Billy Crystal paid tribute to his loved ones while picking up the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Critics’ Choice Awards.
“I want to thank you for this wonderful award,” began the “City Slickers” star. “To all the critics, this may be the first time we actually agree on something.”
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Crystal, who celebrates his birthday on Monday, March 14, is due to hit Broadway in an upcoming production of “Mr. Saturday Night”.
“I can’t remember when I worked harder or had more fun on a project, and I’m serious. I’ll be 74 tomorrow, and I just can’t remember,” he joked.
The comedian then talked about his family’s impact on his prestigious career.
“Funny people, entertainers, we start by making our parents laugh first, our family, our friends. So before I knew it, I’m standing on a coffee table imitating my relatives, who were these joyful souls, many of them from… Russia, my grandmothers were from Odessa and Kyiv. They escaped the pogroms to come to America, where they could live free from tyranny. And their laughter, the first laughs I ever got in my life, is the fuel that my engine is still burning today.”
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Honouring his European relatives, he added, “I dedicate this award to those amazing people in our living room in Long Ridge, Long Island, whose laughter and joy started this five-year-old boy on his way to this moment. I pray that somehow, some way, there can be laughter and joy in that part of the world once again.”
Crystal concluded, “My lifetime achievement award is my family.”