If you've ever been through a college speech class, you learned one painfully evident thing other than the fact that you hated getting up at 8 a.m. on a Friday to do it: Not everyone's meant to be a public speaker. Now, when Billy Crystal got up on the Emmys stage last night to remember Robin Williams, he proved (as if his years of being a comedian didn't already) that he was one of those fortunate, A+ students who walked up to the podium with a swagger that those sweating around them wish they had. Eulogizing someone is never easy, but eulogizing someone in front of the world is much more difficult, especially when they meant so very much to you and Crystal did it with absolute poise and clarity. But Emmy winner Kathy Bates would like you to know that she isn't so lucky.
Bates didn't have the time or the preparation to deliver a heartfelt speech like Crystal, but she told The Hollywood Reporter that she wished she could have done something to honor Robin Williams. Bates said, "I almost wanted to say, 'Look, I own this time and this is for you,' but I was just so … nervous." Still, the Unsinkable Molly Brown proved just how resilient and timeless she was by winning the Emmy for Supporting Actress in a Mini Series. So, I completely understand if she allowed herself to be human for a moment and was just a little too flustered by that to form coherent thoughts.
Besides, her special anecdotes of Williams — like the plethora of others revealed by many more heartbroken celebrities — were so touching once she was given the time to articulate them. It's amazing to think how many different people have such vivid and commendable memories with Williams, despite being so busy and facing so much turmoil in his own life.
In her talk with THR, Bates divulges how grateful she was to the late actor for his simple yet sweet act of lending her a quarter so she could call her mother after winning her first Golden Globe. But even more true to his character than that is when Bates recalled Williams kindness to her after losing her chance at an Academy Award, since he was the one who was reading off the names. "He came to me and said, 'I really wished I could have had your name in the envelope. Are you okay? I know how hard it is to lose.'"
It seems that no matter who is remembering Williams, all that speak of him knew him as being incredibly sincere, and the Emmys were just one more place where memories of him were understandably drudged up. Whether it was through Jimmy Kimmel's Mork suspenders salute, Crystal's beautiful "In Memoriam" segment, or by those like Bates who appreciated him for his kindness, it was clear that his absence was felt by all.
Images: Getty Images