Photographer's Note

At the outset I apologize for the poor quality of the photo. It is a photograph of a photograph behind glass that has been sitting on a shelf in my library at home. I shot the original photo 26 years ago during the filming of "The Dead Poets Society." We received news late last night about the passing away of Robin Williams.

IN MEMORY OF MR. KEATING. In 1988 Peter Weir, the legendary Australian film producer/director, approached the Board of Trustees at St. Andrew's School and asked for the rights to make a film at the school. He explained, "We've visited schools up and down the East Coast and found St. Andrew's to have the most beautiful campus of them all." But, the screen play involved the tragic suicide of one of the students, and many of us on the Board were reticent to give our permission. A second former (8th grader) at the school had committed suicide just five years earlier, and the Board had subsequently dissolved the second form... on the advice of psychologists who had made a case for children that young requiring a different level of attention than the school could possibly give. But, we did finally give our blessing, and an unforgettable film starring Robin Williams as "Mr. Keating," and co-starring St. Andrew's School came to fruition. The film also became a launching pad for the careers of a number of young actors, including Robert Sean Leonard, Ethan Hawke and Lara Flynn Boyle. How tragic it is that this boundlessly talented actor succumbed to his own inner demons and took his own life. We frequently speak about movies imitating life. In this case, it was life imitating the movies.

During the filming in 1988, my family and I traipsed up to Delaware from our home in Virginia several times. The accompanying photo was shot during a break in the filming on one of these occasions, when Mr. Williams stepped out into the staircase in the Octagon (holding my ink sketch of the Octagon in his hands) for a group photo. The two gentlemen on the right are Peter Weir, the director, and Robert Sean Leonard, the actor who actually commits suicide in the film.

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Additional Photos by Bulent Atalay (batalay) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 6809 W: 476 N: 12169] (41257)
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