Robin Williams died yesterday at the age of 63. Social media are still a-buzz with pictures and memories and quotes of his from movies. Last night, Rachel and I watched “Aladdin” and “The Birdcage” in his memory. Both are very dear to me and my memory of Williams, “Aladdin” in that, as I mentioned in a Facebook status, it was one of the first Disney movies to have a celebrity voice actor. The next year, he was in “Mrs. Doubtfire” and I could put a face to the voice and realized people made cartoons, actors. That was a thing that could be done. Maybe I could do it?
But “The Birdcage” is something else to me. I don’t remember the first time I watched it, but it came in 1996, so I was twelve or thereabouts when it was on HBO or another movie channel. Growing up in a small town, I wasn’t exposed to gay culture in any way. Anything gay was presented as wacky or abnormal, like the sassy gay friend of the girl in the romantic comedy. Those types of people weren’t real to me; they existed only as archetypes in movies and TV.