By MICHAEL ROTHMAN
News broke last week that Billy Crystal would be honoring his late friend Robin Williams during tonight's telecast of the 2014 Primetime Emmy Awards.
The actor and comedian did just that and honored Williams – who died in an apparent suicide earlier this month -- by coming on stage just after singer Sara Bareilles sang "Smile" during the in memoriam portion of the show.
"He made us laugh hard, every time you saw him," he said, speaking in front of a large image of Williams. "His brilliance was astounding... I used to think if I could just put a saddle on him and stay on for eight seconds I would be OK."
Crystal told stories of Williams’ making up stories at baseball games and sitting with his relatives at family functions.
"As genius as he was on stage, he was the greatest friend you could imagine," he continued. "It's very hard to talk about him in the past, he was so present in all our lives … for 40 years, he was the brightest star in the comedy galaxy."
Crystal closed by saying that even though Williams is gone, his "beautiful light will continue to shine on us forever, the glow will be so bright it will warm your heart."
A short video of some of Williams' hilarious appearances on stage and screen played right after, then the stage went quiet and the Emmys faded to black before a commercial break.
The tribute was just what Emmys producer Don Mischer had told the media he wanted.
"We felt we needed to do something powerful and memorable. Billy seemed like the perfect choice," he told E! News last week.
Crystal and Williams were friends for decades before Williams died Aug. 11 at the age of 63.
Crystal, Williams and Whoopi Goldberg were the trio that led the way for "Comic Relief in 1980's and 1990's on HBO in support of all kinds of worthy causes to help those in need, including the homeless epidemic and responses to random natural disasters.
The organization's slogan read, "Where there's laughter, there's hope."
When Crystal learned of the news of his dear friend's death, he took to Twitter and posted, "No words," which was seconded by Goldberg, who wrote "BillyCrystal is right...There are No words."
But Crystal found the right words tonight to honor someone with whom he worked for decades.