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Crystal, Billy 1947(?)–

Crystal, Billy 1947(?)–

(Bill Crystal)

PERSONAL

Full name, William Crystal; born March 14, 1947 (some sources cite 1948), in Long Beach, Long Island, NY; son of Jack (a record store manager, record company executive, and producer of jazz concerts) and Helen Crystal; nephew of Milt Gabler (a musician and songwriter); brother of Richard Crystal (a television producer); married Janice Goldfinger, June 4, 1970; children: Jennifer (an actress), Lindsay (an actress). Education: Attended Marshall University; graduated from Nassau Community College; New York University, B.F.A., 1970. Avocational Interests: Softball, tennis, cooking Japanese food, collecting New York Yankees memorabilia and miniature furniture, gardening, attending baseball and basketball games.

Addresses: Agent—International Creative Management, 8942 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills, CA 90211. Manager—Larry Brezner, MBST Entertainment, 345 North Maple Dr., Suite 200, Beverly Hills, CA 90210. Publicist—PMK/HBH Public Relations, 700 North San Vicente Blvd., Suite G910, West Hollywood, CA 90069; 161 Avenue of the Americas, 10th Floor, New York, NY 10013.

Career: Actor, voice artist, comedian, producer, director, and writer. Nassau Community College, worked with Alumni Theatre Group; member of improvisational comedy troupe We the People (also known as Comedy Jam and Three's Company), 1971–75; stand-up comedian, 1975–, including appearances at Bitter End, Catch a Rising Star, Comedy Store, and various Playboy Clubs; Face Productions, founder, c. 1992; also affiliated with Jennilind Productions; appeared in commercials, including one for New York Experience, 2001. Arizona Diamondbacks (baseball team), part owner. Briefly worked as a substitute teacher at Long Beach Junior High School.

Member: Screen Actors Guild, Friars Club (proctor).

Awards, Honors: Emmy Award nomination, outstanding individual performance in a variety or music program, 1985, for Saturday Night Live; Grammy Award nomination, National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, best comedy recording, 1985, for Mahvelous!; Annual CableACE Award nomination, National Cable Television Association, outstanding performance in a comedy special, 1987, for "Billy Crystal—Don't Get Me Started," On Location; Emmy Award nomination, outstanding individual performance in a variety or music program, 1987, for The 29th Annual Grammy Awards; Emmy Award nomination, outstanding individual achievement in special events, 1988, for The 30th Annual Grammy Awards; Emmy Award nomination, outstanding individual performance in a variety or music program, 1988, and Annual CableACE Award, best actor in a comedy series, 1989, both for An All-Star Toast to the Improv; Emmy Award, outstanding performance in special events, 1989, for The 31st Annual Grammy Awards; Golden Apple Award, Hollywood Women's Press Club, male star of the year, 1989; Emmy Award, outstanding writing, and Emmy Award nominations, outstanding individual performance in a variety or music program and outstanding variety, music, or comedy special (with others), all 1990, for Midnight Train to Moscow; American Comedy Award, funniest leading actor in a motion picture, 1989, and Golden Globe Award nomination, George Schlatter Productions, best performance by an actor in a motion picture comedy or musical, 1990, for When Harry Met Sally …; Special Award, ShoWest Convention, National Association of Theatre Owners, comedy star of the decade, 1991; Humanitarian Award, Crystal Awards, Women in Film, 1991; Emmy Awards, outstanding writing (with others) and outstanding individual performance in a variety or music program, both 1992, for The 63rd Annual Academy Awards; Golden Globe Award nomination, best actor in a musical or comedy film, American Comedy Award, funniest lead actor in a motion picture, and MTV Movie Award, best comedic performance, all 1992, for City Slickers; Annual CableACE Award, best entertainment host (with Whoopi Goldberg and Robin Williams), 1992, for Comic Relief V; Emmy Award, outstanding individual achievement in writing for a variety or music program (with others), Emmy Award nomination, outstanding individual performance in a variety or music program, and Television Critics Association Award, outstanding achievement in movies, miniseries, and specials, all 1992, and American Comedy Award, funniest male performer in a television special, 1993, all for The 64th Annual Academy Awards; Creative Achievement Award, American Comedy Awards, 1993; Golden Globe Award nomination, best performance by an actor in a motion picture comedy or musical, 1993, for Mr. Saturday Night; Emmy Award nomination, outstanding individual performance in a variety or music program, 1993, and American Comedy Award, funniest male performer in a television special, 1994, both for The 65th Annual Academy Awards; Emmy Award nomination, outstanding individual performance in a variety or music program (with Goldberg and Williams), 1996, for Comic Relief VII; Emmy Award nomination, outstanding performance in a variety or music program, 1997, for The 69th Annual Academy Awards; Emmy Award, outstanding performance in a variety or music program, 1998, and American Comedy Award, funniest male performer in a television special, 1999, both for The 70th Annual Academy Awards; American Comedy Award nomination, funniest male performer in a television special, 2000, for Saturday Night Live: 25th Anniversary; Blockbuster Entertainment Award, favorite comedy team (with Robert De Niro), 2000, for Analyze This; named man of the year, Hasty Pudding Theatricals, 2000; Emmy Award nomination, outstanding individual performance in a variety or music program, 2000, and American Comedy Award nomination, funniest male performer in a television special, 2001, both for The 72nd Annual Academy Awards; AFI Star Award, U.S. Comedy Arts Festival, 2001; Emmy Award nominations, outstanding directing for a miniseries, movie, or special and outstanding made-for-television movie (with others), both 2001, and Directors Guild of America Award nomination, outstanding direction in a television movie, 2002, all for 61∗; World Soundtrack Award, best original song written for a film (with oth-ers), 2002, for "If I Didn't Have You," Monsters, Inc.; Blimp Award nomination, favorite voice from an animated movie, Kids' Choice Awards, 2002, for Monsters, Inc.; Emmy Award nomination, outstanding individual performance in a variety or music program, 2004, for The 76th Annual Academy Awards; Antoinette Perry Award, special theatrical event, Drama Desk Award and Outer Critics Circle Award, both outstanding solo performance, all 2005, for 700 Sundays; Excellence in Media Award, Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, 2005; also received star on Hollywood Walk of Fame.

CREDITS

Film Appearances:

Lionel Carpenter, Rabbit Test, Avco Embassy, 1978.

Voice of Lodge Turkell, Animalympics (animated), Barber Rose International Films, 1979.

Morty the Mime, This Is Spinal Tap, Embassy, 1984.

Danny Costanzo, Running Scared, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer/United Artists, 1986.

Miracle Max, The Princess Bride, Twentieth Century-Fox, 1987.

Larry Donner/Cousin Paddy, Throw Momma from the Train, Orion, 1987.

Dr. Abbie Polin, Memories of Me, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer/United Artists, 1988.

