Today, I get to tell the story of a very funny comedian…..a talented actor…..a top notch writer and director….and a person who can do impressions of Muhammad Ali, Howard Cosell and jazzmen like Louie Armstrong as good or better than anyone I have ever heard….as he like myself consider Ali to truly be The Greatest….who is at the top of his favorite sports heroes of all time just like me…..plus, he too has been and will always be a huge New York Yankees fan since the early 1950’s…..while both of us grew up with Mickey Mantle as our childhood and lifelong hero…..so, Billy Crystal and the original Sportsphile (me) share a great deal of common ground. Like so many of the funniest comedians of the 1970’s and 1980’s….Crystal was also a tremendous entertainer…..who could act both on television and on the silver screen….as evidenced by his body of work….while he was an outstanding television writer, producer and film director….and on top of all of that, he was uniquely talented as a master of ceremonies….as evidenced by his years of hosting the Academy Awards, the Grammy Awards and Comic Relief…..which during his tenure of these programs, I truly enjoyed watching. There is absolutely no question that Billy Crystal deserves having his story told…..along with having his cache of supporting videos presented in the tribute to a really talented man…..who has been entertaining us for the better part of a half century.
Comedy – 1979 – Special – Performed At The Tribute To Muhammad Ali – Billy Crystal: “15 Rounds”
Comedy & Talk Shows – 1987 – Late Night With David Letterman – Billy Crystal’s Howard Cosell Story
William Edward Crystal (born March 14, 1948) is an American actor, comedian, writer, producer, and film director…..who gained prominence in the 1970’s and 1980’s as a stand-up comedian….and for his television roles as Jodie Dallas on the ABC sitcom Soap…..and as a frequent host of Saturday Night Live. Crystal then became a Hollywood film star during the late 1980’s and 1990’s…..while appearing in Running Scared in 1986…..The Princess Bride in 1987…..Throw Momma from the Train also in 1987…..Memories of Me–*– in 1988…..When Harry Met Sally in 1989…..City Slickers in 1991…..Mr. Saturday Night in 1992…..Analy-ze This in 1999….and Parental Guidance in 2012. He provided the voice of Mike Wazowski in the Monsters, Inc. franchise…..plus, he starred on the Broadway stage in 700 Sundays in 2004 and again in 2014 …..and in Mr. Saturday Night in 2022.
Comedy – 1979 – TV Sit Com “SOAP” – Scene With Jodie (Billy Crystal) and Jessica (Katherine Helmond) Have an Enlightening Discussion on the History of Homosexuals
Comedy & Movie Clips – 1986 – Scene from Movie “Running Scared” – Starring Billy Crystal + Gregory Hines – “You’re Mugging Us”
Comedy & Movie Clips – 1987 – Scene From “Throw Mama From The Train” Movie – With Danny Divito + Billy Crystal – “He’s Trying To Kill Me” Scene
Comedy – 2005 – Excerpt from Live at the Broadhurst Theatre in NYC – Billy Crystal’s “700 Sundays”
Crystal has received numerous accolades…..which includes six Primetime Emmy Awards, out of 21 nominations…..a Tony Award…..a Mark Twain Prize for American Humor…..and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1991. He has hosted the Academy Awards nine times…..which began in 1990 and most recently in 2012. In 2022, he was announced as the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Critics Choice Awards.
Comedy – 1982 – Live At The L A Improv – Billy Crystal Stand Up Routine
Comedy – 1980 to 2012 – Special – The Best of Robin Williams & Billy Crystal
Crystal was born at on the Upper East Side of Manhattan…..and initially was raised in the Bronx……where 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…..who later became an art teacher…..and Richard, nicknamed Rip, were the sons of Helen and Jack Crystal…..who owned and operated the Commodore Music Store…..which was founded by Crystal’s grandfather, Julius Gabler. Crystal’s father was also a jazz promoter, a producer and an executive for an affiliated jazz record label, Commodore Records, founded by Crystal’s uncle, musician and songwriter Milt Gabler. Crystal is Jewish…..as his family emigrated from Austria, Russia, and Lithuania…..and he grew up attending Temple Emanu-El in Long Beach, NY…..where he had his bar mitzvah. The three young brothers would entertain by reprising comedy routines from the likes of Bob Newhart, Rich Little and Sid Caesar records which their father would bring home. Jazz artists such as Arvell Shaw, Pee Wee Russell, Eddie Condon and Billie Holiday were often guests in the home. With the decline of Dixieland jazz and the rise of discount record stores in 1963, Crystal’s father lost his business…..and died later that year at the age of 54 after having a heart attack…..while his mother died in 2001.
