Robin Williams Emmys Tribute: Billy Crystal Recalls Comedian's "Brilliance," "Relentless Energy" in Emotional Speech
O' Captain, My Captain...you will be missed. Hollywood paid tribute to the late Robin Williams once again on Monday, Aug. 25, with a moving In Memoriam segment during the 66th Primetime Emmy Awards at L.A.'s Nokia Theatre.
Set to a performance of Charlie Chaplin's "Smile" by singer-songwriter Sara Bareilles, the segment first featured a montage of all the stars and industry folk -- including Elaine Stritch, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Paul Walker, and Shirley Temple, among others -- who've died since the 2013 Emmys. A head shot of Williams then flashed on the screen above the stage, as Billy Crystal emerged out of the dark to speak about his dear, departed friend.
"He made us laugh, hard, every time you saw him, on television, movies, nightclubs, arenas, hospitals...and even in a dying girl's living room," Crystal began of the Mork & Mindy star. "He made us laugh, big time...The brilliance was astounding. The relentless energy was thrilling."
Crystal then recalled a time when he, Williams, and their Comic Relief co-host Whoopi Goldberg were at a baseball game together, and Williams created a new character -- that of a Russian baseball player. "He could be funny anywhere," the When Harry Met Sally actor mused. "We were such close friends."
Visibly emotional, Crystal went on to express his grief -- and really the world's collective grief -- over the Mrs. Doubtfire star's shocking death at age 63 on Aug. 11. "It's very hard to talk about him in the past because he was so present in all of our lives. For almost 40 years, he was the brightest star in our comedy galaxy," the comedian said. "But while some of the brightest of our celestial bodies are actually extinct now...their beautiful light will continue to shine on us forever, and the glow will be so bright, it will warm your heart, it will make your eyes glisten, and you'll think to yourselves, 'Robin Williams. What a concept.'"
An icon of both film and television, Williams was a nine-time Emmy nominee and two-time winner, for 1987's Carol, Carl, Whoopi and Robin, and 1988's ABC Presents: A Royal Gala. (Both wins were for Outstanding Individual Performance in a Variety or Music Program.) His most recent nomination was for the HBO airing of his Weapons of Self Destruction tour, which was up for Outstanding Variety, Music, or Comedy Special in 2010.
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