Truth does, blooms over and over again with each season.
I hope that you are no longer tired of the stressful life you have. Living a live in the web of the public eye can be a horrible place as one can become the well known stranger at all times. You did so much good and your sensitive soul must have gotten hurt so much. Nobody is perfect. Not you, not me, not anyone. But I just wanted you to know that you really did change my life in a very real and deep way, which in turn had an impact on many others. I hope that Truth makes you smile, even if it is from a stranger.
Know that I shall always keep you in my thoughts and prayers, and be forever grateful that you were an inspiring part of my life.
With Deepest Sincerity and Gratitude,