Occasionally, you will come across a talented artist. Someone who holds the admiration of many of his peers for his professional achievements. But, more importantly, is respected and loved as a human being. Billy Crystal is one of those people.
His influences and input has been recognized across a range of activities. The Billy Crystal net worth figure then doesn’t rely on just one income stream but many, and we can take a look at that. But before we do, let’s learn something about this brilliantly talented man.
- His Early Life
- Introduction To Jazz
- Introduction To The Stage
- Back In New York
- Illustrious Company
- Let’s Go To Work
- Going Solo
- As A TV Actor
- The Films
- His Star Was On The Rise
- As A Voice
- As A Director and Producer
- As A Recording Artist
- On Broadway
- More As A Writer
- As A Presenter
- Private Life
- Want To Learn About The Net Worth Of Other Celebrities?
- Final Thoughts
- Frequently Asked Questions
His Early Life
Crystal is Jewish, and his family left what were their homes in Russia, Lithuania, and Austria to escape anti-semitism. He was born William Edward Crystal in Manhattan’s Upper East Side and raised first in The Bronx.
At quite a young age, the family moved to 549 East Park Avenue, which is in the Long Beach area on Long Island. Growing up, he attended the synagogue in Long Beach, where he celebrated his bar mitzvah.
He has two older brothers, Joel, an Art teacher, and Richard. His father, Jack Crystal, ran a music shop that had been set up by Billy Crystal’s grandfather.
Introduction To Jazz
Billy Crystal’s father was also involved with Commodore Records, a jazz label that had been founded by Milt Gabler, a songwriter, musician, and Billy’s uncle. They were, therefore, exposed to the jazz world very early.
Unfortunately, the rise of the discount record stores that were opening all over was the downfall of Commodore Music, and the record shop ceased. His father, Jack, died later that year at just 54 years of age from a heart attack. His mother managed to survive the turmoil, dying in 2001.
Introduction To The Stage
The family moving to Long Beach from The Bronx made it easier for Billy to attend Long Beach High School. After graduating from high school, he went on to University in Huntington, West Virginia, where he achieved a baseball scholarship.
His father had been a keen player and had been a pitcher for St. Johns University. Billy’s scholarship program at Marshall University was suspended during the first year he was there, so he never actually got to play.
Back In New York
He didn’t return the following year, preferring to stay in New York. Billy had met his future wife, Janice Goldfinger, and that had a lot to do with his decision.
He studied acting first at the HB Studio, and then he and Janice both attended Nassau Community College. From there, he went on to earn a degree at New York University and majored in TV and Film Directing.
Billy Crystal graduated from the School of Fine Arts at New York University in 1970 with a BFA, Bachelor of Fine Arts degree. He had some illustrious company. Two of his classmates were Oliver Stone and Christopher Guest. And one of his tutors was Martin Scorsese.
Let’s Go To Work
Billy returned to New York with qualifications in hand and set about finding work in his chosen profession. Not an easy thing to do in a discipline where the competition can be fierce. And one where the first few steps are often made more through luck than judgment.
He got together with a few friends, and they formed a small comedic group playing coffee houses and sometimes colleges. Maybe it was at this time that he began to realize he had a real talent for comedy. He supplemented his income with work as a substitute teacher.
After a few years, he decided to go it alone, and he managed to get regular work at The Improv. A comedy club franchise with venues in many American cities, Crystal worked in the first setup in New York. It was a venue frequented by TV execs looking for new comedy talent.
Significantly, he managed to get some work at another New York-based franchise, “Catch A Rising Star.” This was a famous New York venue that had seen the likes of Pat Benatar, Jerry Seinfeld, Bill Maher, and the great Robin Williams start to make their names.
It is almost certain that at one of those two clubs, he was seen and invited to appear in an episode of “All In The Family.” Later, he was invited to the top table for one of Dean Martin’s ‘Celebrity Roasts’ for Muhammed Ali in 1974. He was introduced as “Bill Crystal.” Crystal imitated Ali, and there started a lifelong friendship.
That friendship continued for the next 40 years…
As a result, Ali’s family invited Crystal to deliver a eulogy at Ali’s funeral. An emotional tribute that made mention of Ali going to be with Crystal at his inauguration at a Hebrew University in Jerusalem.
Billy says, “We had the most famous Muslim in the world honoring a Jewish boy in Jerusalem.” Hardly a dry eye in the place as Ali’s family looked on and remembered. To be that close to Ali, you had to be a special person. Billy Crystal is certainly that.
As A TV Actor
As I mentioned, Billy Crystal’s acting debut was in 1976 on the TV series “All In The Family.” But, as a TV actor, he was best known for “Soap,” where he played Jodie Dallas from 1977 to 1981. After becoming highly thought of as a comedic actor, he hosted one of the most popular shows on TV, “Saturday Night Live,” from 1984-85.
For many people, though, especially outside of America, he is best known for his films. And there have been some spectacularly memorable Billy Crystal films. The silver screen is what contributed the most to the Billy Crystal net worth numbers.
Crystal is one of those actors who can take an ordinary script and make it better through his portrayal of the role. Additionally, he can take an amusing script and reduce you to helpless laughter. And he has occasionally popped up in some unexpected places.
Billy Crystal’s first movie role was in the 1978 Joan Rivers film Rabbit Test. This was a story about the “first pregnant man.” It wasn’t long after that that Rob Reiner gave Billy a small part in the rockumentary, This is Spinal Tap in 1984. Some unexpected places, indeed.
His Star Was On The Rise
After his scene as a waiter in Spinal Tap, his enormous talent was recognized. During the rest of the 80s and on to the present day, Billy Crystal’s career followed a successful path. If you wanted a talented comedic actor, he was one of the first names the film people thought of.
