Billy Crystal

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Award-Winning Actor & Comedian

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Jewish Culture & Advocacy

Billy Crystal: Biography at a Glance

  • Golden Globe Award-nominated and Emmy Award-winning actor, writer, producer, comedian and director
  • Film credits include When Harry Met Sally, Analyze This, Deconstructing Harry, and Monsters Inc.
  • Won the 2005 Tony Award for Best Special Theatrical Event for “700 Sundays”


Tony® and Emmy Award®-winning comedian, actor, producer, writer and director BILLY CRYSTAL is known to audiences around the world as the star of such feature films as When Harry Met Sally…City Slickers and Analyze This; as a cast member of NBC’s Saturday Night Live; and as the acclaimed nine-time host of the Academy Awards®.

Crystal landed his first major television role in 1977 on the comedy series Soap, playing Jodie Dallas, one of the first openly gay characters on TV. In 1984 he hosted Saturday Night Live and a few months later joined the regular cast. His best-known SNL creation was Fernando, an unctuous talk-show host whose tagline, “You look mahvelous!” entered the popular lexicon.

Earlier this year Billy completed a 30-city North American tour which garnered rave reviews in every market. Last year, Crystal embarked on a hugely successful and critically acclaimed 13-day tour in six major cities of Australia and New Zealand.

In 2015, Crystal made his return to series television opposite Josh Gad in the FX series, The Comedians. Crystal portrayed a superstar veteran comedian who is reluctantly paired with Gad, an edgier up-and-coming star, in an unfiltered, behind-the-scenes look at a late night sketch comedy show where egos and generations collide.

Crystal’s many feature-film credits include the buddy cop comedy Running Scared (1986), Rob Reiner’s comic fairy tale The Princess Bride (1987) and Danny DeVito’s dark comedy Throw Momma from the Train (1987). But his breakthrough role came in 1989 when he starred opposite Meg Ryan in Reiner’s When Harry Met Sally…, which became a romantic touchstone for a generation of moviegoers. Other iconic titles include Mr. Saturday Night (1992) and America’s Sweethearts (2001). In addition, he starred opposite Bette Midler and Maria Tomei in the 2012 Christmas family comedy Parental Guidance, which he also produced.

He is the voice of one eyed Mike Wazowski, in Disney•Pixar’s animated global blockbusters Monsters Inc. and its prequel Monsters University. As a director, Crystal was nominated for both an Emmy and a Directors Guild Award for his direction of the 2001 HBO movie 61*, which told the dramatic story of the 1961 race between Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris to break Babe Ruth’s single-season home-run record.

In addition to hosting the Oscars nine times—most recently in 2012—Crystal has also hosted the GRAMMY® Awards three times. His work as a host, writer and producer on the televised awards shows has earned him 14 Emmy nominations and five wins. Crystal won a sixth Emmy for his 1989 HBO comedy special, Billy Crystal: Midnight Train to Moscow. Other HBO specials include “On Location,” “A Comic’s Line,”  and “Don’t Get Me Started.”

The recipient of the 2007 Mark Twain Prize for American Humor, Crystal has written five books, including Absolutely Mahvelous (1986), 700 Sundays (2005) and two children’s books, I Already Know I Love You (2004) and Grandpa’s Little One (2006).

In his most recent book, the New York Times best-selling memoir Still Foolin' 'Em: Where I've Been, Where I'm Going, and Where the Hell Are My Keys? Crystal offers his heartfelt and humorous observations on aging. The book, which was released in September 2013, became an instant New York Times Bestseller. The audiobook version debuted at number one on iTunes and was nominated for a Grammy Award for the Best Spoken Word Album and won the Audiobook of the Year at the 2014 Audies Gala.

Crystal made his Broadway debut in 2004 with the original production of his one-man show 700 Sundays, for which he won a Tony Award. The Broadway production was taped in front of a live audience for an HBO special that aired in April of 2014, which garnered 4 Emmy Nominations and was released on DVD that fall.

He lives in Los Angeles and New York with Janice his wife of 46 years.

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