Harry Burns, When Harry Met Sally …, Nelson Entertainment, 1989.

Mitch Robbins, City Slickers, Columbia, 1991.

Buddy Young Jr., Mr. Saturday Night, Columbia, 1992.

Narrator, Horton Hatches the Egg, 1992.

Mitch Robbins, City Slickers II: The Legend of Curly's Gold (also known as City Slickers II and City Slickers: The Legend of Curly's Gold), Columbia, 1994.

Mickey Gordon, Forget Paris, Columbia, 1995.

First gravedigger, Hamlet (also known as William Shakespeare's "Hamlet"), Columbia, 1996.

Jack Lawrence, Fathers' Day, Warner Bros., 1997.

Larry (the Devil), Deconstructing Harry, Fine Line Features, 1997.

Sam "Sammy" Kamin, My Giant, Sony Pictures Releasing, 1998.

Himself, Get Bruce! (documentary), Miramax, 1999.

Dr. Ben Sobol, Analyze This, 1999.

(Uncredited) Academy Awards master of ceremonies, American Movie: The Making of Northwestern (documentary; also known as American Movie), Sony Pictures Classics, 1999.

(Uncredited) Mattress salesman, The Adventures of Rocky & Bullwinkle (also known as Die abenteuer von Rocky und Bullwinkle), Universal, 2000.

Himself, The Journey (documentary), Journey Productions, 2001.

Lee Phillips, America's Sweethearts, Columbia, 2001.

Voice of Mike Wazowski, Monsters, Inc. (animated), Buena Vista, 2001.

Voice of Mike Wazowski, Mike's New Car (animated), Walt Disney, 2002.

Dr. Ben Sobel, Analyze That, Warner Bros., 2002.

Voice of Calcifer for English version, Hauru no ugoku shiro (also known as Howl's Moving Castle), Buena Vista, 2004.

Himself, Tell Them Who You Are (documentary), Think-Film, 2004.

Film Work:

Producer (with Alan King and Michael Hertzberg), Memories of Me, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer/United Artists, 1988.

Executive producer, City Slickers, Columbia, 1991.

Producer and director, Mr. Saturday Night, Columbia, 1992.

Producer, City Slickers II: The Legend of Curly's Gold (also known as City Slickers II and City Slickers: The Legend of Curly's Gold), Columbia, 1994.

Producer and director, Forget Paris, Columbia, 1995.

Producer, My Giant, Sony Pictures Releasing, 1998.

Executive producer, Analyze This, 1999.

Producer, America's Sweethearts, Columbia, 2001.

Executive producer, Analyze That, Warner Bros., 2002.

Television Appearances; Series:

Jodie Dallas, Soap, ABC, 1977–81.

Host, The Billy Crystal Comedy Hour, NBC, 1982.

Saturday Night Live (also known as NBC's Saturday Night, Saturday Night, Saturday Night Live '80, SNL, and SNL 25), NBC, 1984–85.

Television Appearances; Specials:

ABC team member, Battle of the Network Stars, ABC, 1976, 1977, 1978.

Guest, The 36 Most Beautiful Girls in Texas, ABC, 1978.

Cohost, Battle of the Network Stars, ABC, 1979.

Player, The Celebrity Football Classic, NBC, 1979.

The TV Show, ABC, 1979.

Guest, Doug Henning's World of Magic, NBC, 1982.

Catch a Rising Star's 10th Anniversary, 1982.

Tony Manetti, "Split Decision," Likely Stories, Vol. 3, 1983.

Host, Billy Crystal: A Comic's Line, HBO, 1984.

Host, A Comedy Salute to Baseball, NBC, 1985.

Guest, The Night of 100 Stars II, ABC, 1985.

Witness, Richard Lewis "I'm in Pain" Concert, Showtime, 1985.

Cohost, Comic Relief, HBO, 1986.

Host, "Billy Crystal—Don't Get Me Started," On Location, HBO, 1986.

Guest, Kraft Salutes the George Burns Ninetieth Birthday Special (also known as George Burns' 90th Birthday Special), CBS, 1986.

Comic Relief: Backstage Pass, 1986.

Cohost, Comic Relief II, HBO, 1987.

The Lost Minutes of Billy Crystal, HBO, 1987.

An All-Star Celebration: The 1988 Vote, ABC, 1988.

An All-Star Toast to the Improv, HBO, 1988.

Get Out the Vote, 1988.

Life's Most Embarrassing Moments, syndicated, 1988.

All-Star Tribute to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, NBC, 1989.

Midnight Train to Moscow, HBO, 1989.

The Barbara Walters Special, ABC, 1989.

Cohost, Comic Relief III, HBO, 1989.

Grand Slam, syndicated, 1989.

Saturday Night Live Fifteenth Anniversary, NBC, 1989.

Cohost, Comic Relief IV, HBO, 1990.

Overtime … with Pat O'Brien, CBS, 1990.

Guest, Robert Wuhl's World Tour, HBO, 1990.

The World of Jewish Humor, PBS, 1990.

Wolf Trap Salutes Victor Borge: An 80th Birthday Celebration, PBS, 1990.

A Comedy Salute to Michael Jordan, NBC, 1991.

Entertainers '91: The Top Twenty of the Year, ABC, 1991.

Member of choir, Voices that Care, Fox, 1991.

HBO's 20th Anniversary—We Hardly Believe It Ourselves, CBS/HBO, 1992.

Muhammad Ali's 50th Birthday Celebration, ABC, 1992.

Cohost, Comic Relief V, HBO, 1992.

When It Was a Game 2, HBO, 1992.

Wax Cracks Hollywood, HBO, 1993.

"What Is This Thing Called Love?," The Barbara Walters Special, ABC, 1993.

But … Seriously, Showtime, 1994.

"Addicted to Fame," First Person with Maria Shriver, NBC, 1994.

Cohost, Comic Relief VI, HBO, 1994.

The 10th Annual Television Academy Hall of Fame, The Disney Channel, 1994.

All-Star 25th Birthday: Stars and Street Forever! (also known as Sesame Street's All-Star 25th Birthday: Stars and Street Forever!), ABC, 1994.

(In archive footage) 20 Years of Comedy on HBO, HBO, 1995.

Interviewee, Countdown to Comic Relief, Comedy Central, 1995.

Cohost, Comic Relief VII, HBO, 1995.

Hollywood Stars: A Century of Cinema (also known as A Century of Cinema), The Disney Channel, 1995.

The Making of "Forget Paris", 1995.

What Makes You Laugh?, 1995.

Correspondent, "Extra Point," Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel, HBO, 1995.

Segment host, Caesar's Writers, PBS, 1996.

Catch a Rising Star 50th Anniversary—Give or Take 26 Years, CBS, 1996.

Cohost, Comic Relief's 10th Anniversary, HBO, 1996.

I Am Your Child (also known as From Zero to Three), ABC, 1997.

