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Billy Crystal: 'What I Know Now'

His latest comedy, 'Parental Guidance,' grew from personal experience as a loving grandad

Comedian Billy Crystal

Billy Crystal shares what he knows now that he's almost 65. — Phil Caruso

When Opportunity Knocks, Answer the Door
I'm the dope who turned down Toy Story. Jeffrey Katzenberg brought me over to his house when they were making Aladdin and said, "You have to meet this young man." It turned out to be John Lasseter … I thought John was a genius, but I got bad advice from agents and managers, then didn't follow my own instincts. It turned out not happening [for me], and now it's one of the great movies of all time. The next time John called, I picked up the phone and went, "Whatever it is, John, yes!" It turned out to be Monsters, Inc.

Revisit What You Missed
I'm not caught up on what I'd like to read because I'm busy writing my memoir on turning 65 [on March 14, 2013]. But this summer I reread stuff from high school: Treasure Island is phenomenal! On the Road makes no more sense the second time around, but the style of it is so cool.

Phones Home, Please
I go to see every movie I can because it lets me catch up on my tweeting. God, I hate that! It's getting harder and harder to go to a theater without telling somebody, "Could you just turn that off?" I got furious one night on Broadway because I was doing my show [700 Sundays] and this woman in the third row was very clearly on the phone. So I started to play the show right toward her. I could read her lips: She was saying, "I have to go — he's looking at me!"

Facial Hair Holds Family Secrets
I just shaved my beard because we were doing some promotional shoots for Parental Guidance. I might grow it back while I write the book; the only thing is, now it's coming in so white! And then for some reason there's this little island of red. Nobody in my family had red hair — maybe it's an Eastern European curse or something?

Open Your Eyes
I once asked George Burns, "George, will you ever retire?" And he said, "To what?" So that's the attitude I want. At this age, man, I'm so happy to be working and see my kids thriving. When I look at all the goodness I'm around, I smile and go, "OK! I get it now!"

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