It’s exactly a week until the next Forget-Me-Not Project charity auction begins. It’s also exactly a month today since the world lost one its shining lights, the incomparable Robin Williams. Many moving and eloquent tributes have been paid to him and next week’s auction is my small way of honouring him for the gifts he shared with us all - his humour, his humility, his humanity.
It feels like he has been there for me my whole life - laughing at Mork’s antics as a child, being inspired to ‘read and write poetry’ as a teenager, watching his stand-up routines until I knew them by heart as a student and then, as an adult, always being someone I could turn to for light relief or enlightenment whenever life got on top of me.
The first time I travelled to the USA - for a waitressing job on Long Island the summer after I left university - it was Mork and Mindy re-runs on a local cable station which made me feel at home. After flirting with TS Garp and John Keating I fell for the crazy, free-spirited alien all over again. When my summer job finished I used my savings to travel to California because I wanted to try to catch one of Robin Williams’ legendary comedy club appearances. No dice, but I did buy two of his albums in a record store in San Francisco. I still treasure them, price stickers and all, even though I no longer have a record player to play them on!
Fast forward to 2010 and, after a couple of abortive attempts to see him on tour, my dreams at last came true when I learned that he was to make his Broadway debut in Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo. I booked a ticket straight away and in March 2011 I finally got to sit in the front row and watch one of my all-time heroes performing on stage. Meeting him afterwards was almost surreal - I was grinning from ear-to-ear but shaking like a leaf. He seemed tired but what struck me most was how gracious and humble he was with every single person waiting at that stage door; he greeted everyone with ‘Hi, how are you?’ or ‘Hi, nice to meet you’, thanked us for being there and exhorted us all to ‘Take care of yourself’. I barely remember what I said to him but I do recall that he made me laugh and that I was over the moon when he signed my playbill and posed for a ‘flower photo’.
I’ve been thinking about that meeting a lot in recent weeks and one of my greatest thrills has also become one of my biggest regrets. I wish I had taken the opportunity to give him something back. He gave so much joy and laughter, insight and inspiration; I should have told him how much that meant to me, my whole life. And if I could have that encounter over again I would ask if I could give him a hug. I feel like I took him for granted and took what he so freely offered but didn’t give him anything in return. He helped millions of people to laugh and to feel better about themselves and in the end the hideous, malicious disease that killed him probably wouldn’t let him acknowledge what a difference he made, not even to his family’s lives. I hope he knows it now and that the knowledge gives him joy and contentment for eternity.
So this next auction is inspired by what Robin Williams gave to the world and in particular it’s a celebration of the power of laughter. It includes original ‘flower photos’ and autograph cards featuring dozens of people who have made comedy their mission in life, as well as reproductions of Robin Williams’ photo and autograph card (pictured above). 100% of proceeds will be passed to Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research in memory of my sister and for every Robin Williams reprint sold I will personally donate £5 to the mental health charity Mind.
The auction launches on 18th September. Full listings will be available on my website: www.forget-me-not-project.co.uk
Thank you for reading and thank you Robin - for everything.
Nothing I am saying is new or interesting, but it’s just a personal reflection.
I hear about celebrity deaths … fairly often… as we all do.
There have only been a select few that impacted me at all. The first was John Ritter from Three’s Company (and 8 Simple Rules, etc.) I was 12 and I still…
"THE MEASURE OF A MAN"
Not - How did he die? But - How did he live?
Not - What did he gain? But - What did he give?
These are the things that measure the worth
Of a man as a man, regardless of birth.
Not - What was his station? But - had he a heart?
And - How did he play his God-given part?
Was he ever ready with a word of good cheer?
To bring back a smile, to banish a tear?
Not - What was his church? Not - What was his creed?
But - Had he befriended those really in need?
Not - What did the sketch in the newspaper say?
But - How many were sorry when he passed away?
These are the things that measure the worth
Of a man as a man, regardless of birth.