(Uncredited) Interviewee, Sports on the Silver Screen, HBO, 1997.

Steve Allen's 75th Birthday Celebration, PBS, 1997.

Canned Ham: Deconstructing Harry, Comedy Central, 1997.

Interviewee, Countdown to Comic Relief 8, Comedy Central, 1998.

Host, Comic Relief VIII, HBO, 1998.

Tony Bennett: An All-Star Tribute—Live by Request, Arts and Entertainment, 1998.

AFI's 100 Years … 100 Movies, CBS, 1998.

Host, Warner Bros. Story: No Guts, No Glory: 75 Years of Laughter, TNT, 1998.

Saturday Night Live 25th Anniversary, NBC, 1999.

Master of ceremonies for opening ceremony, 1999 Special Olympics—World Summer Games, 1999.

Narrator, "There's a Nightmare in My Closet," Goodnight Moon and Other Sleepytime Tales, HBO, 1999.

Howard Cosell: Telling It Like It Is, HBO, 1999.

NFL All-Star Comedy Blitz, CBS, 1999.

Radio City Music Hall's Grand Re-Opening Gala, NBC, 1999.

The Daily Show with Jon Stewart Interview Special: Billy Crystal, Comedy Central, 1999.

Interviewee, Yogi Berra: Deja vu All Over Again, PBS, 1999.

Saturday Night Live: 25th Anniversary Primetime Special, NBC, 1999.

Saturday Night Live: Game Show Parodies, NBC, 1999.

The AFI's 100 Years … 100 Stars, CBS, 1999.

AFI's 100 Years, 100 Laughs: America's Funniest Movies, CBS, 2000.

Interviewee, When It Was a Game 3, HBO, 2000.

The Comedy Central Presents the New York Friars Club Roast of Rob Reiner, Comedy Central, 2000.

The Kennedy Center: Mark Twain Prize—Celebrating Whoopi Goldberg, PBS, 2001.

Interviewee, Jack Palance: From Grit to Grace, Arts and Entertainment, 2001.

The Concert for New York City, VH1, 2001.

Muhammad Ali: Through the Eyes of the World, 2001.

Billy Connolly: A BAFTA Tribute, BBC (England), 2002.

Reel Comedy: Analyze That, Comedy Central, 2002.

AFI Life Achievement Award: A Tribute to Robert De Niro, USA Network, 2003.

Interviewee, When Stand-up Comics Ruled the World, VH1, 2004.

A Tribute to Joe Mantegna, 2004.

101 Most Unforgettable SNL Moments, E! Entertainment Television, 2004.

Spinal Tap Goes to 20, Independent Film Channel, 2004.

Interviewee, Inside the Actors Studio: 10th Anniversary Special, Bravo, 2004.

Interviewee, The Barbara Walters Special, ABC, 2004.

Interviewee, AFI's 100 Years … 100 Movie Quotes: America's Greatest Quips, Comebacks, and Catchphrases, CBS, 2005.

Also appeared in Dean Martin Celebrity Roast.

Television Appearances; Awards Presentations:

The 28th Annual Grammy Awards, CBS, 1986.

Host, The 29th Annual Grammy Awards, CBS, 1987.

Presenter, The 60th Annual Academy Awards, ABC, 1988.

Host, The 30th Annual Grammy Awards, CBS, 1988.

The 61st Annual Academy Awards, ABC, 1989.

Host, The 31st Annual Grammy Awards, CBS, 1989.

The 4th Annual American Comedy Awards, ABC, 1990.

Host, The 62nd Annual Academy Awards, ABC, 1990.

Host, The 63rd Annual Academy Awards, ABC, 1991.

Host, The 64th Annual Academy Awards, ABC, 1992.

The 6th Annual American Comedy Awards, ABC, 1992.

Host, The 65th Annual Academy Awards, ABC, 1993.

The 7th Annual American Comedy Awards, ABC, 1993.

Presenter, The Jim Thorpe Pro Sports Awards, ABC, 1995.

Host, The 69th Annual Academy Awards, ABC, 1997.

Host, The 70th Annual Academy Awards, ABC, 1998.

Presenter, Sports Illustrated's 20th Century Sports Awards, 1999.

Host, The 72nd Annual Academy Awards, ABC, 2000.

2000 Blockbuster Entertainment Awards, Fox, 2000.

Host, The 76th Annual Academy Awards, ABC, 2004.

Narrator, The 2004 ESPY Awards, ESPN, 2004.

Television Appearances; Movies:

David, SST—Death Flight (also known as Death Flight, Flight of the Maiden, and SST: Disaster in the Sky), ABC, 1977.

Myles Gordon, "Miles the Angel," Human Feelings, NBC, 1978.

Danny Doyle, Breaking Up Is Hard to Do, ABC, 1979.

Lieutenant Jacob "Jake" Beser, Enola Gay: The Men, the Mission, the Atomic Bomb, NBC, 1980.

Voice of America, In Search of Dr. Seuss, TNT, 1994.

Television Appearances; Episodic:

(As Bill Crystal) Guest, Saturday Night Live (also known as NBC's Saturday Night, Saturday Night, Saturday Night Live '80, SNL, and SNL 25), NBC, 1976.

Al Bender, "New Year's Wedding," All in the Family, CBS, 1976.

Guest, Fridays, 1976, 1977.

Frequent guest, The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, NBC, between 1977 and 1992.

Shy young man (title role), "The Kissing Bandit," The Love Boat, ABC, 1978.

Himself, "I Am Democracy," America 2-Night, syndicated, 1978.

Guest host, Midnight Special, 1980.

Paddy, "Make-Up," Darkroom, ABC, 1981.

Guest host, Fridays, 1981.

Guest, The Steve Allen Comedy Hour, 1981.

Guest, Late Night with David Letterman, NBC, 1983, 1988.

Larry (some sources cite Peter), "The Three Little Pigs," Faerie Tale Theatre, Showtime, 1984.

Robert Klein Time, USA Network, 1988.

Guest, Today, NBC, 1991, 2004.

Himself, "Talk Show," The Larry Sanders Show, HBO, 1992.

Narrator, "My New Neighbors," Shelley Duvall's Bedtime Stories, Showtime, 1992.

Frequent guest, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, NBC, beginning 1992.

Guest, The Whoopi Goldberg Show, syndicated, 1992.

Guest, Late Show with David Letterman, CBS, beginning 1993.

Guest, The Full Wax, BBC1 (England), 1993.

Voice of Gary Grossman, "L.A. Jay," The Critic (animated), ABC, 1994.

Guest, Clive Anderson Talks Back, Channel 4 (England), 1994, 1995.

Voice of guest caller Jack, "Leapin' Lizards," Frasier, NBC, 1995.

Himself, Muppets Tonight!, ABC, 1996.

