Billy Crystal - 2nd Visit
Born March 14, 1947 in Long Beach, New York, Billy Crystal was exposed to the entertainment industry at an early age. He father was a jazz promoter and also managed the Commodore Music Shop on 42nd Street in New York City. He grew up around jazz greats, sometimes performing on stage with them, and even being babysat by Billie Holiday. Although his roots were planted in music, Crystal wanted to go in another direction - professional baseball. He played the game starting in Little League, and headed to Marshall University on a baseball scholarship. When the baseball program dissolved a year later he transferred to Nassau Community College on Long Island, leaving behind dreams of the major league. One year later, he enrolled in NYU, where he studied directing partially under the mentoring of Martin Scorsese. After NYU, Crystal married his college sweetheart, Janice and returned to Long Island. Where he settled into married life and supported his family with substitute teaching jobs, and a small comedy club routine. Performing on his own through the 70s, Crystal moved his family to Los Angeles, where he continued stand-up. He was spotted by Norman Lear and was cast in bit parts for various TV shows (including an episode as Rob Reiner's friend on All in the Family). He was finally cast in the breakthrough role of Jodie Dallas, television's first openly gay charatcter, in the sitcom Soap. Returning to New York in the early 80s, Crystal advanced his television career by appearing in several cable specials, TV movies, and guest spots. He also continued his stand-up act by touring clubs and college campuses. He then was invited to join Saturday Night Live and bring his fabulous impressions of Fernando Lamas, and Sammy Davis Jr. to the masses. He also earned an Emmy nomination for his work on SNL, and made "You look maaaahvelous!" a national catchphrase. His big screen career then started to take off. Crystal turned in memorable performances in This Is Spinal Tap, The Princess Bride, Running Scared, and Throw Mama From the Train. But, playing opposite Meg Ryan in Rob Reiner's romantic comedy When Harry Met Sally, really catapulted Crystal in to superstardom. A flurry of films followed beginning with the hit comedy, City Slickers. With his success mounting, he co-wrote, produced, directed and starred in Mr. Saturday Night(based on the Buddy Young Jr. character he had created). He then followed that up withCity Slickers II: The legend of Curly's Gold, Forget Paris, and Father's Day, co-starring friend Robin Williams. He and Williams both appeared in, though did not share the screen, in the Kenneth Branagh production of Hamlet (1996) and again in the Woody Allen filmDeconstructing Harry (1997). In 1998, Crystal played a cynical two-bit talent agent and also produced the comedy My Giant. The following year found him in good comic form as a psychiatrist who reluctantly treats a Mafia don (Robert De Niro) on the verge of a nervous breakdown in Analyze This. A labor of true love, Crystal directed and executive-produced the 2001 HBO movie 61*, about Yankees sluggers Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle's race to break Babe Ruth's single-season home run record.