Comedy – 1977 – The Midnight Special – Billy Crystal Stand-Up Routine
Comedy – 2015 – Saturday Night Live – Weekend Update With Michael Che – With Jacob the Bar Mitzvah Boy (Vanessa Bayer) Who Explains Passover With a Little Help from his Dad (Billy Crystal)
After graduating from Long Beach High School in 1965, Crystal attended Marshall University in Huntington, West Virginia on a baseball scholarship…..while having learned the game from his father…..who pitched for St. John’s University…..however, Crystal never played baseball at Marshall because the program was suspended during his 1st year…..so, he didn’t return to Marshall as a sophomore…..but instead decided to stay in New York to be close to his future wife…..when he studied acting at HB Studio…..and also attended Nassau Community College with her…..and later transferred to New York University…..where he was a film and television directing major. He graduated from NYU in 1970 with a BFA from its then School of Fine Arts. One of his instructors at NYU was Martin Scorsese…..while Oliver Stone and Christopher Guest were among his classmates.
Comedy – 1978 – Dick Clark’s Live Wednesday TV Show – Featuring Billy Crystal Stand Up Routine
Comedy – 2005 – Excerpt from Live at the Broadhurst Theatre in NYC – Billy Crystal’s 700 Sundays – “Danny at the Barbecue”
Crystal returned to New York City….where he was part of a comedy trio with two friends for four years…..as they played colleges and coffee houses….as Crystal also worked as a substitute teacher on Long Island. He later became a solo act and performed regularly at The Improv and Catch a Rising Star comedy clubs. In 1976, Crystal appeared on an episode of All in the Family. He was on the dais for The Dean Martin Celebrity Roast of Muhammad Ali on February 19, 1976…..where he did impressions of both Muhammad Ali and sportscaster Howard Cosell. He was scheduled to appear on the 1st episode of NBC Saturday Night on October 11, 1975….which was later renamed Saturday Night Live on March 26, 1977…..but his sketch was cut. He did perform on episode 17 of that 1st season…..while doing a monologue of an old jazz man capped by the line “Can you dig it? I knew that you could.” Crystal was a guest on the 1st and the last episode of The Tonight Show with Jay Leno…..which concluded February 6, 2014, after 22 seasons on the air. Crystal also made game show appearances such as The Hollywood Squares, All Star Secrets and The $20,000 Pyramid…..and to this day, he holds the Pyramid franchise’s record for getting his contestant partner to the top of the pyramid in winner’s circle in the fastest time at 26 seconds.
Comedy & Talk Shows – 2009 – Tonight Show With Jay Leno – With Guest Billy Crystal – Performing A Medley of Songs In Tribute To Leno’s Last Show After 22 Years
Comedy & Talk Shows – 1997 – Tonight Show With Jay Leno – With Guest Billy Crystal & Robin Williams
Comedy – 1996 – The Muppet Show – Muppet Songs: Billy Crystal and The Muppets – “Now You Has Jazz”
Comedy & Game Shows – 1977 – $20,000 Pyramid Game Show – With Billy Crystal’s Winner’s Circle Record
Comedy – 1978 – TV Sit Com “SOAP” – Scene With Jodie (Billy Crystal) Coming Out That He Is Gay With His Brother Danny (Ted Wass)
In 1982, Billy Crystal hosted his own variety show, The Billy Crystal Comedy Hour on NBC…and when Crystal arrived to shoot the 5th episode….that’s when he learned it had been canceled after only the 1st two had aired. After hosting Saturday Night Live twice, on March 17, 1984….and the show’s 9th season finale on May 5…..he joined the regular cast for the 1984–85 season. His most famous recurring sketch was his parody of Fernando Lamas, a smarmy talk-show host whose catchphrase, “You look… mahvelous!” ….. which became a media sensation. Also in the 1980’s, Crystal starred in an episode of Shelley Duvall’s Faerie Tale Theatre as the smartest of the three little pigs.
Comedy – 1984 – Saturday Night Live Skit – “Fernando’s Hideaway” – As Fernando Lamas (Billy Crystal) Interviews Barbara Box & Ringo Starr
Comedy – 1984 – Saturday Night Live Skit – Sammy Davis, Jr. (Billy Crystal) Visits Ronald Reagan (Joe Piscopo) at the White House – To Discuss How Best to Support Reagan’s Re-election Campaign.
Comedy – 1984 – Saturday Night Live – With Special Guest Host Billy Crystal’s Monologue
Comedy – 1984 – Saturday Night Live Skit – “Do You Know What I Hate?: Night Watchmen” With Billy Crystal
Comedy – 1984 – Saturday Night Live Skit – “Fernando’s Hideaway” – As Fernando Lamas (Billy Crystal) Interviews Yankees Owner George Steinbrenner
In 1996, Crystal was the guest star of the third episode of Muppets Tonight and hosted three Grammy Awards Telecasts: the 29th Grammys; the 30th Grammys; and the 31st Grammys.
Comedy – 1996 – The Muppets Tonight Show Season 1 Episode 3 – With Guest Billy Crystal
Music – 1988 – 30th Grammy Awards – Hosted by Billy Crystal
In 2015, Crystal co-starred alongside Josh Gad on the FX comedy series The Comedians, which ran for just one season before being canceled.
Comedy – 2015 – The Comedians Show Sketch – Anthony Bourdain (Billy Crystal) in “Unknown Parts” – With Josh Gad
Comedy – 2015 – The Comedians Show at SXSW in Austin, TX – with Josh Gad & Billie Crystal
Crystal’s first film role was in Joan Rivers’ 1978 film Rabbit Test, the story of the “world’s first pregnant man.”
Comedy & Movie Clips – 1978 – Excerpts from Movie “The Rabbit Test” – Starring Billy Crystal in his 1st Movie
Crystal appeared briefly in the Rob Reiner “rockumentary” This Is Spinal Tap in 1984 as Morty The Mime….who was 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, stating famously that “Mime is money.” He later starred in the action comedy Running Scared in 1986…..and was directed by Reiner again in The Princess Bride in 1987…..in a comedic supporting role as “Miracle Max”. Reiner got Crystal to accept the part by saying, “How would you like to play Mel Brooks?”…..as he also allowed Crystal to ad-lib….and his parting shot, “Have fun storming the castle!” is a frequently quoted line.
Movie Clips – 1984 – Excerpts from Film “This Is Spinal Tap” – Featuring Morty the Mime (Billy Crystal) and other Mime Waiter (Dana Carvey)
Comedy & Movie Clips – 1987 – Scene from Movie “The Princess Bride” – With Miracle Max (Billy Crystal) As He Tries To Bring Wesley (Cary Elwes) Back To Life
Reiner directed Crystal for a 3rd time in the romantic comedy When Harry Met Sally in 1989…..when he starred alongside Meg Ryan…..and for which he was nominated for a Golden Globe…..as the film has since become an iconic classic for the genre…..which has become Crystal’s most celebrated film. Crystal then starred in the award-winning buddy comedy City Slickers in 1991….which proved very successful both commercially and critically….while Crystal was nominated for his 2nd Golden Globe…..when the film was followed by a sequel…..which was less successful. In 1992, he narrated Dr. Seuss Video Classics: Horton Hatches the Egg.
Comedy & Movie Clip – 1989 – Excerpt from Movie “When Harry Met Sally” – Starring Meg Ryan & Billy Crystal
Comedy & Movie Clip – 1989 – Excerpt from Movie “When Harry Met Sally” – Starring Meg Ryan + Billy Crystal + Bruno Kirby + Carrie Fisher – “The Wagon Wheel Coffee Table” Scene
Comedy & Movie Clip – 1989 – Excerpt from Movie “When Harry Met Sally” – Starring Meg Ryan + Billy Crystal + Bruno Kirby + Carrie Fisher – “Ending Scene”
Comedy & Movie Clips – 1991 – Clip from Movie “City Slickers” – With Jack Palance & Billy Crystal – “It’s All Downhill From Here”” Scene
Comedy & Movie Clips – 1991 – Clip from Movie “City Slickers” – With Jack Palance & Billy Crystal – “The Toughest Man Ever” Scene
Comedy & Movie Clips – 1991 – Clip from Movie “City Slickers” – With Jack Palance & Billy Crystal – “The Key To Life” Scene
Comedy & Awards Show – 1992 – The Academy Awards Show – Jack Palance Receives Award for Best Supporting Actor for “City Slickers”
Following the significant success of these films…..that is when Crystal wrote, directed, and starred in Mr. Saturday Night in 1992…..and Forget Paris in 1995)…..while in the former, he played a serious role in aging makeup….as an egotistical comedian who reflects back on his career. Crystal then starred in Woody Allen’s critically acclaimed comedy ensemble film Deconstructing Harry in 1997…..and had another success alongside Robert De Niro in Harold Ramis’ mobster comedy Analyze This in 1999…..with more recent roles in America’s Sweethearts in 2001…..the sequel Analyze That in 2002…..and Parental Guidance in 2012.
Comedy & Movie Clips – 1992 – Clip from “Mr. Saturday Night” Movie – Official Trailer – Starring Billy Crystal + Helen Hunt + David Paymer + Julie Warner
Comedy & Broadway – 2022 – CBS Sunday Morning Special – Billy Crystal in Broadway’s “Mr. Saturday Night” – As Tracey Smith Catches Up With Crystal
Comedy & Movie Clips – 1995 – Clip from “Forget Paris” Movie – Official Trailer – Starring Billy Crystal + Deborah Winger
Comedy & Movie Clips – 1995 – Clip from “Forget Paris” Movie – Starring Billy Crystal + Deborah Winger – “Mickey Gordon Refereeing” Scene
Comedy & Movie Clips – 1995 – Clip from “Forget Paris” Movie – Starring Billy Crystal + Deborah Winger – “Pidgeon Scene” Scene
Comedy & Movie Clips – 1999 – Clip from “Analyze This” Movie – Official Trailer – Starring Billy Crystal + Robert De Niro + Lisa Kudrow
Comedy & Movie Clips – 1999 – Clip from “Analyze This” Movie – Starring Billy Crystal + Robert De Niro – “Did You Talk To The Man, How Should I Know, The First Thing Or The Second” Scene
Comedy & Movie Clips – 1999 – Clip from “Analyze This” Movie – Starring Billy Crystal + Robert De Niro + Lisa Kudrow – “The Dinner” Scene
Comedy & Movie Clips – 2001 – Clip from “America’s Sweathearts” Movie – Official Trailer – Starring Billy Crystal + Julia Roberts + John Cusack + Catherine Zeta-Jones
Comedy & Movie Clips – 2002 – Clip from “Analyze That” Movie – Official Trailer – Starring Billy Crystal + Robert De Niro + Lisa Kudrow
Comedy & Movie Clips – 2002 – Clip from “Parental Guidence” Movie – Official Trailer – Starring Billy Crystal + Bette Midler + Marisa Tomei
He directed the made-for-television movie 61* in 2001…..which was based on the race to break Babe Ruth’s single-season home run record in 1961 between Yankee teammates Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle…..as this earned Crystal an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Directing for a Miniseries, Movie or a Special.
