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Billy Crystal: Robin Williams Memories on ‘The View’

Billy Crystal has long been close friends with Whoopi Goldberg, so when he visited the ladies of The View this past week to promote his new book, Still Foolin’ ‘em: Where I’ve Been, Where I’m ...
Billy Crystal: Robin Williams Memories on ‘The View’
Written by Kimberly Ripley
  • Billy Crystal has long been close friends with Whoopi Goldberg, so when he visited the ladies of The View this past week to promote his new book, Still Foolin’ ‘em: Where I’ve Been, Where I’m Going, and Where the Hell Are My Keys, it was only natural that talk would turn to their mutual dear friend Robin Williams. Whoopi Goldberg praised Billy Crystal for the touching tribute he paid to Williams at the Emmy Awards last month.

    “It was one of the hardest, if not the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do,” he told Whoopi. “He was such a great, dear friend of ours, such a joyous spirit, so when it all happened … that’s why I tweeted that, ‘No words,’ ’cause I didn’t have any. I just had pain. So, that night [at the Emmys] was the first night I would talk and say something about our buddy. It was hard to craft it and make it humorous and personal … and sort of being a two-minute eulogy in front of the country.”

    Crystal admitted, however, that the tribute helped a tiny bit with the pain.

    “He was such an amazing person. He was the most brilliant performer you could ever imagine. His physical presence on a stage was amazing. Many times, we’d be together on stage, the three of us, and Whoopi and I were like his parents,” he joked. “It just became so sort of magical to work with him and it was just the greatest.”

    Billy Crystal, Whoopi Goldberg, and Robin Williams were crusaders together. They raised more than $70 million for the homeless in America through Comic Relief, but “for us, it was a chance to get to know each other,” Crystal said.

    “We started in 1986 and we became the closest of friends,” he added. “Robin and I just bonded in the quiet moments.”

    He talked about the great times. Some of the most memorable were when he, along with Robin WIliams and Whoopi Goldberg, would deliver generous checks–often for hundreds of thousands of dollars–to homeless shelters.

    “Robin and I as we got older, it became this amazing bond,” Billy Crystal said. “Very fiercely protective of each other, in great ways. The phone calls–we talked about doing an album, like let’s take these phone calls, we were like two jazz musicians, late at night I’d get these calls and we’d go for hours and we never spoke as ourselves.”

    “When it was announced I was going to Broadway, I had 50 phone messages from some person named Gary, who wanted to be my backstage dresser [which was Williams],” Crystal shared.

    Billy Crystal told both the ladies of The View and their audience how very protective they both were of their dear friend Whoopi Goldberg.

    “You would host the Oscars,” Crystal said to Goldberg. “Robin lives in San Francisco and I’d be in LA. She’d do her opening, phone would ring, ‘How do you think she’s doing boss?’ I’d say, ‘Thought it was good, really strong opening, great.’ Five minutes later, you’d done your first intro, ‘What do you think, i think it was really great.’ The whole show would be the two of us on the phone.”

    Goldberg got noticeably choked up when hearing all about the love that Williams and Crystal shared for her.

    “The two of them,” Goldberg said of her time on Comic Relief. “I would just sit [and watch], you didn’t want to go do anything, but watch these fools.”

    All that’s left for those who loved Robin WIlliams now is to love and honor his memory–and revel in the laughter of a man who couldn’t laugh through those final tears. Billy Crystal is honoring him in the best way he knows how–by sharing the laughter and the tales. Drawing Whoopi Goldberg in on his trip down memory lane made for some poignant conversation on The View this past week.

    Did you happen to catch their chat?

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