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Billy Crystal to present Robin Williams tribute at Emmys

Robin Williams, left, and Billy Crystal arrive for

Robin Williams, left, and Billy Crystal arrive for the world premiere of the movie "House of D," in which Williams stars, at the 3rd Tribeca Film Festival on Friday, May 7, 2004. Credit: AP / Louis Lanzano

Billy Crystal, who had (at least) a 30-year association with Robin Williams, will present his tribute on Monday's telecast of the 66th Primetime Emmys.

The program's executive producer, Don Mischer, made the announcement Wednesday. Mischer said last week that the Academy was planning to mount "a proper and meaningful tribute," which will now fall to Crystal, who has long hosted Comic Relief USA with Williams and Whoopi Goldberg. (Crystal and Williams also co-starred in "Father's Day").

Williams presented the tribute to his personal comic icon, Jonathan Winters, at last year's show. 

Indeed, Williams' and Crystal's close ties long predate Comic Relief, which they had co-hosted with Goldberg since 1986. Like so many A-list comics, they came up through the east coast/west coast comedy club circuit in the '70s, shared prominent managers (Jack Rollins and Charles Joffe) and at times even seemed to be one another's most visible cheerleader.

After Williams' 2009 heart surgery, for example, Crystal explained to The New York Times how that might impact his comedy going forward. "I think he needs the stand-up in a different way than he did before. It's still a safe place for him to be, but he can talk about things and make himself feel better, not just everybody else."

After Williams' death was reported last week, Crystal could muster only this, in a Tweet: "No words."

Musical accompaniment for the "In Memoriam" tribute will be performed by Sara Bareilles. She had dedicated her song, "Hercules," to Williams during a recent concert, but Mischer did not say what the music choices will be.

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