Comedy & TV Movies – 2001 – Special – The Making Of The TV Movie “61*” – The Story Of Mickey Mantle And Roger Maris Chase To Break Babe Ruth’s Single Season HR Record Of 61 In 1961 – Directed By Billy Crystal
Crystal was originally asked to voice Buzz Lightyear in Toy Story in 1995….but turned it down…..which was a decision he later regretted due to the success of the series. Crystal later went on to provide the voice of Mike Wazowski in the blockbuster Pixar film Monsters, Inc. in 2001…..Cars in 2006…..Monsters University in 2013…..and Monsters At Work in 2021. Crystal also provided the voice of Calcifer in the English version of Hayao Miyazaki’s Howl’s Moving Castle in 2004.
Comedy & Animated Movie – 2001 – Clip From “Monsters, Inc” Movie – Featuring James P. “Sulley” Sullivan (John Goodman) and His One-Eyed Partner and Best Friend Mike Wazowski (Billy Crystal) In “The Door Chase With The Weasel” Scene
Comedy & Animated Movie – 2001 – Clip From “Monsters at Work” Movie – Featuring Mike Wazowski (Billy Crystal) Perform “I’m Not Gonna Sing You a Song”
Comedy & Animated Movie – 2013 – Clip From “Monsters University” Movie – Featuring Mike Wazowski (Billy Crystal) + James (Sulley) Sullivan (John Goodman) Cast Recording Sessions
Animated Movie – 2004 – “Howl’s Moving Castle” – Behind the Mic With Cast – Featuring Billy Crystal
Due to the success of Crystal’s standup and SNL career, in 1985, he released an album of his stand-up material titled Mahvelous!…..as well as the single “You Look Mahvelous”…..which peaked at # 58 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the US…..and # 17 in Canada…..plus, the title track You Look Marvelous had an accompanying music video that debuted on MTV. Both the song and video features Crystal in character as his SNL persona of talk show host Fernando Lamas…..which features Lamas cruising around in what was at the time the world’s longest stretch limousine that was built by custom-coach designer and builder Vini Bergeman…..while being surrounded by models in bikinis. The album was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Comedy Recording at the 1986 Grammy Awards.
Comedy – 1985 – Recorded Album “You Look Mahvelous” Special Cut – Crystal & Christopher Guest Perform “I Hate When That Happens”
Comedy & Music – 1985 – Fernando Lamas (Billy Crystal) Performing “You Look Mahvelous”
In 2013, Crystal released his autobiographical memoir Still Foolin’ Em. The audiobook version was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Spoken Word Album at the 2014 Grammy Awards.
Comedy – 1989 – Live In Concert – Billy Crystal’s “Midnight Train to Moscow” – Part 1
Comedy – 1989 – Live In Concert – Billy Crystal’s “Midnight Train to Moscow” – Part 2
Crystal hosted the Academy Awards broadcast a total of 9 times….from 1990 to 1993, 1997, 1998, 2000, 2004 and 2012. His hosting was critically praised ….. which resulted in two Primetime Emmy Award wins for hosting and writing the 63rd Academy Awards…..and an Emmy win for writing the 64th Academy Awards. He returned as the host for the 2012 Oscar ceremony after Eddie Murphy resigned from hosting. His nine times is second only to Bob Hope’s 19 in most ceremonies hosted. At the 83rd Academy Awards ceremony in 2011….when 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 nominees in addition to a song following his opening monologue.
Comedy & Awards Show – 1990 – 62nd Academy Awards Show – With Host Billy Crystal’s Opening
Comedy & Awards Show – 1991 – 63rd Academy Awards Show – With Host Billy Crystal’s Opening
Comedy & Awards Show – 1992 – 64th Academy Awards Show – With Host Billy Crystal’s Opening
Comedy & Awards Show – 1993 – 65th Academy Awards Show – With Host Billy Crystal’s Opening
Comedy & Awards Show – 1997 – 69th Academy Awards Show – With Host Billy Crystal’s Opening
Comedy & Awards Show – 1998 – 70th Academy Awards Show – With Host Billy Crystal’s Opening
Comedy & Awards Show – 2000 – 72nd Academy Awards Show – With Host Billy Crystal’s Opening
Comedy & Awards Show – 2004 – 76th Academy Awards Show – With Host Billy Crystal’s Opening
Comedy & Awards Show – 2012 – 84th Academy Awards Show – With Host Billy Crystal’s Opening
Crystal won the 2005 Tony Award for Best Special Theatrical Event for 700 Sundays…..which was a two-act, one-man play that he conceived and wrote about his parents…..and his childhood growing up on Long Island. He toured throughout the US with the show in 2006 and then Australia in 2007.
