To be able to entertain as he did, though, is a rare gift, one of which we are the grateful recipients. Sharing their talent of humour and music is work to the people who have it, to us it is a pleasure.
Though it was no help to him, Williams was one of the lucky ones, able to make a living making us smile. For most people, having the talent doesn't necessarily mean getting to live in the spotlight.
Becoming a celebrity these days relies as much on timing and contacts as it does on abilities. On a recent trip to a city well-known for its arts and cultural environment, I watched four small children playing classical music on violins while standing on a street corner. The oldest would have been about nine. They were phenomenal, yet I suspect that at best some of them will go on to an obscure seat in a symphony somewhere.
It makes me sad to think of the entertainers (and I use the term loosely) with a modicum of talent and a whole lot of good luck, while watching truly gifted people struggling to make a living doing what they were meant to do. There is more to entertainment than looking good on stage.
Today's photo collection is a salute to that industry and the people who make us laugh, cry and dance: