Billy Crystal biography
Date of Birth: March 14, 1947
Billy Crystal was born into an artistic family on Long Island in New York. His father was a jazz promoter who also managed The Commodore Music Shop for Billy's uncle. His brother, Joel Crystal, is a television producer and Billy's daughter, Jennifer, is now an actress.
Crystal earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree at New York University, where he majored in Film and TV Direction, having the good fortune to study with a professor named Martin Scorsese. After college, he turned his talents to the world of stand-up comedy and played several clubs. "I had to rehearse my material for a fraternity party on my eighteen month-old daughter," he says, noting that aside from a little dribbling, her feedback wasn't that positive.
But the feedback from producers Jack Rollins and Stanley Jaffe was very positive and gave Crystal the impetus to go further. About Jaffe he recalls, "He told me I was playing it too safe, that I had to be willing to bomb." But it was on the talk show circuit that Crystal really shone, his agile mind and quick wit making him a staple in the guest's chair. And then came Soap, the risqué comedy series where he played TV's first regular gay character.
Later, Saturday Night Live producer Lorne Michaels caught his act at the comedy club Catch a Rising Star, and invited him to join the original SNL cast.
The rest, of course, is history, with the funny man delighting audiences with his work as actor, director, producer, writer, and host, most notably for the Academy Awards, for which he won two Emmys for Outstanding Performance in Special Events in 1988 and 1989.
Some of Crystal's most recent film credits include the comedy Parental Guidance (2012) and the re-release of the animated feature Monsters, Inc. 3D (2012). The film's prequel Monsters University is expected to be released in June 2013.
He has been married to his wife, Janice, since 1970. They have two daughters together. He has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6925 Hollywood Blvd.