Speed Reads

In Memoriam

Letterman remembers Robin Williams with old stories, clips, and a forgotten Mork cameo

When Robin Williams died last week, Late Show was on vacation, so David Letterman had to wait until Monday night to air his tribute to an actor and comic whom he knew for 38 years. In the 1970s, Letterman was part of a group of comics trying to catch a break at New York's Comedy Store (along with Jay Leno, among others), hoping for an invite onto Johnny Carson's Tonight Show. Williams crashed onto the scene "like a hurricane," Letterman recalled, then broke out first, landing a role on Happy Days before being cast as Mork in Mork & Mindy.

Letterman's tribute to Williams is both sweet and clear-eyed, and he ends it with a montage of clips from Williams' 50 times on Letterman's late-night shows. When Williams was a guest, Letterman said, "I didn't have to do anything — all I had to do was sit here and watch the machine." To highlight the late actor's generosity, Letterman recounted the time Williams got him an audition for a cameo on Mork & Mindy. Watch through to the montage if you want to see that clip. --Peter Weber