Thanks Mina Kim of KQED Radio for one of the best interviews of Billy Crystal I've ever heard. And thanks for including the question that I submitted via Twitter in your interview. This live interview aired Friday, January 8th. The comedian, actor, producer, director was live on the phone for the KQED Forum show in the morning. He finally answered a question I first tried to ask him way back in the 1980s during my first professional job in television. I was a California kid who recently graduated from Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. I worked on WISN TV, the city's ABC affiliate. Crystal tickled viewers with his performance as Jodie, the openly gay character on the prime time ABC sitcom, SOAP. The show aired from the late 1970s to the early 1980s.
KQED tweeted on Jan. 8th that Billy Crystal would be coming on for a live interview and asked if anyone had question. My Twitter question as about his gay character on Soap. What was the response to his work and did he fear the industry would think he was gay which, at that time, would've meant fewer work opportunities?
Billy Crystal was so warm and witty and forthcoming in that KQED interview. There was depth and compassion and generosity in his answers. It was a side of him that I've long-felt existed but I never, ever heard. That's probably because he's older now (like I am) and he's lost a dear, close friend. Robin Williams. The show host read my question. I had a hunch about the answer way back when...and I was right. He said that, in taking the role of the gay character, he was "sort of worried about it at the beginning"...."worried about typecasting." He added that "it was a different America." It certainly was. Think about it. Long before shows like Will & Grace and Modern Family, Billy Crystal played a man who was "...warm and funny and happened to be gay," as Crystal said. That interview made me become a Billy Crystal fan all over again.
To hear the entire interview, go to the KQED website. Look for *Radio* on the upper left hand side. Click onto that and in the Programs section, find Forum. The Billy Crystal interview is in the KQED Forum section. I think you'll enjoy it. And I'm so glad I finally got my answer. It took years, but I got it. Here's the link for the website: KQED.org.