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Billy Crystal came to fame on the sitcom Soap. After a year on Saturday Night Live, he began a successful film career.
Actor and comedian Robin Williams caught his first big break when he auditioned for the role of Mork on Happy Days. That one appearance would eventually land the actor with his own spin off show, "Mork & Mindy."
In 1955 actor and comedian Steve Martin moved to the suburbs outside Los Angeles where he was just moments away from Disneyland where he would work for many years growing up.
After a long career of dramatic roles Robert De Niro took on a more comedic role opposite Billy Crystal in the film "Analyze This."
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He had prepared a six-minute routine for the show, but Lorne Michaels, Saturday Night Live's producer, told him to cut it to two minutes. Unable to meet these demands or work out a compromise, Crystal did not appear on the show. "I remember Gilda [Radner] walking me out to the elevator asking 'What just happened?' And I said, 'I don't know,'" he later explained to the Washington Post. Most of the early Saturday Night Live cast,
Two years later, Crystal took the groundbreaking role of Jodie Dallas on the situation comedy Soap. He played one of the first openly gay characters on television, which caused quite a stir at the time. Some groups put pressure on Soap's sponsors to withdraw their support from the show because it dealt with homosexuality. Crystal struggled with the decision of whether to accept such a controversial part. "I had a stand-up career that was starting to bloom, and I had a lot of trepidation doing it ... I loved the time, and what we did on the show was important. But I think if I looked back—yeah, I should have waited for something that may have fit me better."
During a break from Soap, Crystal filmed his first movie. He starred in Rabbit Test (1978), a comedy about a man who becomes pregnant. The film was co-written and directed by stand-up legend Joan Rivers. Despite the impressive names tied to the project, the film proved to be a commercial and critical disappointment.
After Soap ended in 1981, Crystal landed his own comedy show. The Billy Crystal Comedy Hour was short-lived, however. Only a few episodes made it to air in early 1982. He did manage to attract some attention with his small role as a mime in the rock music mock-umentary This Is Spinal Tap (1984), directed by Rob Reiner. That same year, Crystal put aside old grudges and finally joined the cast of Saturday Night Live.
Only on the show for one season, Crystal created several memorable characters, such as swanky television host Fernando Lamas. This character's catchphrase, "You look mahvelous," became part of popular culture. Crystal also did some spot-on impressions, wowing audiences with his take on Howard Cosell and Sammy Davis, Jr. For his work on the show, he received his first Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding Individual Performance in a Variety or Music Program.
Not long after his stint on Saturday Night Live, Crystal's career began to take off. He launched the popular televised comedy fundraiser, Comedy Relief, with Whoopi Goldberg and Robin Williams in 1986. The show aired annually for 12 years. In perhaps the biggest role of his career, he starred opposite Meg Ryan in the romantic comedy When Harry Met Sally... (1989). The two played single friends whose relationship evolves into a romance. Directed by Rob Reiner and written by Nora Ephron, the film received warm reviews and became a huge box-office hit.
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Learn more about the cast of Saturday Night Live, including old-timers such as John Belushi, Billy Crystal, Jane Curtin, Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Chevy Chase, Eddie Murphy and David Spade, as well as newer stars of the series, including Tracy Morgan, Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Maya Rudolph, Andy Samberg, Jason Sudeikis, Seth Meyers, Kate McKinnon, Molly Shannon and Kristen Wiig.
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