Billy Crystal Biography (Personal Life, Career)

Billy Crystal is an American stand-up comedian, actor writer, producer and film director. He gained fame in the 1970’s for playing Jodie Dallas on the ABC sitcom Soap. The comic actor has hosted the Academy Awards eight times and received the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor in 2007.

Personal Life

The stand-up comedian was born on March 14, 1948 in Manhattan to a Jewish family. The comedian was the youngest of three sons born to Jack and Helen Crystal. His father was a famous concert and jazz promoter who co-founded Commodore Records and his mother was a homemaker. From an early age, the stand-up comedian was surrounded by performers and musicians in a creative environment which would greatly influence him in the years to come.

The stand-up comedian grew up in Long Beach, New York where he followed the High School. The stand-up comedian’s real dream was to be a professional baseball player. At Long Beach High, the stand-up comedian played second base and was varsity captain in his senior year. This earned him a baseball scholarship from Marshall University in West Virginia which he accepted.

After returning from his scholarship, the comedian attended Nassau Community College where he met and fell in love with a dancer named Janice Goldfinger. Soon after graduated from collage, the comedian went on to New York University. While attending University, the stand-up comedian was working as an Editor-in-Chief of the BG News (1969-1970). After receiving a Bachelor of Fine Arts from NYU in 1970, the stand-up comedian temporarily worked as a substitute teacher until he was able to get gigs as a stand-up comic.

The stand-up comedian married Janice in 1970. They have two daughters, actress Jennifer and producer Lindsay, and are now grandparents. They currently reside in Pacific Palisades, California.


The stand-up comedian together with his older brothers learned to "work the room" performing comedy for family at home in New York. Later on, in his tens, the stand-up comedian started to perform in local clubs. He officially started doing stand-up comedy at the age of 16, having a unique talent for making people laugh.

The stand-up comedian formed his own improv group, 3's Company, and opened for musicians like Barry Manilow. His impression of Howard Cosell interviewing Muhammad Ali became a huge hit with the audience. In the same year, 1976, the stand-up comedian appeared on an episode of All in the Family performed his sketch on the April 17 episode of Saturday Night Live comedy show.

The stand-up comedian’s major film role was as Jodie Dallas on Soap (1977-1981), one of the first openly gay characters in the cast of an American television comedy series. After his success with the gay character, the stand-up comedian took on another role in his feature film debut as the world's first pregnant man in "Rabbit Test" (1978) comedy.

From 1981 until 1982, the stand-up comedian hosted a short-lived comedy-variety series, "The Billy Crystal Comedy Hour" aired on NBC. Two years later, in 1984, the stand-up comedian appeared in Rob Reiner's classic comedy "This is Spinal Tap" .That same year, the comedic actor made his triumphant return to "Saturday Night Live”, this time as a host of the cast for one season. His catchphrase “you look mahvelous!” became part of the pop-culture media sensation.

In 1984, the stand-up comedian had his one-man special, "A Comic's Line". In 1986, he followed his success with another comedy special "Billy Crystal - Don't Get Me Started". In the same year, the stand-up comedian co-hosted with Robin Williams and Whoopi Goldberg, "Comic Relief", philanthropic project and an annual stand-up comedy show which helped to raise money for housing and medical care for the homeless.

In addition to stand-up comedy, Crystal has an impressive acting career. He acted in romantic comedy films such as: This Is Spinal Tap (1984), The Princess Bride (1987), When Harry Met Sally (1989), City Slickers (1991). For the performances he had on the last two movies, the comic actor was nominated for a Golden Globe. The actor, voiced Calcifer in Howl's Moving Castle, Buzz Lightyear in Toy Troy (1995) and Mike Wazowski in the Pixar film, Monsters, Inc. (2001), which was nominated for the inaugural Best Animated Feature Oscar. The comic actor also acted in "Father's Day" (1997),"My Giant" (1998), "Analyze This" (1999), “61*" (2001), "America's Sweethearts,"(2001) co-starring John Cusack, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Julia Roberts.

In March of 2008, life-long baseball fan stand-up comedian realized a dream come true and signed to a one-day contract with the New York Yankees. The comedian wore uniform number 60, in honor of his upcoming 60th birthday and played a game against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

The stand-up comedian’s latest comedy performances were in the Disney comedy "The Tooth Fairy" (2010), starring Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson and in Disney/Pixar's "Monsters, Inc. 2" (2012) voicing Mike Wazowski.

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