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Billy Crystal was born in Long Beach, on the south shore of Long Island in New York in 1948. His mother's brother was Milt Gabler, the founder of Commodore Records in 1937, and in 1941, his uncle left Commodore for Decca, and turned Commodore over to Billy's father, Jack Crystal. Since these labels recorded the top jazz stars of that time, young Billy grew up around jazz greats like Billie Holliday (and since the Yankees were having some of their greatest years with some incredible players, Billy was a HUGE Yankees fan). In 1963, Billy's father died of a heart attack, and the following year Billy started doing stand-up comedy. But his first love was baseball, and he played baseball in high school, and got a college scholarship in baseball, but that college dropped baseball that year, so he never played a game, and he returned to New York, where he became a theater major in college. He met a dancer, Janice Goldfinger, and they started dating. He transferred to NYU, and he studied under Martin Scorsese. After he graduated, he married Janice (they are still married, and have two daughters), and he did stand-up comedy, and some substitute teaching. He moved to Hollywood in 1976, and tried to break into TV. He was supposed to be on the first Saturday Night Live ever, but his part did not air. He appeared in an episode of All In the Family, as Rob Reiner's best friend, and they became great friends in real life. He auditioned for the role of Jack Tripper in Three's Company in 1977, and didn't get it, but he did get the role of Jodie Dallas on Soap (the first openly gay character on a network series), and he stayed on the show for its five year run. In 1978, he had the starring role in Joan River's Rabbit Test, about the first pregnant man. In 1985, he joined the cast of Saturday Night Live, and he had much success with his impersonation of Fernando Lamas ("You look mahvelous!"), among others. In 1987, he played Miracle Max in Rob Reiner's The Princess Bride, and two years later he had his greatest hit, starring in Reiner's When Harry Met Sally. Two years later, he had another giant hit in City Slickers. He also had a big hit with Analyze This (opposite Robert De Niro) and he has provided the voices for some memorable animated characters. Crystal hosted the Academy Awards eight times (second only to Bob Hope) and many people consider him the most enjoyable host they ever had. Crystal has also written a play about his childhood, 700 Sundays, and he expanded it into a book. He has also used his great success to direct some highly personal movies, including Mr. Saturday Night (which he also acted in), and 61 (about his beloved New York Yankees), and in 1986, he started co-hosting Comic Relief with Robin Williams and Whoopi Goldberg, which raises money for homeless people in the U.S. But in spite of all his achievements and awards, probably the one that meant the most to him was when, right before his 60th birthday, he was signed to a one DAY contract with the New York Yankees, and he had an at bat in a spring training game (he struck out, but he did hit a foul ball!). As of 2021, Billy is still alive at the age of 73!
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