LOS ANGELES (AFP) - The 66th Emmy Awards paid a heartfelt and sombre tribute on Monday to the late Robin Williams, his friend and fellow actor-comic Billy Crystal calling him "the brightest star in the comedy galaxy". Dressed in a dark suit and stood against a poignant black background, Crystal recalled their life and times together.
The Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles also showed clips of Williams in films, on stage and in talk shows, and finished off with a portrait of him, followed by a stony silence in the blacked-out auditorium.
"He made us laugh. I spent many happy hours onstage with Robin. His brilliance was stunning, the relentless energy breathtaking. I felt like if I could throw a saddle on him and stay on for eight seconds I was doing great," said Crystal.
He told tales of happy times with Williams, who died on Aug 11, aged 63, of a suspected suicide.
Crystal recalled a conversation the star duo had about baseball.
"He could be funny anywhere," said Crystal, who cut a serious but calm figure, and described Williams as "a genius", as well as "the greatest friend you could ever imagine". "Supportive, protective, loving. It's very hard to talk about him in the past because he was so present in our lives. For almost 40 years, he was the brightest star in the comedy galaxy," said Crystal.
"But while some of the brightest of celestial bodies are actually extinct, their molten energy long since cooled, miraculously, because they float in the heavens so far away from us now, their beautiful light will shine on us forever.
"And the glow will be so bright, it will warm your heart and make your eyes glisten, and you'll think to yourselves, Robin Williams. What a concept."