Of all the late-night hosts, David Letterman had the closest and longest personal connection to Robin Williams. Though Letterman was on vacation last week, he made sure to pay tribute to his friend on Monday's show.
Williams was found dead in his Tiburon, Calif., home last Monday after he took his own life at age 63. Williams' widow, Susan Schneider, released a statement to the media revealing that the comedian had been dealing with depression and a previously undisclosed diagnosis of Parkinson's disease.
Letterman said he and Williams were friends for 38 years. The "Late Show" host spent 10 minutes at his desk during the first half of his show recalling Williams and their early days together in the late 1970s at the Comedy Store in Los Angeles.
"He and I were kids," Letterman said, recalling their contemporaries, Jay Leno, Tom Dreesen, Tim Thomerson, Johnny Dark, Elayne Boosler and Jimmy Walker.
Letterman said when they first saw Williams on stage, he had been introduced as a Scottish comedian and everyone was "afraid of him."
But eventually they got to be friends, and when Williams got his own sitcom with "Mork & Mindy," he actually gave Letterman a guest spot on the show.
Letterman returned the favor, and Williams was a guest on Letterman's late-night shows 50 times over the years.
The host played a montage of Williams' appearances, but the emphasis was not on laughs as much as emotion, and Letterman was visibly moved when the clips ended.
"I'm sorry, like everybody else, that I had no idea that the man was in pain, that the man was suffering," he said.
Follow me on Twitter: @patrickkevindayCopyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times