The TV industry said a final goodbye to the late comedian Robin Williams on Monday night.
Billy Crystal delivered a touching tribute to his longtime friend as the capper to the In Memoriam segment of the Emmy Awards, which featured a performance by Grammy-nominated singer Sara Bareilles, singing the melancholy Charlie Chaplin song, “Smile.”
“He made us laugh, hard,” Crystal said while standing under a super-sized portrait of Williams. “Every time you saw him. … He made us laugh big-time.”
Crystal recounted several anecdotes about his departed friend, including the late star’s lack of knowledge about baseball and the wonderful way he would relate to Crystal’s immigrant relatives like he “was one of [them].”
“As genius as he was on stage, he was the greatest friend you could ever imagine – supportive, protective, loving,” Crystal continued. “It’s very hard to talk about him in the past because he is so present in our lives. He was the brightest star in our comic galaxy.”
Crystal and Williams, with Whoopi Goldberg, were longtime co-hosts on HBO’s Comic Relief specials benefitting the homeless and starred together in the 1997 film Fathers’ Day.
Williams took part in last year’s In Memoriam segment, when he paid tribute to his mentor, the late actor-comedian Jonathan Winters.
He began his acting career on TV with a recurring role on Happy Days that led to the spin-off Mork & Mindy and was nominated eight times for an Emmy. He won twice for his variety specials in 1987 and 1988.