Guest, Inside the Actors Studio, Bravo, 1996.

Tim, "The One with the Ultimate Fighting Champion," Friends, NBC, 1997.

Guest, The Rosie O'Donnell Show, syndicated, 1997, 1998.

Guest, Late Night with Conan O'Brien, NBC, 1997.

"The Best of Muppets Tonight!," Muppets Tonight, ABC, 1997.

Celebrity square, Hollywood Squares, syndicated, 1998.

Himself, Clive Anderson All Talk, BBC1, 1999.

The Martin Short Show, NBC, 1999.

"The Films of Rob Reiner," The Directors, Encore, 1999.

Guest, The Howard Stern Radio Show, syndicated, 1999.

Guest, Ruby, BBC (England), 1999.

Guest, Howard Stern, E! Entertainment Television, 2000.

"Mickey Mantle," ESPN Sports Century, ESPN, 2000.

"Wilt Chamberlain," ESPN Sports Century, ESPN, 2001.

Guest, Primetime Glick, Comedy Central, 2001.

Guest, "Analyze That," HBO First Look, HBO, 2002.

Himself, "Secrets and Lies," The Bernie Mac Show, Fox, 2002.

Guest, Leute heute, 2002.

Himself, "SportsCenter 25K," SportsCenter, ESPN, 2002.

Voice of John Adams, "United We Stand," Liberty's Kids: Est. 1776 (also known as Liberty's Kids), PBS, 2002.

Voice of John Adams, "Postmaster General Franklin, Liberty's Kids: Est. 1776 (also known as Liberty's Kids), PBS, 2002.

"TV and Movie Week," Supermarket Sweep, 2002.

Himself, Filmland, 2003.

Guest, The Oprah Winfrey Show, syndicated, 2003, 2004.

Guest, Extra, syndicated, 2003.

Interviewee, "Best Sports Movies," ESPN25: Who's # 1?, 2004.

Interviewee, "Best Plays," ESPN25: Who's # 1?, 2004.

Interviewee, On the Record with Bob Costas (also known as Costas Now), HBO, 2005.

Guest, The Tony Danza Show, syndicated, 2005.

Guest, Live with Regis and Kelly, syndicated, 2005.

Also appeared in episodes of Alan King: Inside the Comedy Mind; Celebrity Profile, E! Entertainment Television; Dinah; Keep On Truckin'; Life's Most Embarrassing Moments; The Mike Douglas Show; and That Was the Year that Was.

Television Appearances; Other:

Guest, Saturday Night Live with Howard Cosell (pilot), ABC, 1975.

Baseball (miniseries; also known as A History of Baseball), PBS, 1994.

Himself, Dick Schaap: Flashing before My Eyes, 2001.

Himself, The 2003 ALCS: A Rivalry Renewed, 2003.

(In archive footage) Comedy Central Presents: 100 Greatest Stand-ups of All Time (miniseries), Comedy Central, 2004.

Television Work; Specials:

Director, "Split Decision," Likely Stories, Vol. 3, 1983.

Executive producer and director, Comic Relief, HBO, 1986.

Producer and director, "Billy Crystal—Don't Get Me Started," On Location, HBO, 1986.

Executive producer and director, Comic Relief II, HBO, 1987.

Executive producer, Midnight Train to Moscow, HBO, 1989.

Executive producer, My Uncle Berns, HBO, 2003.

Television Work; Other:

Creator and executive producer, Sessions (series), HBO, 1991.

Executive producer, Survival on the Mountain (movie), NBC, 1997.

Executive producer and director, 61∗ (movie; also known as 61), HBO, 2001.

Stage Appearances:

Master of ceremonies, Cabaret (musical), Ohio production, 1981.

Night of 100 Stars II, Radio City Music Hall, New York, NY, 1985.

700 Sundays (solo show), La Jolla Playhouse, La Jolla, CA, 2004, then Broadhurst Theatre, New York City, 2004–2005.

RECORDINGS

Albums:

Mahvelous! (comedy album), A & M/Polygram, 1985.

Compiler, Billie Remembers Billy, Verve, 2004.

Compiler, Billy Crystal Presents the Milt Gabler Story, Verve, 2005.

Videos:

Your Favorite Laughs from "An Evening at the Improv," 1984.

Big City Comedy, Artisan Entertainment/Vestron Video, 1985.

Making "Mr. Saturday Night," Wrightwood Group, 1992.

Oscar's Greatest Moments, Columbia TriStar Home Video/RCA-Columbia Pictures Home Video, 1992.

Back in the Saddle: The Making of "City Slickers II," Wrightwood Group, 1994.

How Harry Met Sally …, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer/United Artists Home Video, 2000.

The Greatest Summer of My Life: Billy Crystal and the Making of "61∗," HBO Home Video, 2001.

As You Wish: The Story of "The Princess Bride," Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer/United Artists Home Entertainment, 2001.

Voices of Animalympics characters, The Making of "Tron," Walt Disney, 2002.

Appeared in the music videos "Sweet Freedom" by Michael McDonald and "Voices that Care."

WRITINGS

Screenplays:

(With Eric Roth) Memories of Me, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer/United Artists, 1988.

Mr. Saturday Night, Columbia, 1992.

City Slickers II: The Legend of Curly's Gold (also known as City Slickers II and City Slickers: The Legend of Curly's Gold), Columbia, 1994.

Forget Paris, Columbia, 1995.

My Giant (also based on a story by Crystal), Sony Pictures Releasing, 1998.

America's Sweethearts, Columbia, 2001.

Analyze That, Warner Bros., 2002.

Also writer (with Randy Newman) of the song "If I Didn't Have You," featured in the animated film Monsters, Inc., Buena Vista, 2001.

Television Specials:

(With others) The TV Show, ABC, 1979.

"Split Decision," Likely Stories, Vol. 3, 1983.

(With Rocco Urbisci) Billy Crystal: A Comic's Line, HBO, 1984.

A Comedy Salute to Baseball, NBC, 1985.

Comic Relief, HBO, 1986.

"Billy Crystal—Don't Get Me Started," On Location, HBO, 1986.

Comic Relief II, HBO, 1987.

An All-Star Toast to the Improv, HBO, 1988.

(With others) Midnight Train to Moscow, HBO, 1989.

"There's a Nightmare in My Closet," Goodnight Moon and Other Sleepytime Tales, HBO, 1999.

Television Awards Presentations; Special Material:

The 63rd Annual Academy Awards, ABC, 1991.

The 64th Annual Academy Awards, ABC, 1992.

The 65th Annual Academy Awards, ABC, 1993.

The 69th Annual Academy Awards, ABC, 1997.

The 70th Annual Academy Awards, ABC, 1998.

The 72nd Annual Academy Awards, ABC, 2000.

The 76th Annual Academy Awards, ABC, 2004.

Television Series:

The Billy Crystal Comedy Hour, NBC, 1982.