Comedy -2009 – Live At The Kravitz Center in Palm Beach & The Arsht Center in Miami – Excerpts Of Billy Crystal Performing “700 Sundays”
Comedy & Talk Shows – 2014 – Ellen DeGeneres Show – With Guest Billy Crystal – “Talking About His 700 Sundays Production”
Comedy – 2014 – HBO Film – Excerpts Of Billy Crystal In “700 Sundays”
Following the initial success of the play, Crystal wrote the book 700 Sundays for Warner Books…..which was published on October 31, 2005…..when in conjunction with the book and the play that also paid tribute to his uncle, Milt Gabler…..that is when 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…..along with Billy Remembers Billie featuring Crystal’s favorite Holiday recordings.
Comedy & Talk Shows – 2022 – Late Night With Martin Short – Billy Crystal and Martin Short Had a Tiger Encounter in the Middle of the City
In the fall of 2013, he brought the show back to Broadway for a two-month run at the Imperial Theatre…..as HBO filmed the January 3–4, 2014 performances for a special…..which debuted on their network on April 19, 2014…..when the televised special received three Primetime Emmy Award nominations including Outstanding Variety Special…..and Outstanding Writing for a Variety Special.
Comedy & Talk Shows – 2022 – The tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon – Featuring Guest Billy Crystal On Improvised Roasting Johnny Cash on SNL
In 2022, Crystal adapted his 1992 movie Mr. Saturday Night into a Broadway musical with the same name…..when Crystal stars in the musical reprising his role from the film alongside David Paymer…..as the production began previews on Broadway at the Nederlander Theatre on March 29, 2022….which was prior to officially opening on April 27. Crystal earned the Drama League Award for Contribution to the Theater Award for “his extraordinary work on stages across the country and commitment to mentorship in the field”. Crystal performed a number with the ensemble from his musical at the 75th Tony Awards. He also performed what he described as Yiddish scat singing. He went into the crowd teaching Lin-Manuel Miranda and Samuel L. Jackson as well as the rest of the audience. The New York Times praised Crystal on his bit, describing it as a highlight of the telecast writing, “one of the few moments that broke through…is when [Crystal] brought it out into the audience, and threw it up to the balcony, he showed how precision delivery and command of a room can make even the oldest, silliest material impossibly compelling.”
Comedy & News – 2021 – CBS Sunday Morning Features Billy Crystal – At 73 On Not Getting Old & Preparing For Broadway Opening Of “Mr. Saturday Night”
Comedy & Talk Shows – 2021 – Jimmy Kimmel Live – With Billy Crystal On Returning To Broadway In “Mr. Saturday Night” & His Friendship With Muhammad Ali
In 2014, Crystal paid tribute to his close friend Robin Williams at the 66th Primetime Emmy Awards…..when in his tribute he talked about their friendship, saying, “As genius as he was on stage, he was the greatest friend you could ever imagine. Supportive. Protective. Loving. It’s very hard to talk about him in the past because he was so present in all of our lives. For almost 40 years, he was the brightest star in the comedy galaxy…[His] beautiful light will continue to shine on us forever. And the glow will be so bright, it’ll warm your heart. It’ll make your eyes glisten. And you’ll think to yourselves: Robin Williams. What a concept.” Crystal stated that paying tribute to Williams so publicly and so soon after Williams had died was one of “the hardest things I’ve had to do” and that “I was really worried that I wasn’t going to get through it.” Crystal soon after appeared on The View where he and Whoopi Goldberg shared stories about Williams, reminiscing about their friendship…..and their collaborations together on Comic Relief.
