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film director. He gained prominence in the 1970s for playing Jodie Dallas on the ABC sitcom Soap and became a Hollywood film star during the late 1980s and 1990s, appearing in the critical and box office successes When Harry Met Sally... and City Slickers. He has hosted the Academy Awards nine times, most recently at the 84th Academy Awards in 2012.
Crystal was born at Doctors Hospital on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, and initially raised in The Bronx. As a toddler, he moved with his family to 549 East Park Avenue in Long Beach, New York, on Long Island. He and his older brothers Joel and Richard, nicknamed Rip, were the sons of Helen (née Gabler), a housewife, and Jack Crystal, who owned and operated the Commodore Music Store, founded by Helen's father, Julius Gabler.  He was also a jazz promoter, a producer and executive for an affiliated jazz record label, Commodore Records, founded by Helen's brother, musician and songwriter Milt Gabler. Crystal grew up in a Jewish family. The three young brothers would entertain by reprising comedy routines from the likes ofBob Newhart, Rich Little and Sid Caesar records their father would bring. Jazz artists such as Arvell Shaw, Pee Wee Russell, Eddie Condon, andBillie Holiday were often guests in the home. With the decline of Dixieland jazz circa 1963, Crystal's father lost his business, and died later that year at the age of 54 after suffering a heart attack while bowling. His mother, Helen Crystal, died in 2001.
After graduation from Long Beach High School in 1965 Crystal attended Marshall University in Huntington, West Virginia on a baseball scholarship,having learned the game from his father, who pitched for St. John's University. Crystal never played a game at Marshall because the program was suspended during his freshman year. He did not return to Marshall as a sophomore, staying back in New York with his future wife. He instead attended Nassau Community College and later New York University, where he graduated in 1970 with a BFA from its Tisch School of the Arts.
Crystal returned to New York City and performed regularly at The Improv and Catch a Rising Star. He studied film and television direction under Martin Scorsese at New York University. In 1976, Crystal appeared on an episode of All in the Family. He was on the dais for The Dean Martin Celebrity Roastof Muhammad Ali on February 19, 1976, where he did impressions of both Ali and sportscaster Howard Cosell. He was scheduled to appear on the first episode of NBC Saturday Night (later renamed Saturday Night Live) (October 11, 1975), but his sketch was cut. He did do a stand-up bit later in that first season as Bill Crystal, on the April 17, 1976, episode; the "Can you dig it? I knew that you could."
Crystal's earliest prominent role was as Jodie Dallas on Soap, one of the first unambiguously homosexual characters in the cast of an American television series. He continued in the role during the series' entire 1977–1981 run.
In 1982, Billy Crystal hosted his own variety show, The Billy Crystal Comedy Hour on NBC. It lasted five episodes.
After hosting Saturday Night Live in 1984, he joined the regular cast. His most famous recurring sketch was his parody of Fernando Lamas, Fernando, a smarmy talk show host whose catchphrase, "You look... mahvelous!," became a media sensation. Crystal subsequently released an album of his stand-up material titled Mahvelous! in 1985, as well as the single "You Look Marvelous", which peaked at No. 58 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the US, and No. 17 in Canada. Also in the 1980s, Crystal starred in an episode of Shelley Duvall's Faerie Tale Theatre as the smartest of the three little pigs.
Billy Crystal hosted three Grammy Awards Telecasts: the 29th Grammys; the 30th Grammys; and the 31st Grammys.
Acting in film and hosting the Oscars
Crystal's first film role was in Joan Rivers's 1978 film Rabbit Test. Crystal also made game show appearances such as The Hollywood Squares, All Star Secrets and The $20,000 Pyramid. He holds the record for getting his contestant partner to the top of the pyramid in winner's circle in the fastest time, 26 seconds.
Crystal appeared briefly in the Rob Reiner "rockumentary" This Is Spinal Tap (1984) as Morty The Mime, a waiter dressed as a mime at one of Spinal Tap's parties. He shared the scene with a then-unknown, non-speaking Dana Carvey. Crystal's line in the film was "Mime is money." He later starred in the action comedy Running Scared (1986). Reiner directed Crystal again in The Princess Bride (1987).
Reiner directed Crystal for a third time in the classic romantic comedy When Harry Met Sally... (1989), for which Crystal was nominated for a Golden Globe. Crystal then starred in the buddy comedy City Slickers (1991), which proved very successful both commercially and critically and for which Crystal was nominated for his second Golden Globe.
Following the success of these films, Crystal wrote, directed, and starred in Mr. Saturday Night (1992) and Forget Paris (1995). In the former, Crystal played a serious role in aging makeup, as an egotistical comedian who reflects back on his career, although the character was from his SNL days. He directed the made-for-television movie 61* (2001) based on Roger Maris's and Mickey Mantle's race to break Babe Ruth's single-season home run record in 1961. This earned Crystal an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Directing for a Miniseries, Movie or a Special.
Crystal has continued working in film, including roles in Analyze This (1999) and Analyze That (2002) with Robert De Niro, and in the English version of Howl's Moving Castle as the voice ofCalcifer. He was originally asked to provide the voice of Buzz Lightyear in Toy Story (1995) but turned it down, a decision he later regretted due to the popularity of the series. Crystal later went on to provide the voice of Mike Wazowski in the Pixar film Monsters, Inc. (2001), and will reprise his role in the upcoming prequel, Monsters University, scheduled to be released in June 2013.
Crystal hosted the Academy Awards broadcast in 1990–1993, 1997, 1998, 2000, 2004 and 2012. He returned as emcee for the 2012 Oscar ceremony, after Eddie Murphy backed out of hosting. His nine times as the M.C. is second only to Bob Hope's 18 in most ceremonies hosted. At the 83rd Academy Awards ceremony in 2011, he appeared as a presenter for a digitally inserted Bob Hope and before doing so was given a standing ovation. Film critic Roger Ebert said when Crystal came onstage about two hours into the show, he got the first laughs of the broadcast. Crystal's hosting gigs have regularly included an introductory video segment in which he comedically inserts himself into scenes of that year's films in addition to a song following his opening monologue.
Crystal won the 2005 Tony Award for Best Special Theatrical Event for 700 Sundays, a two-act, one-man play, which he conceived and wrote about his parents and his childhood growing up onLong Island. He toured the U.S. with the show in 2006 and Australia in 2007.
Following the initial success of the play, Crystal wrote the book 700 Sundays for Warner Books, which was published on October 31, 2005. In conjunction with the book and the play that also paid tribute to his uncle, Milt Gabler, Crystal produced two CD compilations: Billy Crystal Presents: The Milt Gabler Story, which featured his uncle's most influential recordings from Billie Holiday's "Strange Fruit" to "Rock Around the Clock" by Bill Haley & His Comets; and Billy Remembers Billie featuring Crystal's favorite Holiday recordings.
Billy Crystal and his wife Janice (née: Goldfinger) married in June 1970, and have two daughters, actress Jennifer and producer Lindsay, and are now grandparents. They reside in Pacific Palisades, California.
In addition to his Golden Globe Award-nominations, Emmy Awards, and Tony Award, Crystal won the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding One-Person Show for 700 Sundays and received theMark Twain Prize for American Humor in 2007.
|1977–81||Soap||Jodie Dallas||Television series|
|1977||SST: Death Flight||David|
|1978||Rabbit Test||Lionel Carpenter|
|1980||Animalympics||Lodge Turkell||Voice role|
|1984||This Is Spinal Tap||Morty the Mime|
|1986||Running Scared||Danny Constanzo|
|1987||The Princess Bride||Miracle Max|
|1987||Throw Momma from the Train||Larry Donner|
|1988||Memories of Me||Abbie||Writer/Producer|
|1989||When Harry Met Sally...||Harry Burns||American Comedy Award for Funniest Actor in a Motion Picture|
|1991||City Slickers||Mitch Robbins||Executive producer
American Comedy Award for Funniest Actor in a Motion Picture MTV Movie Award for Best Comedic Performance Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
|1992||Horton Hatches the Egg||Narrator||Voice role|
|1992||Mr. Saturday Night||Buddy Young, Jr.||Writer/Director/Producer|
|1994||City Slickers II: The Legend of Curly's Gold||Mitch Robbins||Writer/Producer|
|1995||Forget Paris||Mickey Gordon||Writer/Director/Producer|
|1996||Muppets Tonight||Himself||Guest star on third episode|
|1997||Fathers' Day||Jack Lawrence|
|1997||Friends||The Gynecologist (with Robin Williams)||TV Series|
|1998||My Giant||Sam 'Sammy' Kamin||Writer/Producer|
|1999||Analyze This||Dr. Ben Sobel||Executive Producer|
|2000||The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle||Mattress salesman||Uncredited|
|2001||America's Sweethearts||Lee Phillips||Writer/Producer|
|2001||Monsters, Inc.||Michael "Mike" Wazowski||Voice role|
|2002||Mike's New Car||Mike Wazowski||Short film, voice role|
|2002||Analyze That||Dr. Ben Sobel||Executive producer|
|2004||Howl's Moving Castle||Calcifer||Voice role|
|2005||Dinotopia: Quest for the Ruby Sunstone||Karl Scott||Voice role|
|2006||Cars||Mike Car||Voice role. Voice/cameo|
|2009||Make 'Em Laugh: The Funny Business Of America||Host|
|2010||Planet Sheen||Soldier Joagth||Voice role
Episode: What's Up Chock?
|2012||Parental Guidance||Artie Decker|
|2012||Small Apartments||Burt Walnut|
|2013||Monsters University||Mike Wazowski||
Voice role, filming
Saturday Night Live
- Al Minkman, a shady businessman
- Fernando, host of Fernando's Hideaway, a celebrity interview show; based on actor Fernando Lamas
- Buddy Young, Jr. (an insult comic who appears on Weekend Update)
- Lew Goldman
- Ricky, a bowler
- Tony Minetti, a butcher
- Willie, a man who, along with his friend, Frankie (played by Christopher Guest), discuss their masochistic tendencies
- Fernando Lamas
- Howard Cosell
- Muhammad Ali
- John F. Kennedy
- Joe Franklin
- Hervé Villechaize
- Joe Garagiola
- Adam Ant
- Sammy Davis, Jr.
- Phil Rizzuto
- Crystal, Billy (1986). Absolutely Mahvelous. New York: Perigee Trade. ISBN 0-399-51246-2. Autobiography from his childhood to his early career.
- Crystal, Billy (2004). I Already Know I Love You. New York: HarperCollins. ISBN 0-06-059391-1. A children's book.
- Crystal, Billy (2006). Grandpa's Little One. New York: HarperCollins. ISBN 978-0-06-078173-6. A children's book.
- Crystal, Billy (2005). 700 Sundays. New York: Warner Books. ISBN 0-446-57867-3.Crystal's memoirs with his father.
- Crystal, Billy (2013). 65: Where I've Been, Where I'm Going, and Where the Hell Are My Keys?. New York: Henry Holt and Co. ISBN 0-805-09820-8.Crystal's observations on aging and a look back at his career