Saturday Night Live (also known as NBC's Saturday Night, Saturday Night, Saturday Night Live '80, SNL, and SNL 25), NBC, 1984–85.

Sessions, HBO, 1991.

Television Episodes:

Writer for The Love Boat, ABC.

Stage Scripts:

(With Alan Zweibel) 700 Sundays (solo show), La Jolla Playhouse, La Jolla, CA, 2004, then Broadhurst Theatre, New York City 2004–05.

Other:

(With Dick Schaap) Absolutely Mahvelous (autobiography), G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1986.

I Already Know I Love You (juvenile), illustrated by Elizabeth Saylos, HarperCollins, 2004.

Contributor to books, including Rolling Stone Book of Comedy, edited by Bonnie Schiffman and Bill Zehme, 1991. Contributor to periodicals, including New York Times and Playboy.

ADAPTATIONS

The 1991 film City Slickers was based on a story idea by Crystal.

OTHER SOURCES

Books:

Crystal, Billy, and Dick Schaap, Absolutely Mahvelous, Putnam, 1986.

International Dictionary of Films and Filmmakers, Volume 3: Actors and Actresses, 4th edition, St. James Press, 2000.

St. James Encyclopedia of Popular Culture, St. James Press, 2000.

Periodicals:

AARP, March, 2004, pp. 52-56.

American Film, July-August, 1989, pp. 30-33, 48.

Cosmopolitan, June, 1986, p. 80.

Empire, Issue 47, 1993, pp. 54-55; Issue 77, 1995, p. 11.

Entertainment Weekly, June 17, 1994, pp. 26-29.

Gentlemen's Quarterly, August, 1989, p. 199.

In Style, April, 1998, p. 296.

Life, July, 1989, p. 68; April, 1990, p. 90.

McCall's, July, 1991, p. 58.

New York Times, December 6, 2004.

People Weekly, September 30, 1985, p. 40; March 30, 1998, p. 19.

Playboy, September, 1985, p. 140; March, 1988, p. 47.

Premiere, January, 2003, p. 94.

Rolling Stone, October 24, 1985, p. 49.

Sports Illustrated, January 10, 2005, p. 16.

Total Film, November, 2001, pp. 66-70.

TV Guide, November 15, 1980, p. 30; March 24, 1990, p. 5; August 1, 2004, p. 10.

U.S. News & World Report, March 23, 1998, p. 65.

US Weekly, March 17, 2003.

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"Crystal, Billy 1947(?)–." Contemporary Theatre, Film and Television. . Encyclopedia.com. 19 Sep. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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Crystal, Billy 1947-

CRYSTAL, Billy 1947-

Personal

Born March 14, 1947, in Long Island, NY; son of Jack (a record store owner, record label executive, and jazz promoter) and Helen (a homemaker) Crystal; married Janice Goldfinger, 1970; children: Jennifer, Lindsay. Education: New York University, B.F.A. (television and film direction), 1970; also attended Marshall University and Nassau Community College. Religion: Jewish. Hobbies and other interests: Playing softball and tennis, cooking Japanese food, collecting New York Yankees memorabilia and miniature furniture, gardening, attending baseball and basketball games.

Addresses

Office Rollins, Joffe, Morra & Brezner, 5555 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90038. Agent William Morris Agency, One William Morris Place, Beverly Hills, CA 90212.

Career

Comedian, actor, producer, director, and writer. Member of improvisational comedy troupe variously called We the People, Comedy Jam, and Three's Company, 1971-75; house manager of stage production You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown, New York, NY, 1971; stand-up comedian, 1975; performer at clubs, including the Bitter End, Catch a Rising Star, Playboy Club, and Comedy Store; opening act for Sammy Davis, Jr., at Lake Tahoe, NV; host of radio call-in program broadcast from Marshall University; worked with Alumni Theatre Group at Nassau Community College; worked as a substitute teacher at Long Beach Junior High School, Long Island, NY. Founder, Jennilind Productions and Face Productions.

Actor in films, including Rabbit Test, Avco-Embassy, 1978; (voiceover) Animalympics (animated), Barber Rose International Films, 1979; This Is Spinal Tap, Embassy Pictures, 1984; Running Scared, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM)/United Artists (UA), 1986; Goodnight Moon, 1987; The Princess Bride, Twentieth Century-Fox, 1987; Throw Momma from the Train, Orion, 1987; Memories of Me, MGM/UA, 1988; When Harry Met Sally , Columbia, 1989; (and executive producer) City Slickers, Columbia, 1991; (and producer and director) Mr. Saturday Night, Columbia, 1992; (and producer) City Slickers II: The Legend of Curly's Gold, Columbia, 1994; (and producer and director) Forget Paris, Columbia, 1995; Hamlet, Columbia, 1996; De-constructing Harry, Fine Line, 1997; Fathers' Day, Warner Bros., 1997; (and producer) My Giant, Columbia, 1998; (and executive producer) Analyze This, Warner Bros., 1999; Get Bruce (documentary), Mira-max, 1999; America's Sweethearts, Columbia, 2001; (voice) Monsters, Inc., 2001; and (and executive producer) Analyze That, 2002. Producer of films, including (with Alan King and Michael Hertzberg) Memories of Me, MGM/UA, 1988; and (executive producer) My Uncle Berns, 2004. Actor in television series, including Soap, ABC, 1977-81; The Billy Crystal Comedy Hour, NBC, 1982; Saturday Night Live, NBC, 1984-85; and (voice) Baseball (documentary), PBS, 1994. Appeared in television films, including SSTDeath Flight, ABC, 1977; Human Feelings, NBC, 1978; Breaking up Is Hard to Do, ABC, 1979; and Enola Gay: The Men, the Mission, the Atomic Bomb, NBC, 1980. Actor in television series episodes, including All in the Family, CBS, 1976; Saturday Night Live with Howard Cosell, ABC, 1976; The Love Boat, ABC, 1978; "Make-Up," Darkroom, ABC, 1981; "The Three Little Pigs," Faerie Tale Theatre, Showtime, 1984; "Talk Show," Larry Sanders Show, HBO, 1992; "My New Neighbors," Shelley Duvall's Bedtime Stories, Showtime, 1992; Full Wax, BBC, 1993; "Leapin' Lizards," Frasier, NBC, 1995; Real Sports, HBO, 1995; Muppets Tonight!, ABC, 1996; "The One with the Ultimate Fighting Champion," Friends, NBC, 1997, Ruby, 1997, and The Bernie Mac Show, 2002. Appeared in television specials, including Battle of the Network Stars, ABC, 1976, 1977, 1978, and 1979; The Thirty-six Most Beautiful Girls in Texas, ABC, 1978; Celebrity Football Classic, NBC, 1979; The TV Show, ABC, 1979; Doug Henning's World of Magic, NBC, 1982; Billy Crystal: A Comic's Line, HBO, 1984; A Comedy Salute to Baseball, NBC, 1985; Night of 100 Stars, ABC, 1985; Comic Relief: Backstage Pass, 1986; (and executive producer and director) On Location: Billy CrystalDon't Get Me Started, HBO, 1986; The Lost Minutes of Billy Crystal, HBO, 1987; All-Star Toast to the Improv, HBO, 1988; Life's Most Embarrassing Moments, syndicated, 1988; Robert Klein Time, USA Network, 1988; All-Star Tribute to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, NBC, 1989; Grand Slam, syndicated, 1989; (and executive producer) Midnight Train to Moscow, HBO, 1989; Saturday Night Live Fifteenth Anniversary, NBC, 1989; Overtime with Pat O'Brien, CBS, 1990; Robert Wuhl's World Tour, HBO, 1990; Wolf Trap Salutes Victor Borge: An Eightieth Birthday Celebration, PBS, 1990; The World of Jewish Humor, PBS, 1990; A Comedy Salute to Michael Jordan, NBC, 1991; Entertainers '91: The Top Twenty of the Year, ABC, 1991; Voices That Care, Fox, 1991; HBO's Twentieth AnniversaryWe Hardly Believe It Ourselves, CBS/HBO, 1992; Muhammad Ali's Fiftieth Birthday Celebration, ABC, 1992; When It Was a Game II, HBO, 1992; Wax Cracks Hollywood, HBO, 1993; But Seriously, Showtime, 1994; (voice characterization) In Search of Dr. Seuss, TNT, 1994; Countdown to Comic Relief, Comedy Central, 1995; Hollywood Stars: A Century of Cinema (documentary), Disney Channel, 1995; Twenty Years of Comedy on HBO, HBO, 1995; Caesar's Writers, PBS, 1996; Watch a Rising Star Fiftieth AnniversaryGive or Take Twenty-six Years, CBS, 1996; Comic Relief's Tenth Anniversary, HBO, 1996; I Am Your Child, ABC, 1997; Sports on the Silver Screen, HBO, 1997; Daily Show Interview Special, Comedy Central, 1999; Saturday Night Live Twenty-fifth Anniversary, 1999; AFI's 100 Years, 100 Laughs, 2000; Concert for New York City, 2001; Muhammad Ali: Through the Eyes of the World, 2001; When Stand-up Comics Ruled the World, 2004; and Tell Them Who You Are, 2004. Host of numerous specials and awards presentations, including Annual Grammy Awards, 1987, 1989; and Annual Academy Awards, ABC, 1990-93, 1997-98, 2000, 2004. Executive producer, Survival on the Mountain (television film), NBC, 1997. Director and producer, 61* (television film), 2001.