Comedy & Awards Shows -2014 – 66th Emmy Awards Special – Billy Crystal’s Tribute To Robin Williams
Comedy & Talk Shows – 2014 – The View With Whoopi Goldberg & Billy Crystal – Talk About Their Friendship With Robin Williams
In 2016, Crystal gave one of the eulogies for Muhammad Ali at his funeral….. when in his remembrance of Ali, he talked about his admiration for Ali as a boxer, and humanitarian…..as he shared stories of their unlikely friendship after Crystal did a series of impersonations of him. Crystal stated of Ali’s legacy, “Only once in a thousand years or so, do we get to hear a Mozart, or see a Picasso, or read a Shakespeare. Ali was one of them. And yet, at his heart, he was still a kid from Louisville who ran with the gods and walked with the crippled and smiled at the foolishness of it all.“
Comedy & Boxing – 2016 – Funeral Of Muhammad Ali – Special – Billy Crystal Delivers A Eulogy Of His Big Brother Muhammad Ali
In the fall of 2021, Crystal reprised the role of Buddy Young Jr., in a theatrical musical staging of Mr. Saturday Night at the Barrington Stage Company in Pittsfield, MA.
Comedy & Awards Shows – 1992 – The Academy Awards Show – With Billy Chrystal As Hannibal Lecter Entrance
On June 4, 1970, Crystal married his high school sweetheart, Janice Goldfinger. They have two daughters: actress Jennifer and producer Lindsay, and are grandparents. They live in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Pacific Palisades, California.
Comedy – 2018 – The Skeleton Presents – “A Profile Of Billy Crystal’s Family”
Crystal received an honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degree from New York University in 2016 and spoke at the commencement at Yankee Stadium.
Comedy – 2012 – Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon Comedy Skit – “Who’s On First” – As Fallon, Crystal, and Seinfeld Revisit Abbott & Costello’s Classic Routine
In 1986, Crystal started hosting Comic Relief on HBO with Robin Williams and Whoopi Goldberg. Founded by Bob Zmuda, Comic Relief raises money for homeless people in the United States.
Comedy – 1987 – Special – Comic Relief Opening – With Billy Crystal & Robin Williams
Comedy – 1992 – Comic Relief Special – Featuring Don Rickles Roasting Billy Crystal + Whoopi Goldberg + Robin Williams
Comedy – 1994 – Special – Comic Relief Opening – With Billy Crystal + Whoopi Goldberg + Robin Williams
Crystal has participated in the Simon Wiesenthal Center Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles. Crystal’s personal history is featured in the “Finding Our Families, Finding Ourselves” exhibit in the genealogy wing of the museum.
Comedy – 2014 – The Emmy Awards – Special – Billy Crystal Delivers Tribute To Robin Williams
On March 12, 2008, Crystal signed a one-day minor league contract to play with the New York Yankees, and was invited to the team’s major league spring training. He wore uniform number 60 in honor of his upcoming 60th birthday. On March 13, in a spring training game against the Pittsburgh Pirates, Crystal led off as the designated hitter. He managed to make contact, fouling a fastball up the first base line, but was eventually struck out by Pirates pitcher Paul Maholm on six pitches and was later replaced in the batting order by Johnny Damon. He was released on March 14, his 60th birthday.
