Crystal's perks of stardom: money, prestige, Oscars hosting
February 9, 1998
Web posted at: 1:03 p.m. EST (1803 GMT)
From Correspondent Sherri Sylvester
HOLLYWOOD (CNN) -- Billy Crystal readily admits that fame has
brought him great rewards. Fresh from the thrill of working
with Woody Allen on "Deconstructing Harry," he is now
preparing to rally his friends for "Comic Relief 8" and will
soon host the Academy Awards for the sixth time.
"I've had a chance to do a lot of things in my career that
have been great fun," Crystal said. "I had a catch with
Mickey Mantle in Cooperstown, you know, I sat next to Orson
Wells on the 'Tonight Show.' Playing catch with Mickey is
the same thing as trading lines with Woody. It's the best
Crystal, who hosted four consecutive Oscars awards beginning
in 1990, returned after a three-year break to host the 69th
Academy Awards presentation last March. He'll be back once
again on March 23, when the Oscar winners are revealed. The
nominations will be announced Tuesday.
Even as an awards host, his talents have been recognized:
He's won three Emmys for his writing and hosting of the Oscar
show, and has received five other Emmy nominations for his
"It's amazing that it's 70 years (for the Oscars)," Crystal
said. "I've done it five times, that feels like 70 years.
It's hard work."
Crystal worked with old friend Woody Allen (left) in "Deconstructing Harry"
His return to the Oscars last year was applauded both by the
Oscars' 1 billion TV viewers and by Crystal's immediate
audience. "The reception I got, that's something I'll never
forget. When I walked out and the audience greeted me the way
they did, for them to stand up, and say hey, thank God you're
back, that meant as much to me as anything."
Crystal stands a shot at being nominated himself this year,
for his performance in "Deconstructing Harry," directed by
long-time acquaintance Woody Allen.
The comedian can remember Allen's stand-up on "The Dean
Martin Show," recalls a live performance at The Bitter End in
New York, and says he's even teamed up with the celebrity
Williams, Goldberg, and Crystal on the "Comic Relief" stage
"We actually played basketball together in the '70s, and I
was guarding him," Crystal said -- adding that Allen was a
good player, so Crystal wasn't sure how closely to guard him.
"He said, don't guard me too close, I tend to get nauseous,"
Crystal said. "I said, Woody, why don't we challenge the
bigger guys, and we played against two of his friends who
were taller than us, and we beat them. He still talks about
Crystal will reunite with old friends Robin Williams and
Whoopi Goldberg in June for the next "Comic Relief." The
benefit, in which the trio calls on their famous comedian
friends to perform for charity, has raised $40 million for
the homeless since the relief shows began in 1986.