(1947 - )
Billy Crystal is a Jewish American actor, comedian, and
writer most famous for his appearance as a cast member of Saturday Night Live.
Crystal was born on March 14, 1947, in Long Beach, New York. Crystal attended Marshall
University in Huntington, West Virginia on a baseball scholarship. Nevertheless,
Crystal never played a game at Marshall because the program was suspended
his freshman year and he never returned to the university. Crystal returned
to New York and studied film and television direction under Martin Scorsese
at New York University. His first television role came as “Jodie
Dallas” on Soap, one of the first gay characters portrayed
on American television.
In the early 1970s, Crystal began working in clubs
and on college campuses as a stand-up comic. On April 17, 1976, Crystal
made his first appearance with a stand-up skit on an episode of Saturday
Night Live. In 1984, Crystal was asked to join the cast full-time Saturday Night Live. In 1986, Crystal started hosting Comic
Relief on HBO alongside Robin Williams and Whoopi Goldberg. He also
made many game show appearances such as The Hollywood Squares and The $20,000 Pyramid.
His big success came in the late 1980s, with The
Princess Bride (1987) and When Harry Met Sally (1989), for
which Crystal was nominated for a Golden Globe. Crystal has also wrote,
directed and starred in two films, Forget Paris (1995) and Mr.
Saturday Night (1992). In 1961, Crystal directed the made for television
movie 61* , for which he earned an Emmy nomination for “Outstanding
Directing for a Miniseries, Movie or a Special.”
During the 1990s and early 2000s, Crystal continued
to star in motion pictures including City Slickers and Analyze
This. Crystal has lent his voice to animated characters such as
in 2001’s Monsters, Inc. as the voice of Mike, and in the
English version of Howl’s Moving Castle as the voice of
Crystal has also hosted the Academy Awards show eight
times: 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1997, 1998, 2000 and 2004.
In 2005, Crystal won the Tony Award for “Best
Special Theatrical Event” for his solo show 700 Sundays.
On October 31, 2005, Warner Books published Crystal’s book 700
Sundays, following the success of the play.
Sources: “Billy Crystal (1947 - ).” American
Jewish Historical Society, American
Jewish Desk Reference, (NY: Random House, 1999). pg. 445-446
for Billy Crystal: Internet Movie Database