Comedy & MLB – 2008 – NY Yankees Spring Training Special – At Age 60 Billy Crystal Signs 1-Day Contract With Yanks And Is The Leadoff Batter In The Game
Comedy & Talk Shows – 2019 – Jimmy Kimmel Live – With Guest Billy Crystal On His Lakers/Clippers Announcing Gig With Ralph Lawler + Playing For The Yankees For A Day + Getting A Yankees Stadium Seat Signed By Mickey Mantle
Comedy & MLB – 2020 – Sirius XM Bennington Show With Guest Billy Crystal – As He Reveals How Anxious Mickey Mantle Was About The Hall of Fame
Crystal’s boyhood idol was Yankee Hall of Fame legend Mickey Mantle….who had signed a program for him as an 8 year old boy in 1956…..when Crystal attended a game where Mantle had hit a home run. Years later on The Dinah Shore Show, in one of his 1st television appearances, Crystal met Mantle in person…..and had Mantle re-sign the same program. Crystal would be good friends with Mantle until Mantle’s death in 1995…..when he and Bob Costas together wrote the eulogy Costas read at Mantle’s funeral…..and George Steinbrenner then invited Crystal to emcee the unveiling of Mantle’s monument at Yankee Stadium. In his 2013 memoir Still Foolin’ ‘Em, Crystal claimed that after the ceremony, near the Yankee clubhouse, he was punched in the stomach by Joe DiMaggio…..who was angry at Crystal for not having introduced him to the crowd as the “Greatest living player”. Crystal also was well known for his impressions of Yankee Hall of Famer turned broadcaster Phil Rizzuto…..when Rizzuto, known for his quirks calling games, did not travel to Anaheim, California in 1996 to call the game for WPIX…..so instead, Crystal joined the broadcasters in the booth…..and pretended to be Rizzuto for a few minutes during the August 31 game.
Comedy & MLB -2014 – YES Network Orioles Vs Yankees Game Special – Billy Crystal Impersonates New York Yankees Legend Phil Rizzuto While Broadcasting An Inning Behind The Mic
Comedy & MLB – 2012 – Angels Vs Yankees Game Special – Billy Crystal Does Phil Rizzuto “The Scooter” From The Booth – Funny!
Although a lifelong Yankee fan, he is a part-owner of the Arizona Diamondbacks, even earning a World Series ring in 2001 when the Diamondbacks beat his beloved Yankees. Crystal appeared in Ken Burns’s 1994 documentary Baseball, telling personal stories about his life-long love of baseball, including meeting Casey Stengel as a child and Ted Williams as an adult.
Comedy & MLB – 1994 – Special – Excerpt From Ken Burn’s Documentary “Baseball” – Billy Crystal Interview – As He Tells Story Of His 1st Game That He Saw At Yankee Stadium in 1956
In concluding this story and tribute to Billy Crystal, I can honestly say that one of the wonderful aspects of watching the videos that I post along with the story of the person that I’m posting a tribute of, is that I learn so much more about my subject than I ever knew before…..even if I have liked and enjoyed that person’s work for many years…..and in regards to Billy Crystal, my appreciation of the immense talents that he embodies has grown exponentially….for Billy Crystal has a pool of talents that is almost immeasurable…..as evidenced by his story and the videos seen in this post. Billy Crystal embodies a talent pool that is almost unmeasurable….for he is a comedian of the highest order, capable of the reaching the top level of stand-up routine quality, or making his movie viewers laugh while being a referee in a high pressure NBA Championship game, or comically convincing his viewing public that a city slicker can become a cowboy that can get his herd to market…..while being a television actor capable of convincing his audience that he is gay week after week in SOAP long before before gay people came out of the closet and into the public eye, plus drawing his viewers into an endearing love story in a most hilarious way when Harry met Sally, or convincing a group of mob bosses that a psychiatrist can be the kingpin in a mafia organization when filing in for Robert De Niro…..in addition to being a top shelf writer, producer and director for TV, the Silver Screen and Broadway as evidenced by his work on “Mr. Saturday Night”, “700 Sundays” and “61*”.….but in my opinion, his “talent light” was brightest when he would write and perform eulogies for those folks that he held in his highest esteem such as Muhammad Ali, Mickey Mantle, Robin Williams, Howard Cosell et al….for this was where he excelled most as a “word merchant” of the highest order while exuding his respect and love for those he viewed as his friends and heroes. When considering this man’s talent pool…..suffice to say, he could bring us from a “tear in our eye” to a “big ole belly laugh” in a matter of just a few words or a couple of lines….. and doesn’t that speak to what talent and entertainment is all about!?!
Comedy & MLB – 1985 – NBC Sports All Star Game Special – “Billy Crystal’s Comedy Salute To Baseball”