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Billy Crystal stars as Buddy Young Jr. in Mr. Saturday Night on Broadway.
Billy Crystal was born William Edward Crystal on March 14, 1948. Throughout his career, he has been a stage and screen actor, comedian, director, producer, writer, and TV show host. His father was a jazz record label executive and music store owner, so Crystal was exposed to entertainment from an early age. He and his siblings would recreate comedy routines recorded by Bob Newhart and Sid Caesar, and musicians like Eddie Condon and Billie Holiday were frequent houseguests. Crystal briefly went a different route, attending Marshall University in West Virginia, on a baseball scholarship for one year, but he moved back to New York after never playing the sport. In New York, he studied acting at HB Studio, re-enrolled in higher education at Nassau Community College, and finally transferred to New York University, where he earned a BFA in film and television directing.
After performing various comedy acts around New York, Crystal made his screen debut on an episode of All in the Family in 1976. The next year, he landed his first major screen role as Jodie Dallas on Soap, which he played for the show's entire run through 1981. In its first season, Crystal performed on Saturday Night Live, and he was a cast member, host, and writer for the show in the mid-1980s and later in 2015 for the show's 40th anniversary special. He has also appeared on TV in multiple of his own stand-up comedy specials, as the host of nine Academy Awards ceremonies and three Grammy Awards ceremonies, as a guest on the first and last episodes of The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, and in episodes of Modern Family, Frasier, Friends, and many other shows.
Crystal is best known, however, for his extensive film work. He made his film debut in 1978 as Lionel Carpenter in Rabbit Test and has appeared in three dozen movies since. Some of his most notable roles include Harry Burns in When Harry Met Sally..., the voice of Mike Wazowski in Monsters, Inc. and Monsters University, Miracle Max in The Princess Bride, Mitch Robbins in City Slicker, and Dr. Ben Sobel in Analyze This, among many other credits.
He made his directorial debut with the 1992 film Mr. Saturday Night, which he also co-wrote, co-produced, and starred in as Buddy Young Jr. He is reprising in the movie's 2022 Broadway musical adaptation. Crystal has previously appeared on Broadway in two engagements of the one-man show 700 Days, based on his same-titled memoir, in 2004 and 2013. The original run won a Tony Award for Special Theatrical Event, and Crystal won a Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Solo Performance.