Robin Williams' long-time friend and comedian Billy Crystal will pay him homage on Monday, 25 August at the 66th Primetime Emmy Awards, announced Emmy producer Don Mischer on Wednesday during the red carpet roll-out ceremony at Nokia Theatre in downtown Los Angeles.
The statement comes after the producer confirmed the commemoration last week, saying, "We are working to give Robin Williams the proper and meaningful remembrance he so well deserves."
Crystal was the logical choice to lead the Emmy tribute segment, given his long history with Williams.
"We felt we needed to do something powerful and memorable. Billy seemed like the perfect choice," said Mischer.
During their three-decade-long friendship, Crystal and Williams have collaborated a couple of times. The two famously spearheaded eight editions of HBO Comic Relief specials along with Whoopi Goldberg, during the 1980s and '90s, helping raise money for the homeless.
In 2006 too, they worked with Comic Relief to raise money for Hurricane Katrina relief and also starred together in the 1997 film, "Father's Day".
Crystal's tribute for Williams will be part of the traditional "in memoriam" segmant of the Emmys, in which industry members who died during the previous year are honoured. Mischer said the memorial segment for Williams will also include a performance from Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter Sara Bareilles. Although the song choice for the segment has not been announced, Bareilles had recently dedicated her song "Hercules" to Williams.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences had received flak from many suicide prevention groups when it tweeted a screen-shot from Disney's Aladdin, in which Aladdin hugs Genie, voiced by Williams and tells tell him, "Genie, you're free". It is a reference to Aladdin using his final wish to free the Genie from the lamp.
Genie, you're free. pic.twitter.com/WjA9QuuldD
— The Academy (@TheAcademy) August 12, 2014
That tribute got bashed by suicide prevention groups who felt it implied "suicide is an option", with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention's Christine Moutier accusing, "if it (the tribute) doesn't cross the line, it comes very, very close to it."
Crystal's tribute will not only be a more approariate replacement to the one, Academy has been admonished for, but it will also be the first time, the comedian speaks out about his friend's death. Williams' suicide on 11 August was clearly a shock to him and Crystal's only response to it has been a tweet that read, "No words."
The 66th Primetime Emmy Awards, hosted by Seth Meyers will air live on both coasts on Monday, 25 August from the Nokia Theatre LA Live beginning at 5 pm PT/8 pm ET on NBC.