This year I’m thankful for inspiration. I’m not just talking about family or friends because that’s kind of a given. I’m talking about the people and pioneers that have inspired us and our work, or that just inspire us to be better people. This year we’ve lost a lot of people who have been personal inspirations in my life.
This year we have lost some much needed laughter in our lives with the passing of some great comedians. The year has claimed two female, comedic trailblazers whose irreverence and candidness we’re both applauded and sometimes feared: Joan Rivers and Elaine Stritch. Robin Williams proved to be another devastating blow, and regardless of the demons he was battling, he always put us first. His selflessness lives on through his work and we’ll keep enjoying his one-of-a-kind charm for decades to come.
The film community took a great blow with the passing of legendary director Mike Nichols, who showed us that success isn’t limited to any singular source by being one of a dozen people to EGOT (winning an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony). The great Philip Seymour Hoffman put himself completely into every performance, and even though it feels like we were just starting to get to know him, he has already left a noticeable impression in our lives and the industry. Then we have America’s sweetheart, Shirley Temple, whose effervescence helped our entire country in one of it’s darkest times: The Great Depression/World War II.
Right now in America, we face more dark times, and the words of poet Maya Angelou and actress/civil rights activist Ruby Dee are easily amiss. Both fought against racial/gender injustice in their own way, and their work has helped pave the way towards equality for all.
There are many more great people we lost this year, but these are the one’s who impacted my life the most. They are a constant reminder and inspiration to write honestly, to speak out with conviction, to love wholly, to laugh heartily, and to live fully. This year, I want to give thanks to all of the people who have lived their lives in a way that has inspired, and will continue to inspire, generations to come. Happy Thanksgiving. – Jon Espino