On a beautiful summer day in the otherwise bustling Boston Public Garden, a crowd of mourners gathered on Tuesday at the bench in the park where Robin Williams filmed a scene for “Good Will Hunting.”
They stood silently and watched as some wrote quotes or personal messages in chalk and as others placed flowers.
The actor and comedian died Monday after apparently taking his own life. He was 63.
Eliza Lockhart-Jenks said that after she heard the news of Williams’ death on Monday, she was surprised and eventually put on one of her favorite movies “Hook.” In front of the bench she took a piece of chalk, bent down to the pathway and added a motto from the movie: “Fight. Fly. Crow.”
“Everyone sort of reacts really strongly when celebrities die, but this one for some reason feels really personal,” said the 27-year-old from Boston. “I think Boston really likes to take care of its own and because he made [Good Will Hunting] that really touched so many people, we kind of feel like he’s our own.”
For many people of a younger generation, they grew up watching Williams in countless shows and movies from “Mork and Mindy” and “Mrs. Doubtfire” to “Aladdin” and “Dead Poets Society.”
Charles Nash, 23, of Boston, sat on the grass next to the bench and read some of the messages people left. For Nash, Williams’ performance in “Good Will Hunting” was more than just acting.
“He was always a big part of my childhood and ‘Good Will Hunting’ meant so much as a teenager who felt kind of lost like Matt Damon’s character was,” said Nash. “I felt it would be best to pay my respects and not to mention that mental illness and depression is so horrible and we don’t acknowledge it enough.”
Gladys Ruiz made it a point to visit the Garden to mourn Williams. The 19-year-old from Maryland was visiting Boston with family when she stopped by the park and wrote in chalk a quote from the movie “Aladdin.” It was the first Williams movie she saw.
“He certainly had an impact in all of his roles that he made. Everyone has some quote they remember by him. He’s leaving a legacy for sure,” she said pointing to the pathway. “Just to look at him you wouldn’t suspect he had anything going on otherwise than just being able to make people happy and laugh.”
Follow Michael Naughton on Twitter @metrobosmike.