- Anonymous author
I don’t think I want to say goodbye to Robin Williams. I think I want to say thank you.
I want to say thank you for the smile on my older brother’s face when he watches ‘Hook’ - again - and remembers that he’s still a kid, even if he’s technically all grown up.
I want to say thank you for my…
Maybe it was my typical British reserve kicking in, maybe it was the feeling that he’d probably heard it a million times before. Maybe he would have just brushed it off anyway. As it stands, my heart breaks to think that - in his final moments - all the love and laughter he contributed to the world couldn’t be reflected back to help save him. I hope he is basking in it now.
Rest in Peace Mr Williams, and thank you for sharing your humour, your heart & your humanity with the rest of us. x
This mean & moody photo of Arthur Darvill was taken last year at the stage door of Once on Broadway. A framed copy of the photo and an autograph card signed by Arthur Darvill are currently included in a charity auction which runs through until Sunday 29th June.
As an unexpected bonus, the reverse of the card has also been signed by Orlando Bloom. #random
If you’d like to bid on the photo/card package the listing can be found among 37 other great items here: http://tinyurl.com/lx5nr9t
Check out my website http://www.forget-me-not-project.co.uk for more info.
Please reblog! TIA
I am currently auctioning off a number of rare playbills in aid of Leukaemia Research, including this one from the Tony Award-winning 2011 revival of Anything Goes.
It has been signed by Sutton Foster, Colin Donnell & Laura Osnes & several other cast members.
The auctions runs until Sunday 29th June. Full listings -which include loads more signed playbills -can be found here: http://tinyurl.com/mhq2k7k
Please check out my website at http://www.forget-me-not-project.co.uk for more info on the great items and big names included in The Forget-Me-Not Project so far.
I was lucky enough to see The Book of Mormon on Broadway just before its official opening night in March 2011 (and even luckier that I paid less than $100 for a seat in the front orchestra stalls!!!)
This is one of my prized souvenirs from that night and I am now offering it for sale via an Ebay charity auction in aid of Leukaemia Research, in memory of my younger sister, Sue.
It is extremely rare and highly-collectable, having been signed by Andrew Rannells, Josh Gad, Nikki M. James and several other original Broadway cast members.
You can check it together with my other auction listings here: http://tinyurl.com/mlqg4px
Please reblog or share! Thanks x
Rare OBC signed playbills for sale!
1) Jersey Boys: 2007 playbill signed by Original Broadway Cast members incl John Lloyd Young, Christian Hoff, Daniel Reichard & J. Robert Spencer.
2) Spamalot: 2005 playbill signed by Sara Ramirez, David Hyde Pierce, Alan Tudyk & Michael McGrath.
3) Catch Me If You Can: 2011 playbill signed by Aaron Tveit & other members of original cast.
4) Nice Work If You Can Get It: 2012 playbill signed by members of OBC including Matthew Broderick, Kelli O’Hara, Judy Kaye & Michael McGrath.
These plus several other highy-collectable signed playbills are available to bid on in a charity auction which runs until 29th June: http://tinyurl.com/mlqg4px
Full details can be found at www.forget-me-not-project.co.uk
I was lucky enough to see ‘Little Miss Sunshine’ at Second Stages last year. Its stars - Wesley Taylor, Stephanie J Block & Rory O’Malley - were all kind enough to pose for these charity ‘flower photos’ and sign autograph cards, as well as signing my playbill. I am now auctioning all of these items off for charity as part of an auction that runs until 29th June.
Full listings can be found here: http://tinyurl.com/mlqg4px
As well as these 4 items there are a further 15 Broadway playbills, 1 West End programme and 17 other unique photo/autograph sets (including Arthur Darvill, Billy Crystal, Orlando Bloom, Kelli O’Hara, Robin Williams & Julia Murney).
Please check out the auction or the website www.forget-me-not-project.co.uk for full details.
Shares and re-blogs would be greatly appreciated!