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Billy Crystal

Billy Crystal

Biography

Billy Crystal was born into a showbiz family in Long Beach, New York on March 14, 1947. His father was a successful concert promoter in New York City and his uncle, Milt Gabler, founded Commodore Records and later, Decca Records. Crystal grew up around talented people, and even can count Billie Holiday as one of his babysitters! His gift for making people laugh may have showed early on, but Billy Crystal's first love was sports. In fact, Crystal attended Marshall University thanks to a baseball scholarship. Later, he transferred to NYU, where he studied film under director Martin Scorsese. Eventually, the comedian headed to Los Angeles where director Norman Lear spotted him. Impressed, Lear cast Billy Crystal as "Meathead's" best friend in All In The Family. The following year, he got offered the part of Jodi Dallas, the first openly gay television character on the series Soap. Crystal accepted the part, helping to make Soap one of primetime's most popular television show between 1977 and 1981. When Soap ended, Crystal went back to his comedy roots, taping a few specials and making the variety show circuit. In 1984, Crystal signed on to be one of the cast members on Saturday Night Live. It was this show that really sent his popularity skyrocketing, thanks, in part, to Crystal's wacky characters such as Fernando Llamas, whose catchphrase, "You look mahvelous! " became part of pop culture. With Saturday Night Live under his belt, Crystal branched off to movies, where he found success with blockbusters such as When Harry Met Sally and City Slickers. In 1990, Crystal hosted the Academy Awards show. His quick wit and dead-on impressions made the sometimes-boring show an unexpected hit. Needless to say, Crystal was invited back to host over and over again. Through the years, he's successfully tried his hand at writing children's books as well as directing and producing movies, and recently indulged his love for sports when he became part owner of the Arizona Diamondbacks baseball team.
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