Emmys’ In Memoriam honors Alex Trebek, Cicely Tyson and Michael K. Williams

It was a “River” of tears during the In Memoriam segment during the 2021 Emmys, which highlighted the late, great Alex Trebek, Cicely Tyson, Larry King and Michael K. Williams, among others.

Leon Bridges and Jon Batiste sang “River” as a tribute to the bright stars we lost since last fall, which were far too many as the COVID-19 pandemic raged.

Ahead of the show’s ceremony, Emmys Executive Producer Reginald Hudlin called it a “moving and powerful song,” while fellow EP Ian Stewart said viewers have likely belted it out during drunken karaoke.

“The song is a classic,” Stewart told Deadline. “I’m not suggesting you drink necessarily but if you were ever a little drunk at 2 a.m., you’ve probably sang it.”

The song provided some relief after a somber year of losing talented actors too soon, especially the recent deaths of Michael K. Williams and Norm Macdonald.

“There are so many people that we love that we lost this last year, and the only way to deal with it is to treat everyone fairly and equally because they are all magnificent talents that made such a huge impact on our industry,” Hudlin said.

Leon Bridges and Jon Batiste performed for the “In memoriam” segment at the 2021 Emmys.
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Williams, 54, was found dead in his Brooklyn apartment on Sept. 6 and his funeral was held last week in Pennsylvania. Macdonald, 61, died Sept. 14 after a 10-year battle with cancer that he hid from the public.

Other stars who died this year include: 91-year-old Ed Asner of “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” fame along with fellow star Cloris Leachman, 94; “MASH” actor Ned Beatty, 83; “Room 222” star Michael Constantine, 94; 44-year-old Dustin Diamond who played Screech on “Saved by the Bell”; “L.A. Law” star Bruce Kirby, 95; 85-year-old Robert Downey, Sr.; 86-year-old Charles Grodin; Hal Holbrook, 95; James Hampton, 84; “Real Housewives” star Gregg Leakes, 66; Suzzanne Douglas, 64; “Dynasty” stars Michael Nader, 76, and Geoffrey Scott, 79; Jane Withers, 87; radio host Rush Limbaugh, 70; “Peaky Blinders” actress Helen McCrory, 52; newsman Lloyd Dobyns Jr., 85; “Arrested Development” star Jessica Walter, 80; “General Hospital” stars Jay Pickett, 60, and Stuart Damon, 84; Art Metrano, 84; “Air Wolf” star Alex Cord, 88; “The Love Boat” captain Gavin MacLeod, 90; “All My Children”‘s Ray MacDonnell, 93; and “The Goldbergs” star George Segal, 87.

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