Of course, this was having a huge effect on the net worth of Bill Crystal. But, he is the sort of modest man that didn’t consider that side of it very much. That said, more work kept coming his way. Films like 1986’s Running Scared and working again with Reiner in the 1987 film The Princess Bride gave Billy Crystal even more exposure.
But 1989 was a year when many people came across the name Billy Crystal…
I am sure many knew his name, but it was When Harry Met Sally that brought him international recognition. Especially “that” scene with Meg Ryan in the restaurant. These days, it might be his most celebrated and appreciated film of all. He followed that up with a buddy comedy film, City Slickers.
As A Voice
Acting in films only accounts for part of the Billy Crystal net worth numbers. He set up his own company to handle certain aspects of his work called ‘Face Productions’. Crystal has been involved in various voice-over and narration projects. However, he is probably best known for the Dr. Seuss classic, “Horton Hatches The Egg” from 1992.
As A Director and Producer
Some actors try their hand at directing and producing, and not all of them are successful. Quite early on, Crystal created and produced the TV series, “The Comedians.” He directed many projects but is well-known for the TV film 61* about Mickey Mantle’s efforts to beat Babe Ruth’s home run record.
As A Recording Artist
Because of his successes in stand-up, the natural extension of this was to release an album of his best material. Released in 1985, it was called Mahvelous.
It is a bit of a send-up using a Crystal character Fernando Lamas, an over-the-top host of a talk show. There was an accompanying single which reached #58 on the American singles chart and #17 in Canada. In 2013, he released an autobiographical audiobook about his life called Still Fooling Them.
He wrote and performed in a one-man, two-act play called “700 Sundays”. It was written about his parents and his life growing up in Long Island. It toured America in 2006 and Australia in 2007.
In conjunction with the play, he produced two compilations on CD. One featured his uncle’s favorite recordings. These included songs from “Strange Fruit” by the great Billie Holiday.
He also produced a CD about his favorite Billie Holiday songs entitled “Billy Remembers Billie.” In 2013, he brought the show back, and it undertook a two-month run on Broadway.
More As A Writer
Billy doesn’t only write for film and TV. He has also written five books. Some of these have become extremely popular, including Absolutely Mahvelous in 1986 and Where the Hell Are My Keys? in 2013.
As A Presenter
Of course, with his finely tuned sense of humor, he can respond to most situations very quickly, usually with a funny response. This has made him an ideal option for the big awards show.
Billy Crystal’s appearances at the Academy Awards have always been professional and very entertaining as he mixes the seriousness of the occasion with a little humor. He has hosted them from 1990-93, 1997, and 1998 and in 2000, 2004, and 2012.
Crystal has done a lot of charitable work on Comic Relief with Robin Williams and Whoopi Goldberg for homeless people in America. He has also been involved with the Simon Wiesenthal Center Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles.
We don’t read too much about Billy Crystal’s private life. It seems the only people we hear about are those that insist on changing partners like shirts. As we talked about earlier, Billy met Janice in New York in the late 60s, and they married in 1970. They have been married ever since.
Crystal says his parents set the example of what a strong marriage should be, and he just carried it on. They have two girls who are both working in the entertainment industry. Billy and Janice are grandparents now and live in California.
Want To Learn About The Net Worth Of Other Celebrities?
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With all the various income streams that Billy Crystal has enjoyed, it isn’t hard to realize he has done well financially. The entertainment industry can be very fickle and reward people who don’t really deserve it, but that is not the case here. You will note I have not mentioned any of the awards he earned over the years. There are just too many to list in the space available.
After 40 years in the entertainment business, Billy Crystal’s net worth is around $45 million and still rising, of course. For someone recognized and appreciated as a very real talent in so many ways, that is a well-deserved figure. Despite his success, remember how people felt about him.
Muhammed Ali’s family wanted him to speak at the great man’s funeral. He did the same at his great friend Robin Williams’s funeral, a “Celebration of a Life,” when he shed tears as he opened the proceedings. Billy Crystal was far more than just a talented comedian and actor. His success is well-deserved. It couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy.
Until next time, may you find your success story.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What are Billy Crystal’s most iconic roles?
Billy Crystal has starred in a number of iconic movies throughout his career, but his most memorable roles include Harry Burns in “When Harry Met Sally,” Mitch Robbins in “City Slickers,” and Miracle Max in “The Princess Bride.”
2. How did Billy Crystal get into comedy?
Crystal was interested in comedy from a young age, and began performing at various comedy clubs in New York City in the late 1970s. He soon caught the attention of Lorne Michaels, the producer of Saturday Night Live, and was invited to join the show as a cast member in 1984.
3. Has Billy Crystal won any awards?
Yes, Billy Crystal has won numerous awards throughout his career, including a Primetime Emmy Award, a Tony Award, and the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor.
4. What is Billy Crystal’s most successful movie?
Billy Crystal’s highest-grossing movie is “Monsters, Inc.,” where he voiced the main character, Mike Wazowski.
5. Does Billy Crystal still perform stand-up comedy?
Yes, Billy Crystal still performs stand-up comedy, although his shows are less frequent than before.
6. How many movies has Billy Crystal directed?
Billy Crystal has directed a total of four movies: “Mr. Saturday Night,” “Forget Paris,” “My Giant,” and “Parental Guidance.”
7. What is Billy Crystal’s signature catchphrase?
Billy Crystal is known for his catchphrase “You look marvelous,” which he used frequently during his stand-up comedy shows in the 1980s.
8. Is Billy Crystal involved in any charity work?
Yes, Billy Crystal is involved in a number of charitable organizations, including the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation and the Barbara Davis Center for Childhood Diabetes.