Member

Screen Actors Guild.

Awards, Honors

Emmy Award nomination, outstanding actor in a variety program, 1985, for Saturday Night Live; Grammy Award nomination, best comedy recording, 1985, for Mahvelous!; two CableACE awards and other CableACE Award nominations, National Cable Television Association, all 1986, all for On Location: Billy CrystalDon't Get Me Started; Emmy Award nomination, outstanding individual performance in a variety or music program, 1987, for Twenty-ninth Annual Grammy Awards, 1988, for An All-Star Toast to the Improv, and 2000, for Seventy-second Annual Academy Awards; Emmy Award, outstanding performance in special events, 1989, for Thirty-first Annual Grammy Awards; Golden Apple Award for star of the year, Hollywood Women's Press Club, 1989; American Comedy Award, funniest actor in a motion picture, 1989, and Golden Globe Award nomination, best performance by an actor in a motion picturecomedy or musical, 1990, both for When Harry Met Sally ; Emmy Award, outstanding writing in a variety or music program, and Emmy Award nominations, outstanding individual performance in a variety or music program and outstanding variety, music, or comedy special, all 1990, all for Midnight Train to Moscow; Emmy Award (with others), outstanding writing in a variety or music program, and Emmy Award, outstanding individual performance in a variety or music program, both 1991, both for Sixty-third Annual Academy Awards; named comedy star of the decade, ShoWest Convention, 1991; American Comedy Award, and Golden Globe Award nomination, best actor in a musical or comedy, both 1991, and MTV Movie Award, best comedic performance, 1992, all for City Slickers; Emmy Award (with others), outstanding writing in a variety or music program, and American Comedy Award, both 1992, both for Sixty-forth Annual Academy Awards; Golden Globe Award nomination, best performance by an actor in a motion picturecomedy or musical, 1993, for Mr. Saturday Night; Emmy Award nomination, outstanding individual performance in a variety or music program, 1993, for Sixty-fifth Annual Academy Awards; American Comedy Award, funniest male performer in a TV special, 1999, for Seventieth Annual Academy Awards; named Hasty Pudding Man-of-the-Year, 2000; American Film Institute Star Award, U.S. Comedy Arts Festival, 2001; Emmy Award nominations, outstanding direction of a miniseries or movie and outstanding made-for-television movie, 2002, and Directors Guild of America Award nomination, 2002, all for 61*; has star on Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Writings

TELEPLAYS; SERIES

(With others) The Billy Crystal Comedy Hour, National Broadcast Company (NBC), 1982.

(With others) Saturday Night Live, NBC, 1984-1985.

(And executive producer) Sessions, Home Box Office (HBO), 1991.

TELEPLAYS; SPECIALS

(With others) The TV Show, ABC, 1979.

(With Rocco Urbisci) Billy Crystal: A Comic's Line, HBO, 1984.

A Comedy Salute to Baseball, NBC, 1985.

On Location: Billy CrystalDon't Get Me Started, HBO, 1986.

(With others) Midnight Train to Moscow, HBO, 1989.

SCREENPLAYS

Goodnight Moon, 1987.

(With Eric Roth) Memories of Me, MGM/UA, 1988.

Mr. Saturday Night, Columbia, 1992.

City Slickers II: The Legend of Curly's Gold, Columbia, 1994.

Forget Paris, Columbia, 1995.

My Giant, Columbia, 1998.

(With Peter Tolan) America's Sweethearts, Columbia, 2001.

OTHER

Mahvelous! (recording), A & M Records, 1985.

(With Dick Schaap) Absolutely Mahvelous, Putnam (New York, NY), 1986.

(Author of foreword) Ron Smith, 61*: The Story of Roger Maris, Mickey Mantle, and One Magic Summer, Sporting News (St. Louis, MO), 2001.

I Already Know I Love You, illustrated by Elizabeth Sayles, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 2004.

Contributor to periodicals, including the New York Times and Playboy.

Work in Progress

An untitled project for Home Box Office, due 2005; a second children's book.

