People Are Petitioning for a Bronze Statue of Robin Williams

They say they’d like to see it go up on the bench in the Boston Public Garden.

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Photo by Steve Annear

Since news broke Monday that actor and comedian Robin Williams passed away due to an apparent suicide, people have been flocking to the small wooden bench that overlooks a lagoon in the Boston Public Garden to write messages in remembrance.

Within hours, the sidewalk running in front of the park seat filled up with writing done in chalk, quoting the actor’s famous lines from films and all but taking over a small portion of the pathway.

But with rainfall in the forecast this week, those notes will soon be washed away, leaving nothing but memories of Williams’ time spent in Boston.

That’s why Garry McLinn, an administrator at MIT’s department of Mechanical Engineering, wouldn’t mind seeing a more permanent tribute to the Academy-Award winning actor and co-star of Good Will Hunting erected at the site where one of the most talked-about scenes from the film took place.

“He was important to me personally, and clearly that bench is already becoming a memorial situation. It would be great to put something for him there,” said McLinn, who envisions a bronze statue of Williams’ character Dr. Sean Macguire, complete with cap, staring out at the pond as he did in the film during the delivery of his monologue alongside Matt Damon.

McLinn said he is going to write a letter to the Friends of the Public Garden, the entity that preserves and oversees operations at the park space in conjunction with the city’s Parks Department, to see what steps would have to be taken in order to pursue the proposal.

But there may be some serious hurdles to overcome first.

That very bench is currently sponsored by Beacon Hill resident Barbara Dunay under the Friends of the Public Garden’s “Tree and Bench Sponsorship Program.” The program offers the public the opportunity to take part in the stewardship of the parks the Friends support by contributing money. In exchange, a donor gets a special plaque with their name at the site they sponsor, which stays up for 15 years and can be renewed.

A spokesperson from the Friends of the Public Garden told Boston there also may be a moratorium on new statues in this particular park, but they’re monitoring conversations about the statue online.

Whether or not anything comes of McLinn’s idea, he said it’s still worth a shot.

“In my mind, that specific area, people who are battling with depression like he was can see it as a reminder that they are not alone,” he said, adding that even a plaque with a line from the monologue would be appropriate for the public to appreciate. “It’s kind of cliché, but Robin Williams was there for everybody in a way. He loved everyone, that’s why it’s sad to so many people.”

While some people have balked at the concept already, and told McLinn that perhaps he is getting overly emotional due to the sudden news about the celebrity’s passing, others have had similar ideas.

Within minutes of McLinn starting the conversation on Reddit Tuesday afternoon, another user on the forum drafted a petition to try and get residents’ signatures in support of placing a statue of Williams in that exact spot.

“This petition is to gain support to create a bronze statue of Robin Williams and place it on that bench, so that everyone has the chance to sit with him, stare out into the water, and contemplate life, love, and good memories,” the petition said.

Others claim they’re getting the ball rolling for funding the statue.

  • B10HZRD

    I’ve begun a gofundme in hopes of at least raising enough funds for a plaque at the site. I had called Bostons Parks and Rec department this morning who told me that, while possible, its an incredibly time consuming and expensive process. (It can take years just to get tentative approval for use of this preserved plot of land for any memorial)

    My best of luck to Garry. If this fund I’m raising gets to a point that I can assist in the financial aspect of the project you can bet I will try and find a way to be in touch.

    • B10HZRD

      If anyone wants to support they can look for

      Remembrance and Awareness – A Robin Williams Memorial Page

      On facebook. It will lead the way. We are just over $1000 as of today. I’m hoping to see just how far we can make this go.

    • mariya4563

      Six months ago I lost my job and after that I was fortunate enough to stumble upon a great website which literally saved me. I started working for them online and in a short time after I’ve started averaging 15k a month… The best thing was that cause I am not that computer savvy all I needed was some basic typing skills and internet access to start… This is where to start———————–bestjob.com..,.,..

