Billy Crystal
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  • Faith: Judaism
  • Career: Actor
  • Birthday:  March 14, 1947

William Edward Crystal, known professionally as Billy Crystal, is an actor, comedian, and filmmaker. He's known as a standup comedian and for his stage and film roles. Crystal has received numerous awards, including six Primetime Emmy Awards and three Golden Globe Awards. He was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1991, the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor in 2007, the Critics' Choice Lifetime Achievement Award in 2022, and the Kennedy Center Honors in 2023. Crystal gained prominence for TV roles as Jodie Dallas on "Soap" from 1977 to 1981 and as a cast member and frequent host of "Saturday Night Live" from 1984 to 1985.

Crystal then became known for his roles in movies like "Running Scared,” "Throw Mamma from the Train,” "Memories of Me,” "When Harry Met Sally,” "Mr. Saturday Night,” "Forget Paris,” "Father’s Day,” and “America’s Sweethearts.” He also provided the voice of Mike Wazowski in the “Monster’s Inc.” franchise. He’s hosted the Academy Awards nine times, starting in 1990 and most recently in 2012. He made his Broadway debut in his one-person show “700 Sundays” in 2004, for which he won the Tony Award for Best Special Theatrical Event. He returned to the show in 2014, which was filmed by HBO and received a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Variety Special nomination. He wrote and starred in the Broadway musical "Mr. Saturday Night” based on his film in 2022, for which Crystal received two Tony Awards nominations for Best Book of a Musical and Best Actor in a Musical.

Crystal has written five books, including his memoir Still Foolin’ Em. Crystal was born on the Upper East Side of Manhattan and initially raised in the Bronx. As a child, he moved with his family to Long Beach, New York. He and his brothers, Joel and Richard, were the sons of Helen and Jack Crystal. The three brothers would entertain by reprising comedy routines from the likes of Rich Little, Sid Caesar, and Bob Newhart records their father would bring home. After graduating from Long Beach High School in 1965, Crystal attended Marshall University in Huntington Beach, West Virginia, on a baseball scholarship. He never played baseball at Marshall because the program was suspended during his first year. He didn’t return to Marshall as a sophomore and decided to stay in New York to be close to his future wife.

He studied acting at HB Studio and later attended Nassau Community College with her and later transferred to NYU in 1970 with a BFA from its then School of Fine Arts. One of his instructors was Martin Scorsese, and Oliver Stone and Christopher Guest were among his classmates. Tragically, Crystal’s father died of a heart attack at 54 years old, and his mother died in 2001.

What religion is Billy Crystal?

Billy Crystal is Jewish. His family emigrated from Austria, Lithuania, and Russia, and he grew up attending Temple Emanu-El in Long Beach, New York, where he had his bar mitzvah. When asked what he loved about being Jewish, Crystal said, “The storytelling, the warmth, the sense of humor. My dad was strict about the holidays. We honored them; we went to temple. I like the ritual, and the caring for our planet that’s written into so many of the works I read in Hebrew school.”

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