Billy Crystal Will Lead the Emmys' Tribute to Robin Williams

By LizRaftery

Aug 20, 2014

Billy Crystal will deliver a special tribute to Robin Williams at the Primetime Emmy Awards on Monday.

Crystal will honor Williams, who took his own life earlier this month, during the In Memoriam segment of the telecast, Emmy executive producer Don Mischer announced Wednesday. The segment will also feature a performance by singer-songwriter Sara Bareilles.

"We have done at least 30 shows with Robin through the years, going back into the 1980s," Mischer told TV Guide Magazine as he was in the process of planning the tribute. "We all know what Robin meant to the television community and to everyone, and the unique take on comedy that he brought to all of us. It's about what can we do to properly remember Robin and create perhaps an emotional moment about him."

Williams and Crystal were longtime friends and co-hosted Comic Relief with Whoopi Goldberg. The two also co-starred in the 1997 comedy Fathers' Day. In the wake of Williams' death, Crystal tweeted simply: "No words."

The 66th Primetime Emmy Awards will be broadcast live on Monday, August 25 at 8pm Eastern / 5pm Pacific on NBC. 

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  • txgirl75 Aug 21, 2014

    I think Billy Crystal is great to do Robin's tribute.

  • ktfahel Aug 21, 2014

    I saw this headline, and thought, "Well, DUH!" I mean, who else could be better?

  • anna108 Aug 21, 2014

    Very good choice:
    A friend pays tribute to another.
    Friendship is forever.

  • sofaspud2 Aug 21, 2014

    Mahvelous; simply mahvelous

  • wudntulik2know Aug 21, 2014

    Must miss teevee.

  • ukeishiro Aug 20, 2014

    I don't really like the use of the expression " who took is own life". Ok he committed suicide because he was sick or depressed or whatever, it's private I don't really need to know why he did what he did. But couldn't we simply put "who died"?
    I don't want to make him better than he was or worse, he was what he was with his goods and bads. But I don't think we need to write or say each time we speak of him that he committed suicide by respect for him or his family. If not we will remembered him because of that instead of the great comedian/actor/ (private man, I can't tell for that I obviously didn't knew him) he was. It would be good if journalist, people... from now could simply put "he died" after all that what Shakespeare wrote at the end of act 5 (I think) of the the king Lear.
    Just a thought

    Anyway it will certainly be a touching tribute.

  • angeleys151 Aug 21, 2014

    You make a good point that yes, we should remember him for his work and life, not his death. However your offense at the phrase (which I've seen others voice as well) highlights the stigma that is attached to suicide. I've never seen or heard anyone offended when John Lennons murder is called what it was. Referring to someone's suicide seems to come across as a character flaw which tarnishes his reputation. That is not the case, this is no less a tragedy because Williams died by his own hand. Shying away from the facts may make some feel better, but I don't see that as helpful to educating the public about depression.

  • Katerine_M Aug 21, 2014

    I'm torn on this subject.

    On the one hand, you're right in that it may not be what he would have wanted, and his suicide being highlighted is undoubtedly causing his friends and family some unneeded suffering.

    On the other hand... many of the best advances in public awareness of horrific, debilitating diseases have come when the public learns of a celebrity or other public figure who suffers from those diseases. And I do think that highlighting the fact that Robin Williams, who so many of us associate with laughter, committed suicide, could go a long way to raising public awareness to the fact that this is a disease. A disease not unlike cancer, in more ways than one.

    On Disqus, I've already seen so many dialogues that have taken place around this subject. Usually it begins when some misguided person who knows nothing about depression calls Williams' suicide, "selfish." That highlights a fundamental misunderstanding that so much of the public has about this disease, and it would never have happened if Williams' suicide were just swept under the rug.

  • ukeishiro Aug 21, 2014

    @angeleys151 & Katerine_M.
    I didn't want to diminished the tragedy of his death and what he did. And writing that he was depressed and that was what lead him to his death doesn't bother me because it is true and a reminder that depression is indeed a disease.
    But we (and especially professionals) can choose the rights words and stop to put in highlights or in the article that "he took is own life by hanging him sefl" at least for his family who don't need that to remembered what happened. But we can write that he was depressed, that is a disease a no one should be ashamed of it and seek help if needed. That would be educative too and less offensive.
    Anyway like I said it is just a point of view.

  • Katerine_M Aug 21, 2014

    (Note: I'm mainly imagining a rewritten history here, where your suggested course was used by the media from the beginning.)

    That would still be sweeping it under the rug. Worse, it would have diminished the shock value of the idea of someone who made so many of us laugh, committing suicide. And the shock value is what's currently leading to 99% of the good that is happening right now in the realm of public awareness.

    The entire point is that it shouldn't have to be offensive. People need to understand that depression/bipolar disorder are illnesses that can kill. The only reason people think of it as offensive is that, on some level, they think that being brought to suicide is shameful... that it's some kind of stain on his character. This has led to a lot of useful dialogues... like this one... which highlight that misunderstanding and go a long way towards changing the way people perceive this illness.

  • ukeishiro Aug 21, 2014

    Well a sure thing is that there is no really good/easy way to deal with a tragedy (suicide/accident/mureder...)