Cameron Boyce, Luke Perry and Valerie Harper Among Late Stars Honored in Moving Emmys In Memoriam
The Emmys took a break from celebrating the best in TV to pay tribute to the bright stars the industry has lost in the last year.
If Beale Street Could Talk actress Regina King presented this year’s in memoriam with a heartwarming speech.
“Tonight as we celebrate the very best of the past television season, we also take the time to remember the many legends we lost this year,” said King, 48. “Although they may be gone, their legacies now endure.”
As the sentimental video rolled in the background, “Without Me” singer Halsey sang a moving rendition of Cyndi Lauper’s “Time After Time.”
One of the most emotional moments came when the tributes turned to beloved actor Luke Perry, who died in early March after suffering a massive stroke. He was 52.
Perry, who was starring as Fred Andrews on the hit CW series Riverdale at the time of his death, was best known for playing Dylan McKay on the hit TV series Beverly Hills, 90210 from 1990-95. He returned again in 1998 until 2000.
His death brought grief to the television and film industries alike, as costars, friends and admirers all mourned the star’s impact on their lives. Perry is set to be remembered on Riverdale in the new season, with 90210 costar and close friend Shannen Doherty appearing as a special guest to honor him.
Another beloved star lost in recent months is TV icon Valerie Harper, who delighted audiences as Rhoda Morgenstern on both The Mary Tyler Moore Show and its spin-off Rhoda. The TV legend won three best supporting actress Emmy awards for the role.
Harper died on Aug. 30 at age 80 after years of health issues, including leptomeningeal carcinomatosis, lung cancer and brain cancer. The actress was diagnosed with leptomeningeal carcinomatosis in 2013, just four years after she beat lung cancer in 2009.
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At the time of her diagnosis, doctors told her she only had three months to live, but Harper beat the odds and continued to live well beyond their expectations by six years.
“She was happy every single day because she was given six weeks to live,” Harper’s close friend, Sue Cameron, told PEOPLE. “Her goal was to teach everybody with cancer how to live with dignity, and with as much fun as you can.”
“Valerie said, ‘I’ve been given six weeks to live, but I’m going to have the best time,’” Cameron recalled. “And then she kept on living. She kept giving interviews saying, ‘I’m still here, still having a good time.’ “
Also honored was 20-year-old Disney Channel star Cameron Boyce, who died of epilepsy on July 6 — just weeks before the third installment in the Descendants movie series premiered. Boyce also starred in the show Jessie for the network alongside Debbie Ryan and appeared in movies like Eagle Eye, Grown Ups and Grown Ups 2.
The tribute also honored John Singleton, Cokie Roberts, Gloria Vanderbilt, Peggy Lipton, Kristoff St. John, Rutger Hauer, Penny Marshall, Peter Fonda, Stan Lee, Albert Finney, Rip Torn and Carol Channing, among others.
The 71st Primetime Emmy Awards are airing live from the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles starting at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Fox.