Sidelights

Billy Crystal is a famous comedian and actor who in the 1980s and 1990s became known for stand-up routines featuring comic impressions of celebrities such as sports broadcaster Howard Cosell and entertainer Sammy Davis, Jr., for his work on the television series Soap and Saturday Night Live, and for his portrayal of average, likeable men in such films as When Harry Met Sally and City Slickers. A popular host of television specials due to his off-the-cuff wit, Crystal is known in Hollywood for his talent as well as for his dedication to his wife and two daughters.

Raised on Long Island, Crystal was attracted to the idea of performing at an early age, and he and his two brothers would perform shtick for their relatives in his grandmother's living room during family gatherings. He came to the attention of national audiences with his portrayal of Jodie Dallas, one of television's first recurring homosexual characters, in the series Soap, a situation comedy popular during the late 1970s and early 1980s.

In 1984 Crystal joined the cast of Saturday Night Live, creating the character Fernando, a superficial nightclub performer for whom everything is "mahvelous." His high-profile role on the popular late-night show established Crystal as one of the leading comic talents of the decade, and his autobiography, published as Absolutely Mahvelous, draws upon the popularity of the Fernando character. In Absolutely Mahvelous, the comic actor tells of his childhood and youth, and describes with humor his years working on tour as a stand-up comedian. While a critic for Publishers Weekly found Crystal's account count of his youth and early career "uneventful," a Booklist contributor called Absolutely Mahvelous "brief but very funny."

In addition to television work, Crystal has starred in several films, including When Harry Met Sally , a comic and sentimental look at love and New York City; he also portrays an urban dweller vacationing at a dude ranch in City Slickers. Crystal, who contributed to the screenplay of City Slickers, also authored a sequel, City Slickers II: The Legend of Curly's Gold, which was released in 1994. More recent films have included 1999's Analyze This and the sequel, Analyze That, both which star Robert De Niro as a mob boss attempting to get in touch with his kinder, gentler side with the help of reluctant psychiatrist Dr. Ben Sobel (Crystal).

While Crystal has sometimes been described by critics as too sentimental, the comic actor notes that he is too happy in his personal life to create the bitter, cutting-edge humor popular with some audiences. As a reflection of his contentment with family and friends, Crystal penned the 2004 book I Already Know I Love You, a picture book for young children inspired by his anticipation of his first grandchild, Ella. Written in simple rhyme, the book is narrated by a grandfather awaiting the birth of a grandchild who is depicted sometimes as a boy and sometimes as a girl. While several reviewers remarked that I Already Know I Love You is a less-than-effective picture book due to its clumsy rhyme and what a Publishers Weekly contributor described as the actor's characteristic "unabashed sentimental[ity]," critics agreed that the theme of the book would make it attractive as a gift book from doting grandparents.

Biographical and Critical Sources

PERIODICALS

American Film, July-August, 1989, pp. 30-33, 48.

Booklist, August, 1986, p. 1648.

Cosmopolitan, June, 1986, p. 80.

Daily Variety, May 19, 2001, Michael Schneider, "Crystal Clear Deal," p. 5; August 22, 2003, Nicole LaPorte, "Crystal's Family Addition Inspires Kids' Tome," p. 4.

Entertainment Weekly, June 17, 1994, pp. 26-29.

Gentlemen's Quarterly, August, 1989, p. 199.

Kirkus Reviews, April 1, 2004, review of I Already Know I Love You, p. 327.

Life, July, 1989, p. 68; April, 1990, p. 90.

McCall's, July, 1991, p. 58.

People, September 30, 1985, p. 40.

Publishers Weekly, July 11, 1986, p. 59; March 15, 2004, review of I Already Know I Love You, p. 72.

Rolling Stone, October 24, 1985, p. 49.

Time, October, 19, 1992, pp. 66-68.

TV Guide, November 15, 1980, p. 30; March 24, 1990, p. 5.*

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"Crystal, Billy 1947-." Something About the Author. . Encyclopedia.com. 19 Sep. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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Crystal, Billy

CRYSTAL, Billy



Nationality: American. Born: Long Beach, Long Island, New York, 14 March 1947. Family: Married Janice Goldfinger, 1970; children: Jennifer, Lindsay. Education: Attended Marshall University; graduated from Nassau Community College; New York University, B.F.A. in television and film direction, 1970. Career: Substitute teacher at Long Beach Junior High School; worked with Alumni Theatre Group, Nassau Community College; comedian with improvisational comedy groups We the People, Comedy Jam, and Three's Company, 1971–75; stand-up comedian, from 1975; played Jodie Dallas on TV series Soap, 1977–81; host of The Billy Crystal Comedy Hour, 1982; appeared on Saturday Night Live, 1984–85; frequent host of television award shows, including Grammy Awards, Emmy Awards, and Academy Awards; actor, writer, director, producer. Awards: Golden Apple Award, star of the year, Women's Press Club, 1989; American Comedy Award, Funniest Actor in a Motion Picture, for When Harry Met Sally. . . , 1989; four Emmy Awards, 1989, 1991; American Comedy Award, Funniest Actor in a Motion Picture, for City Slickers, 1991; ShoWest Special Award for Comedy Star of the Decade, 1991; Women in Film Crystal Award, 1991; Creative Achievement Award, American Comedy Awards, 1993; Hasty Pudding Theatricals Man of the Year, 2000. Agent: Creative Artists Agency, 9830 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills, CA 90212, U.S.A.


Films as Actor:

1977

SST: Death Flight (SST: Disaster in the Sky) (Rich—for TV) (as David)

1978

Human Feelings (Pintoff—for TV); Rabbit Test (Joan Rivers) (as Lionel Carpenter)

1979

Breaking Up Is Hard to Do (Antonio—for TV) (as Danny Doyle); Animalympics (Kroyer and Lisberger) (voice)

1980

Enola Gay: The Men, the Mission, the Atomic Bomb (Rich—for TV) (as Lieutenant Jacob "Jake" Beser)

1984

This Is Spinal Tap (Reiner) (as Morty the Mime)

1986

Running Scared (Hyams) (as Danny Costanzo)

1987

Throw Momma from the Train (DeVito) (as Larry); The Princess Bride (Reiner) (as Miracle Max)

1988

Memories of Me (Winkler) (as Abbie) (+ pr, sc); An All-Star Toast to the Improv (Miller) (as himself)

1989

When Harry Met Sally. . . (Reiner) (as Harry Burns); Midnight Train to Moscow (for TV) (as himself)

1991

City Slickers (Underwood) (as Mitch Robbins) (+ pr, sc)

1992

Mr. Saturday Night (as Buddy Young Jr.) (+ d, pr, sc)

1994

City Slickers II: The Legend of Curly's Gold (Weiland) (as Mitch Robbins) (+ pr, sc); Baseball (doc) (Burns—for TV) (as himself); In Search of Dr. Seuss (Paterson—for TV) (as The Voice of America); A Century of Cinema (doc) (Thomas) (as himself)

1995

Forget Paris (as Mickey Gordon) (+ d, pr, sc)

1996

Hamlet (Branagh) (as First Gravedigger)

1997

Fathers' Day (Reitman) (as Jack Lawrence); Deconstructing Harry (Allen) (as Larry/Satan); I Am Your Child (Reiner—for TV)

1998

My Giant (Lehman) (as Sam "Sammy" Kamin) (+ pr, sc)

1999

Analyze This (Ramis) (as Ben Sobol) (+ exec pr); Get Bruce (doc) (Kuehn) (as himself)

2000

The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle (McAnuff)

2001

Monsters, Inc. (Docter and Silverman—animation) (as voice of Mike Wzowski)



Publications


By CRYSTAL: books—

With Dick Schaap, Absolutely Mahvelous, New York, 1986.

