Wills are legacies. Sure, they’re traditionally a way of protecting your loved ones, making sure they’re cared for, but examples are legion of wills being used to endow universities, fund research to help cure disease, house orphans and/or refugees and establish foundations. In many instances, they allow the person to do in death what he/she was unable to do for various reasons, while alive. And they set in motion forces that will endure for ages. By the very act of bequeathing something to x rather than y, fates are altered, worlds are moved.
So, with those weighty thoughts in mind, that of wills being legacies, let’s spend some time, shall we, considering the legacies of a few other “wills.”
William Shakespeare left behind a legacy of dramas, comedies, sonnets and histories that are the dream of innumerable summer stock theater festival producers, and the nightmare of countless high school students. In addition to birthing dozens of new English words and expressions, Will Shakespeare fathered some of literature’s most memorable characters, including Richard III, Macbeth, Hamlet and Othello.
William Shatner. Arguably not in the same league, drama-wise as the bard above, this Will nevertheless was at the forefront of the over-emoting style of acting, and will live on as Captain Kirk and in infamy as the “singer” who recorded two of the worst “cover” versions of songs in history, “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” and “Mr. Tambourine Man.”
Willard Scott’s legacy is making countess centenarians happy by plastering their faces on The Today Show, wishing them a Happy 100th (or higher} birthday, and raving about how beautiful or handsome they each looked. A quite narrow niche legacy, but a person could be remembered for worse things. Willard also delivered the weather forecast.
Willie Mays and Ted Williams endowed thousands of baseball fans with thrills, lasting memories, heart-stopping catches, epic home runs, and, in William’s case, a batting average record that may never be broken.
Willy Wonka is best known for having an amazing chocolate factory.
Goodwill is a place where people leave their goods, often before they die but sometimes after, in order that those in need can get quality merchandise at low prices, and also to get themselves, the donors, a nice little tax write-off.
Willie and the Hand Jive – Not only did this Johnny Otis song leave a legacy of crazed dancers shaking their hands spasmodically in tandem, but the song is “meta” because it’s about a guy named Will who becomes famous for singing a song about dancers shaking their hands spasmodically in tandem.
Will Rogers is perhaps best known for saying that he “never met a man I didn’t like,” leading some to posit that Will was a hermit.
William Tell Overture – will forever be equated to those of a certain age with a masked, law-abiding cowboy and his faithful Indian companion riding off “in a cloud of dust and a hearty Hi-YO Silver.” Which, if you ever told the composer Rossini that this is what he would be best known for in the future, he probably would’ve ridden off in a cloud of dust himself.
Will Call – a method in which patrons impart tickets for themselves and others to be picked up at the box office.
Williamsburg is a neighborhood in Brooklyn whose legacy has changed as immigrants and economics affect who can live there. Today Williamsburg’s legacy is that of gourmet cheese shops, artisan bakeries, trendy hotels, indie rock clubs and streets that are way-yyyyy overcrowded, particularly in the summer.
will i.am – is leaving a legacy of rap songs, hip-hop songs, producing records, acting, and philanthropist, to name a few. The man has it goin’ on!
William Jefferson Clinton – not much legacy yet, but he yet may go down in history as the first “First Husband” to a female president of the United States.