Emmys 2021: In memoriam honors Alex Trebek, Michael K. Williams, Cicely Tyson and more

Cicely Tyson holds two Emmys.
Cicely Tyson poses with her Emmy statuettes at the Emmy Awards in 1974.
(Associated Press)

The in memoriam segment at Sunday night’s 73rd Primetime Emmy Awards hit harder than usual, given the number of high-profile and COVID-19-related deaths of beloved actors.

Crooner Leon Bridges sang his melancholy “River” along with “Late Show With Stephen Colbert” bandleader Jon Batiste during the segment, which opened with the late broadcaster Larry King addressing his viewers and included mentions of “Saturday Night Live” veteran Norm Macdonald, both of whom the show paid tribute to early on.

The video package also included “Lou Grant” star Ed Asner, “Tales of the City” actress Olympia Dukakis, “Arrested Development” star Jessica Walter, “The Mary Tyler Moore Show’s” Cloris Leachman, “Saved By the Bell’s” Dustin Diamond and “Jeopardy!” host Alex Trebek.

Your one-stop shop for complete Emmy coverage from the Los Angeles Times, from the standout fashions and speeches to the biggest winners of the evening.

“I want you to know that I would not be here if it weren’t for each one of you. I am everlastingly grateful,” iconic actress Cicely Tyson said in the segment.

Hers was among the handful of poignant quotes the salute included before it closed with a stirring moment from “The Wire” alum Michael K. Williams, who was nominated but did not win for his supporting turn in HBO’s “Lovecraft Country.”


“The only way for me to say thank you is by making sure that the foundation that I am standing on is strong enough to support the next person that will stand on these two shoulders,” Williams said in the segment.

Williams lost to “The Crown’s” Tobias Menzies, who was not in attendance, and a wave of shock and disappointment appeared to come over the audience when the winner was announced.

Find out the winners of this year’s Emmys right here. We’ll be updating the list live throughout the show.