If you know your film history, you'll know the name Billy Crystal. As the star of everything from When Harry Met Sally to Analyze This, from City Slickers to The Princess Bride (not to mention a nine-time host of the Oscars), he's one of Hollywood's biggest names. He's also one very wealthy man. According to the latest estimates from Celebrity Net Worth, Crystal is worth the hefty sum of $60 million. Anyone who witnessed his stellar rise to fame in the 1980s probably won't be too surprised at the figure. For anyone who was either looking the other way (or maybe just not born yet), some kind of explanation might be in order. So, without further ado, here's how Billy Crystal achieved a net worth of $60 million.
The Early Years
Billy was born William Edwards Crystal on March 14th of 1948 in Manhattan. After graduating from Nassau Community College, he studied film and television directing at New York University. He obviously picked a good year to go - fellow classmates included Oliver Stone and Christopher Guest, while Martin Scorsese was one of his instructors.
From Stand Up to TV
After graduating from New York University, Crystal started his career doing standup around New York. His act managed to catch the attention of TV producers, and soon, he was regularly appearing on such seminal shows as "Saturday Night Live" and "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno." His transition from comedy to acting came with a starring role on the sitcom "Soap." A brief stint in his own variety TV show followed. The show was cancelled in short order, but Crystal maintained his TV presence as one of the most popular hosts of "Saturday Night Live."
Crystal's first film role came in Joan Rivers' 1978 film "Rabbit Test". For the next decade, he concentrated on TV, only returning to the big screen in 1986 when he landed a starring role in "Running Scared." Although the film achieved moderate success, it was "The Princess Bride", Crystal's follow up film of 1987, that established him as one to watch.
If "The Princess Bride" put Crystal on the map, "When Harry Met Sally" sent him into orbit. Released in 1989, the film blew up at the box office, earning Crystal a Golden Globe nomination for his performance and propelling him into the big time in a major way. His next film, "City Slickers" confirmed his status as one of Hollywood's biggest stars, winning excellent reviews, great box office figures, and another Golden Gobe nomination for Crystal.
By the 1990s, Crystal was a big enough star to be allowed a certain amount of artistic license. The result was a series of films that not only gave him the chance to show the serious side of his acting talents, but that also showcased his abilities as a director and writer. Just a small sample of his projects during this period included "Mr. Saturday Night, "Deconstructing Harry" and "Analyze This." His film success continued unbated through the 2000s, a period in which he also diversified into voice over work with roles in "Howl's Moving Castle" "Monsters Inc.," and "Monsters University."
You don't make $60 million without at least a few strings to your bow. And strings are something Crystal has in abundance. In parallel to his acting career, he's enjoyed chart success with albums such as 1985's Mahvelous! (an album of his stand up that was released at the peak of his SNL popularity and which managed to pick up a Grammy Award for Best Comedy Recording at the 1986 Grammy Awards), the single You Look Marvelous (a No. 58 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 in the US, and a No. 17 hit in Canada), and Still Foolin Em, the audio accompaniment to his 2013 autobiographical memoir that managed to scoop yet another Grammy nomination for Crystal, this time around for Best Spoken Word Album at the 2014 Grammy Awards.
The Host with the Most
With 19 ceremonies under his belt, Bob Hope may be the undisputed king of the Oscar, but Billy Crystal runs a very close second. His success as a host might have been a little hit and miss, but as Insider puts it, you have to give him props for coming back time after time after time. Over the years, Crystal has hosted the Oscars a total of nine times, from 1990 to 1993, and in 1997, 1998, 2000, 2004, and 2012. Thanks to his witty but never crude style, he's won both the audience and the critics over, winning two Primetime Emmys for his work at the ceremonies.
Writing up a Storm
Over the past few decades, Crystal has proved himself a prolific wordsmith. Of the five books he's published, 2005's "700 Sundays" (named after the number of Sundays he shared with his father, Jack, until he passed away when Billy was 15) was one of the most successful. After its combination of humor and pathos captured the public's imagination, Crystal decided to take the book to the stage: the subsequent stage show opened, appropriately enough, on a Sunday in December 2004 at the Broadhurst Theatre. It subsequently went on to win the 2005 Tony Award for Special Theatrical Event. Its 54-performance revival of 2014 was accompanied by a film adaptation that debuted on HBO on April 19, 2014.
While certain older Hollywood stars seem to change their wives almost as often as they change their underwear, Crystal is cut from a different cloth. He and his wife Janice have been married since the 1970s. The couple has lived in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Pacific Palisades almost as long as they've been married. As palisadeschamber.com notes, thanks to how frequently and poetically Crystal waxes lyrical about the neighborhood, both he and Janice have been honored with the titles of 'honorary mayors' of Palisades. Crystal bought his home back in the 1970s- given the desirability of Palisades even then, it's unlikely he got it for a song, but it's a fair bet to say it didn't cost the $8-10 million its estimated to be worth today.
Over the course of his 50-year career, Billy Crystal has done it all. Actor, comedian, singer, writer, producer, director, television host... if there's an art form he's yet to explore, we'd be surprised. When you consider his vast body of work, it's not, however, surprising how he managed to get to a net worth of $60 million.
Written by Allen Lee
Read more posts by Allen Lee