Here's the Funny Story Billy Crystal Told at Robin Williams' Memorial

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Billy Crystal

"Billy's story had the audience cracking up," says a source

This story first appeared in the Oct. 10 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.

In June 2004, as the nation watched Ronald Reagan's funeral in Washington, D.C., Billy Crystal's phone rang. It was Reagan on the line. Well, the voice sounded exactly like the 40th U.S. president, but the caller was actually brilliant impersonator and Crystal's longtime pal Robin Williams. Crystal asked how Reagan could be calling from the afterlife, to which Williams replied, "I'm in this strange place, and it seems to be quite hot here."

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Crystal shared the anecdote to rousing laughter Sept. 27 at San Francisco's Curran Theatre, where Williams' family and friends gathered for a private memorial. "Billy's story had the audience cracking up," says a source in attendance, adding that Crystal choked up while telling another story about Williams, who also was remembered in two Chris Columbus-produced video tributes and by more than a dozen eulogists who included his wife and his three children. Says the source, "The memorial showed the life of an incredibly kind and generous man whose life was well lived."