Billy Crystal, left speechless by Robin Williams’ death, paid tribute to his great friend and comedy brother at the Emmy Awards, movingly remembering him as “the greatest friend you could ever imagine.”
Following the Emmys’ in memoriam segment Monday night, Crystal appeared on stage at Los Angeles’ Nokia Theatre to honour Williams, who was found dead in his Northern California home on Aug. 11. A luminous image of the late comedian hovered overhead.
“He made us laugh, big time,” said Crystal.
After Williams’ apparent suicide, Crystal simply wrote on Twitter of his longtime friend and Comic Relief co-host: “No words.”
But Crystal found touching words to remember Williams on Monday, recalling family gatherings, ballgames and nights on stage together.
“I used to think if I could put a saddle on him and stay on him for eight seconds, I was gonna do OK,” said Crystal of the famously frenetic stand-up.
Though he spent most of his career in stand-up and in movies, Williams’ early break came on television as the extraterrestrial Mork in “Mork & Mindy.” He was nominated for an Emmy in 1979 for the show, as well as for various comedy specials and dramatic guest spots on shows like “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” and “Homicide: Life on the Street.” He won two Emmys in the 1980s for variety specials.
One of Williams’ last credits was the CBS sitcom “The Crazy Ones,” which was cancelled in May after one season.
“It’s very hard to talk about him in the past because he was so present in all of our lives,” said Crystal. “For almost 40 years, he was the brightest star in our comedy galaxy. The brilliance was astounding, the relentless energy was thrilling.”
Williams was in the thoughts of many Monday night. Louis C.K., who won for comedy series writing for his FX series “Louie,” said Williams wrote to him after the show started and invited him over to his house.
“We became close,” said C.K. “He was a big influence on me as a person and comedically.”
Crystal concluded his remembrance by saying Williams’ bright spirit would eternally glow: “And you’ll think to yourself: Robin Williams, what a concept.”
Anthony McCartney in Los Angeles contributed to this report.