BOOK REVIEW: Still Foolin 'Em
By Billy Crystal (Macmillan, RRP $40)
Billy Crystal is one of those actors that everyone knows of. His career is wide-ranging and various, and it feels like he's done a little bit of everything.
Still Foolin 'Em is part autobiography, part reflecting on ageing, and it's all pulled together by Crystal's self- deprecating humour and observations about life, ageing and the world around him.
He talks fondly of his childhood, and of the pain of losing his father at 15, something that has informed most of his decisions over the course of his life.
Crystal started out - like many comedians - touring around and playing in clubs of various quality. After he married and started having a family, he decided to look for something more stable.
Enter TV, and the beginning of a long and varied career.
Crystal talks about his time on shows like Saturday Night Live, his groundbreaking work on the sitcom Soap playing an openly gay character, and his long and colourful film career.
He talks fondly about the films that made him a household name - titles like When Harry Met Sally and City Slickers familiar to pretty much any movie fan - and they bring a smile to the face of the reader as Crystal draws you into his own experiences.
Of course, Crystal reflects on his years of hosting the Oscars, and how nervous being up on stage in front of so many of his peers made him, but modestly plays down the fact that those Oscar broadcasts remain some of the most memorable.
Still Foolin 'Em is a bit like sitting down for a chat with an old friend and reminiscing. It's cosy, witty and just a little bit wise.