By CRYSTAL: articles—

"Crystal Clear," interview with A. Hunter, in Films and Filming (London), no. 406, July 1988.

Essay in Rolling Stone Book of Comedy, edited by Bonnie Schiffman and Bill Zehme, Boston, Massachusetts, 1991.

"The Stand-Up Delivers," interview with B. Case, in Time Out (London), no. 1183, 21 April 1993.


On CRYSTAL: articles—

Allen, Steve, essay in Funny People, New York, 1982.

"Billy Crystal," in Current Biography, 1987.

Lloyd, R., "Pals," in American Film (Hollywood), vol. 14, no. 9, July-August, 1989.


* * *

The poster art for Billy Crystal's hit movie City Slickers (1991)—with Crystal in saddle and spurs, wearing a New York Mets cap on his head—succinctly captures Crystal's ability to reconcile classic Hollywood imagery with his own persona. His wry, skeptical attitude has made him an unlikely romantic hero, and his ability to combine nostaligia has led him to emcee the epitome of schmaltz and sincerity, the Academy Awards.

Crystal was born in showbiz; his father managed the Colony record store in midtown Manhattan, and an uncle, Milt Gabler, was a jazz producer (according to family legend, Crystal was named for family friend Billie Holliday). Crystal attended Marshall University on a baseball scholarship, and later studied film at New York University under Martin Scorsese. His early professional work was as a mimic, and his loving impressions of Muhammad Ali and Howard Cosell drew praise across the board. Steve Allen noted, "(H)e is more than merely an impressionist, because his essential comic quality is dominant, whereas most impressionists could not succeed as comedians if they did not employ the voices of well-known figures."

Crystal was willing to risk embarrassment in his first major acting roles, playing the TV sitcom's first gay character on ABC's Soap (1977–81) and a pregnant male in Joan Rivers' over-the-top misfire Rabbit Test (1978). During the late 1970s Crystal developed a rapport with a group of cutting-edge comedians and satirists in Southern California, including Albert Brooks and Rob Reiner. And Crystal's monologues included such original characters as jazz musician "Face" and transsexual cabaret singer Penny Lane.

In 1984 Crystal spent a productive season on NBC's Saturday Night Live, where his impressions of TV host Joe Franklin, laid-back actor Fernando Lamas, and superstar Sammy Davis, Jr. earned him widespread acclaim. Crystal immediately left the series to develop his film career. Running Scared (1986), directed by Peter Hyams, gave Crystal the chance to trade smart one-liners with cop sidekick Gregory Hines, and resolve his conflict with his estranged wife. Crystal gave Hines room to act, and he also was effective in the flim's romantic scenes. The Beverly Hills Cop-knockoff was a critical and box-office success.

Crystal scored again in Danny DeVito's Throw Momma from the Train (1987), where his detachment on-screen played well opposite DeVito's matricidal character and Anne Ramsay's passive-aggressive mother. An often-overlooked Crystal movie is Memories of Me (1988, Henry Winkler), where his doctor character reconciles with his aging actor father (Alan King). Crystal co-wrote the script with Eric Roth, and the screenplay effectively switches between Borscht Belt humor and melodrama. Roger Ebert complimented King and Crystal's rapport: "Their timing has the almost effortless music of two professionals who have spent their lifetimes learning how to put the right spin on a word. . . Crystal is very good in a role that must have been second nature to him." Crystal would further explore the life of a middling Jewish-American showbiz character in his directorial debut, Mr. Saturday Night (1992), which resurrected his standup persona of insult-comic extraordinaire Buddy Young, Jr. ("Nice body odor, lady—you smell like landfill").

Crystal's biggest hit to date was When Harry Met Sally. . . (1989), in which he winningly played Meg Ryan's platonic male friend over a 15-year span. Again, Crystal's generosity shone through; he consciously encouraged director Rob Reiner to make Ryan, not himself, the center of the movie's famous deli scene, a scene which catapulted Ryan to stardom. The Nora Ephron-scripted film owed much to Woody Allen films, but When Harry Met Sally. . . demanded more than one-liners to succeed. Crystal's genuinely touching reconciliation with Ryan the night after consummating their relationship gave the movie its strength.

City Slickers (1991) allowed Crystal to hilariously explore the psyche of middle-aged men in the 1990s, as Crystal and his childhood buddies herd cattle as a metaphor for organizing their messy personal lives. In a potent early scene, Crystal poignantly describes the stages of life to his son's grade-school class; to paraphrase Lincoln, he cracks jokes because he must not cry. While out West he and his buddies reminisce about the past (including a touching discussion about baseball), match wits with mythical cowboy Jack Palance (Crystal: "Kill anybody today?" Palance, coldly: "Day ain't over yet"), and reconnect with their wives and families.

Crystal scored his biggest hit of the late 1990s as the shrink of a neurotic Mob don in Analyze This (1999). Once again, Crystal willingly allowed his costar to get the laughs. In this case it was Robert De Niro, the protégé of Crystal's former mentor, Martin Scorsese. Crystal's reactions to De Niro's deadpan quips were priceless, and his presence complemented De Niro's. Though not in the same class with the similarly-themed TV series The Sopranos, Analyze This was a well-produced contemporary movie comedy.

In 1990 Crystal was pegged to host the Academy Awards, a task that had daunted bigger names. In a series of hosting gigs during the 1990s Crystal proved to be the ceremony's best host since Bob Hope, with a crack writing staff backstage to take advantage of spontaneous on-stage goofs, the dexterity to sing and dance elaborate production numbers of each year's five Best Picture nominees, and a strong adlib ability (when 100-year-old honoree Hal Roach's microphone went dead during the 1992 ceremony, Crystal quipped that it was fitting, since Roach began with silent films).

Crystal's most prominent flops have been City Slickers II (1994), a spiritless reworking of the original, and Father's Day (1997), an uninspired teaming with fellow comedian Robin Williams. These failures suggest that Crystal is better off exploring new subjects and collaborators. There's no reason Crystal can't appear on a future Oscar telecast—as a recipient.

—Andrew Milner

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