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Oliver Sacks (1933-2015)


jakeem
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Oliver Sacks, the eminent neurologist and writer who inspired the character played by Robin Williams in the 1990 film "Awakenings," has died at the age of 82.

 

Directed by Penny Marshall, the film version of Sacks' 1973 memoir "Awakenings," also starred Robert De Niro. Williams played Dr. Malcolm Sayer, a fictional version of Sacks.

 

The movie was nominated for three Academy Awards: Best Picture (producers Lawrence Lasker -- the son of actress Jane Greer -- and Walter F. Parkes), Best Actor (De Niro) and Best Adapted Screenplay (Steven Zaillian).

 

 

 

http://www.latimes.com/local/obituaries/la-me-oliver-sacks-20150831-story.html

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I saw Awakenings at the show upon its initial release in 1990. I thought that both Robin Williams and Robert De Niro gave extraordinarily sensitive performances in it.

 

The Oliver Saks-based character played by Williams is a very shy doctor who has difficulty relating to people, largely cutting himself off from others because of his social awkwardness. As the film progresses, however, doctor and patient (De Niro) become very close.

 

I well remember a touching moment in the film in which Williams, while watching a film taken of DeNiro, simply says, "He's my friend." He says it with the extraordinary depth of feeling of a man who had never been able to utter those words before.

 

Considering the extrovert that Williams was to the public, his effective casting against type seemed all the more impressive at the time. I don't know at what time Robin Williams first started to be wracked with depression, but we now know that this inspired funny man suffered from depths of despair. His performance was so effective in this film because he could well relate to the emotional pain and awkwardness of another being.

 

We just didn't know how acutely Williams felt that pain - until it was too late.

 

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Williams and Dr. Oliver Saks.

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I'm very sorry to hear this.  I've read several of his books and thought they were very good.

He also appeared on Charlie Rose's Brain Series for those that may wish to check that out.

It was a terrific series and available online at Charlie Rose's web site the last time I checked.

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Anyone who listens to NPR regularly would be familiar with Mr. Sacks.  He appeared on a number of different shows, and always had something interesting, insightful, and revelatory about the human mind to present.  He will be greatly missed.

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I'm glad Dr Sacks wrote a flurry of books in the past few years, he must have known the clock was ticking. His work was always interesting and like Dr Carl Sagan, Sacks had a way of bringing complicated subjects to popular culture in an entertaining way. I loved the book AWAKENINGS and the movie was a faithful adaptation of an almost unbelievable incident. 

I agree, Robin Williams was fantastic in it.

 

Rest in Peace Dr Sacks.....and thank you!

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