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Saturday 20 September 2014

Emmy show tribute to Robin Williams

Published 26/08/2014 | 04:41

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Billy Crystal, left, pictured with Robin Williams, paid tribute to the late actor at the Emmy Awards in Los Angeles (AP)

Billy Crystal has paid tribute to his pal and comedy brother Robin Williams at the Emmy Awards, movingly remembering him as "the greatest friend you could ever imagine".

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Following the ceremony's in memoriam segment, Crystal appeared on stage at Los Angeles' Nokia Theatre to honour Williams, who was found hanged in his Northern California home on August 11. A luminous image of the late comedian hovered overhead.

"He made us laugh, big time," said Crystal.

After Williams' apparent suicide, Crystal simply wrote on Twitter of his long-time friend and Comic Relief co-host: "No words."

But he found moving words to remember Williams today, recalling family gatherings, ball games and nights on stage together.

"I used to think if I could put a saddle on him and stay on him for eight seconds, I was going to do OK," said Crystal.

"It's very hard to talk about him in the past because he was so present in all of our lives. He was the brightest star in the comedy galaxy."

Crystal concluded by reflecting on the eternal glow Williams would continue to give, long after he was gone.

"And you'll think to yourself, 'Robin Williams, what a concept'," he said.

Modern Family won a record-tying fifth best comedy series Emmy and a dominant Breaking Bad captured the top drama award and a trio of acting honours.

Bryan Cranston was named best actor in a drama for Breaking Bad, proving that True Detective nominee Matthew McConaughey's movie-star appeal could not conquer all.

"I have gratitude for everything that has happened," said Cranston said, whose victory ties him with four-time best drama actor champ Dennis Franz. Cranston's co-stars Aaron Paul and Anna Gunn were honoured in categories for best drama supporting acting,

"Thank you for this wonderful farewell to our show," said Breaking Bad creator Vince Gilligan said of the series about a teacher-turned-drug kingpin that ended with a bang.

The Good Wife star Julianna Margulies won the Emmy for best lead actress in a drama series, saying: "What a wonderful time for women on television."

McConaughey was the object of too-handsome jokes by presenter Jimmy Kimmel and adoration by winner Gail Mancuso, honoured as best director for an episode of Modern Family.

"If you don't mind, Matthew McConaughey, I'm going to make eye contact with you right now," she said from the stage, making good by holding the actor's gaze for much of her speech.

The ceremony honoring the best of TV was not shy about playing the movie-star card. "Six minutes to Woody Harrelson" flashed on screen during British director Colin Bucksey's acceptance speech for best mini-series direction for Fargo.

Harrelson and his True Detective co-star were given time to banter before announcing that British actor Benedict Cumberbatch of Sherlock: His Last Vow was the winner of the best mini-series actor award.

"So you won Oscar, (People magazine's) Sexiest Man Alive and now you want an Emmy, too. Isn't that a little bit greedy?" Harrelson teased his fellow nominee.

Fargo was named best mini-series, and the award for best mini-series actress went to Jessica Lange of American Horror Story: Coven.

Buffering the mini-series awards was a parody routine about top nominees by "Weird Al" Yankovic. Musical numbers usually look out of place at the Emmys, and this one was no different. Other scripted banter fell flat, although host Seth Meyers kept soldiering on.

CBS' The Big Bang Theory star Jim Parsons was crowned best comedy series actor, giving him his fourth Emmy and putting him in league with all-time sitcom winners Kelsey Grammer and Michael J Fox.

ABC's Modern Family, which tied Frasier as the all-time sitcom champ with five statuettes, also captured a best comedy supporting actor trophy for Ty Burrell. Allison Janney was honoured as best supporting comedy actress for CBS' Mom, adding to the trophy she had already picked up as guest actress on Masters Of Sex.

Julia Louis-Dreyfus, who received her third consecutive best comedy actress Emmy for the political comedy Veep, drew big laughs as she stopped to exchange faux heated kisses with Cranston, who was earlier co-presenter and who appeared with her on Seinfeld.

The in memorian tribute to industry members who have died in the past year flashed images of stars including James Garner, Ruby Dee, Sid Caesar, Carmen Zapata and Elaine Stritch as singer-songwriter Sara Bareilles sang Smile, before ending with Williams.

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