Billy Crystal was born in Long Beach, Long Island, New York, to Helen and Jack Crystal. His father was in the record business and produced jazz concerts. As a little boy, Billy would hang out backstage with many jazz greats. He has an older brother, Jack, an art teacher, and a younger brother, Richard, a singer.
His interest in acting surfaced when he attended elementary school at East School in Long Beach. He went to Long Beach High School where his theatrical inclinations competed with sports. A sports enthusiast, Billy was captain of the baseball team and played varsity football and soccer.
Crystal attended Marshall University in West Virginia on a baseball scholarship for one year. He then returned to Long Island and attended Nassau Community College where he spent three summers with the Alumni Theater Group sharpening his acting skills in productions like "LUV," "Rosencrantz and Guilderstern are Dead," "Sweet Charity" and "The Apple Tree," which he also directed.
He then enrolled at New York University as a television film directing major. While learning the other side of the camera, he supported himself by being house manager for "You're a Good Man Charlie Brown." One of Billy's proudest achievements is that he formed the first professional college company in New York State.
After graduating with honors from N.Y.U., Crystal went back to performing. He teamed up with two friends, billed as "3's Company." For more than four years they worked in many coffee houses, and performed at more than 75 colleges. Crystal then decided to make the break and become a stand-up comedian -- on his own.
Since then, Crystal has been making people laugh on "The Tonight Show," "Dinah," "The Mike Douglas Show," "That Was the Year That Was," and "All in the Family." Billy also appeared in the television movie "Death Flight." He starred in the film, "Rabbit Test," directed by comedienne Joan Rivers.
Billy and his wife, Janice, are the parents of daughter, Jennifer. They live in a Los Angeles apartment decorated with antiques mixed with modern furniture.
When not before the cameras, the brown-haired, hazel-eyed actor enjoys filming home movies and playing tennis.