Sunday night’s Emmy Awards In Memoriam segment started with a live rendition of “Smile,” sang by Sara Bareilles.
While Peter O’Toole, Lauren Bacall, James Garner, Maya Angelou, and many others were all honored, the segment ended with Robin Williams, who died earlier this month.
Williams’ longtime friend Billy Crystal eulogized the late actor, saying: “He made us laugh hard, every time you saw him… I spent many hours on stage with Robin and the brilliance was astounding. His relentless energy was thrilling. I used to think if I could just put a saddle on him and stay on for eight seconds I would do ok.”
Crystal then told a funny story about going to a baseball game with Williams:
“Robin, Whoopi, and I were once in Shea Stadium in the broadcast booth with the great Tim McCarver and Robin knew nothing about baseball. I asked him ‘What’s your favourite team?’ and he responded, ‘the San Franciscos.’ He was a little lost in the baseball conversation, so I got an idea and said, ‘You know, Tim, we have a great Russian baseball player with us.’ I looked over and his eyes got all bright, his ears perked up, like he was a little dog inside all day and his master came home and ‘Hey, want to go for a walk?’ So I said, ‘Hey, what’s baseball like in Russia?’ and without missing a beat, Robin said, ‘Well we only have one team: the Reds.'”
“He could be funny anywhere,” Crystal continued. “We were such great friends that he would come to all of our family functions, weddings, Bar Mitzvahs… and he would sit with my older, immigrant relatives like he was just one of the guys. And he would tell them about his journey from his little shtetl in Poland to America. One uncle of mine said, ‘I came to America after World War II and I hitchhiked.’ Robin responded, ‘I waited until there was a 747 and a Kosher meal.'”
“As genius as he was on stage, he was the best friend you could ever imagine: supportive, protective, loving,” added Crystal, getting emotional. “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 the comedy galaxy.”
Watch the “In Memoriam” segment below:
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