  • Amanda F.
  • Kitten

    I would love to make this memorial statue. https://www.facebook.com/KrystalGormanArts

  • Steve

    Please let me know how I can help, tweet me @soneil324

    • B10HZRD

      We have a gofundme going to raise funds towards a plaque/tree placement. (If it somehow earned enough to fund a statue we could do that too… But thats a tremendous undertaking. Just google Robin Williams Memorial fund. It’ll pop up.)

    • Bradley Smith

      We have a fund started. Any amount will help make this happen. Please share with anyone you can.

      http://www.gofundme.com/robinwilliams

  • http://www.bronze-mascot.com Jason Spohn

    I custom make lost wax cast, bronze sculptures for many private clients, agencies, schools and universities in which I have the capabilities to create this without any ego in my pricing in real, bronze. http://www.bronze-mascot.com

  • Lynn

    Robin Williams? Sure hes funny and sure hes made some great films but really! Its only been less than 100 years since actors have been idolized even given much more credit than they are due in the broader context of who has done so much to elevate the human race that they deserve a statue. Prior to that actors fell more into the category of the type of people you didnt want as neighbors due to their lifestyles. Can we just try to elevate our thinking a little here peop, e?

  • Mumbles

    Robin Williams was a talented man who spent a few weeks here almost twenty years ago to make a movie. May he rest in peace and may his family feel peace soon as well.

    But our public space and resources should be used for people who had a real, lasting, long-term continuing presence in our community. A plaque at the bench may be nice (if the people who bequeathed the bench are okay with it), but a bronze statue? Yes, that movie meant a lot to people, but there are a lot of great actors in great movies – including those with connections to Boston – but does that mean we should build statues for them? Where’s Paul Newman’s statue for his excellent work in The Verdict?

    Plus, he seemed like the kind of person who was low-key and unpretentious. Not sure even HE would want a statue.

  • Super Affiliate Hero

    I can donate $100 towards it. Start a fundraiser

    • B10HZRD

      We have a gofundme going to raise funds towards a plaque/tree
      placement. Just google Robin Williams Memorial fund. It’ll pop up. Spread the word.

    • Bradley Smith

      We have a fund started. Any amount will help make this happen. Please help spread the word.

      http://www.gofundme.com/robinwilliams

  • Michael Lynn

    Oh! what a wicked and corrupt generation you are who would now worship a dead man as a God because the madness that filled his heart made you laugh. Do you really need a memorial of your shame? The man died a fool after staining the earth. You dead feed upon the dead and fools feed on foolishness.

    • Rob

      NOW THAT’S WHAT I CALL EDGY *tips stained fedora*

  • hlpeary

    Wonderful idea…I am sure they can move the current plaque to a different bench nearby…she seems like a nice lady who would agree to that…Williams sitting on the bench would be welcome there. I would donate if for no other reason than to offend Michael Lynn and his cruel comment written below mine…it’s easy to be mean…

    • bradpeater757

      Six months ago I lost my job and after that I was fortunate enough to stumble upon a great website whi ch literally saved me. I started working for them online and in a short time after I’ve started averaging 15k a month… The best thing was that cause I am not that computer savvy all I needed was some basic typing skills and internet access to start… This is where to start———–onlinejob.com..,..,,.,.,.

    • B10HZRD

      While I think a statue might not be possible I started a fund to get a tree or bench plaque placed in his honor and to serve as a reminder of the battle he fought. Google Robin Williams Memorial Fund and it’ll point you towards me. I can answer questions as well through the gofundme site.

  • http://www.creatingcareerswithconfidence.com/ Edward Colozzi

    A superb idea to remember a gifted man who shared his amazing genius and love for ALL people, especially those walking and living in the shadows of the life journey! Here is a recent Twitter message I created, that readers might enjoy. My eldest son and I actually met him in New York City as he was walking along a sidewalk one afternoon. Such a gracious man, and always a sense of humor to love and heal others. Aloha Nui EdC

    #RobinWilliams An #Angel Called Back By #God To Renew Heaven’s Despair
    Read http://tl.gd/n_1s3nar5 #BostonStrong Love2 @zeldawilliams