TCM to Honor Actor & Comedian Billy Crystal with Hand & Footprint Ceremony
Turner Classic Movies (TCM) has announced it will honor iconic comedian, actor and author Billy Crystal with a hand and footprint ceremony during the tenth annual TCM Classic Film Festival on Friday, April 12. Crystal, a Tony Award, and six time Emmy winner and Golden Globe nominee, has an impressive resume that reaches from TV star, to stand up comedian, to Oscar host, to movie star. It's certainly a remarkable career that includes the beloved romantic comedy, When Harry Met Sally… which will open the 2019 TCMFF.
“Billy Crystal has long been among the most versatile talents working in Hollywood. And I say 'talent' because Billy is so much more than an actor. Trying to define his career into a signature role or moment feels futile. Is it his lead performance in When Harry Met Sally, the ensemble he led in City Slickers, or his scene-stealing supporting part as Miracle Max in The Princess Bride? Then again, it might be his prodigious resume of voice acting work or his consistently impressive work hosting the Academy Awards, which he’s done nine times (only Bob Hope has done it more). From Soap to Monsters, Inc. Crystal has emerged as one of the great story tellers of his generation – on the big screen, the small screen, and in front of a live audience,” said Ben Mankiewicz, TCM primetime anchor and official host of the TCM Classic Film Festival. “For these and a fifty other reasons, we’re thrilled to be able to honor Billy for his contributions to this industry with a hand and footprint ceremony outside the TCL Chinese Theatre." For nine years the TCMFF has featured a hand and footprint ceremony, most of which I have attended and found to be thoroughly exciting. It's held in the famous courtyard of the (TCL) Chinese Theatre where the press and fans are on hand to witness the exciting moment. In 2011, Peter O'Toole was the honoree, followed by Kim Novak in 2012, Jane Fonda in 2013, Jerry Lewis in 2014, Christopher Plummer in 2015, Francis Ford Coppola in 2016, Carl and Rob Reiner in 2017 and most recently Cicely Tyson in 2018.
It's amazing to think that Crystal hasn't received this particular honor before now. I don't know who's in charge of such things, but it's a relief that TCM has found a way to set things right. After all, he is known around the world as the star of many feature films as well as his memorable time as a cast member on Saturday Night Live (remember is tagline, “You look mahvelous!”. And, of course as the a nine-time host of the Academy Awards where his opening numbers are so memorable that many have tried to imitate, but none have quite made the same impression. His impromptu quips are things of which legends are made. Most famously his observational comments regarding the push-ups executed by Oscar winning Best Supporting Actor, Jack Palance.
I particularly like Crystal's performance in Danny DeVito’s dark comedy Throw Momma from the Train. But it wasn't until a few years later that he became a true mega-star when he was cast opposite Meg Ryan in Rob Reiner’s, When Harry Met Sally…, which became a romantic touchstone for a generation of moviegoers including myself. The audience fell in love with both Crystal and Ryan as their awkward relationship developed over an hour and fifteen minutes. It was an exceptional performance that should have garnered him an Oscar nomination.
I plan to be at the Chinese Theatre the second morning of the classic film festival when TCM and the TCMFF set things right. I'm sure ir will be a fun and funny occasion. One I am likely to remeber for a long time.