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Mark Twain Caricature The Tenth Annual Kennedy Center Mark Twain Prize celebrating Billy Crystal
Mark Twain Caricature
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Recipient Billy Crystal
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Billy Crystal, photo by Scott Suchman
Broadcast Information

The Tenth Annual Kennedy Center Mark Twain Prize will air on PBS stations nationwide on Monday, November 12 at 9pm.
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The 2007 Mark Twain Prize

Taped at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts on October 11, the 90-minute special features tributes and comic testimonials from a star-studded cast of Crystal’s friends and colleagues including Bob Costas, Robert DeNiro, Danny DeVito, Jimmy Fallon, Whoopi Goldberg, John Goodman, Jon Lovitz, Rob Reiner, Martin Short, Barbara Walters and Robin Williams. The program also includes an assortment of classic film clips from Crystal’s career.

"To be given the same award as Richard Pryor, Steve Martin, and Neil Simon is a great honor," said Crystal. "As my grandfather said, if you hang around the store long enough, once in a while they’ll give you something!"

After touring with such stars as Billy Joel, Barry Manilow, Neil Sedaka and Sha Na Na, Billy Crystal became a regular on the popular series Soap playing the first openly gay character on a network television series. During the 1984-85 television seasons, Crystal was met with phenomenal national success on Saturday Night Live. He created, wrote and produced the critically acclaimed HBO series Sessions and became the first comedian to perform in the then-Soviet Union with his special Midnight Train to Moscow, one of four one-man specials he has done for HBO. He has hosted the Grammy Awards three times and, of course, the Oscars eight times. Crystal is the recipient of six Emmy Awards, six American Comedy Awards and seven Cable Ace Awards.

The Kennedy Center Mark Twain Prize for American Humor was created in 1998 by The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Mark Krantz, Peter Kaminsky and Bob Kaminsky and John Schreiber to recognize the art of humorists who have had an impact on American society in ways similar to the distinguished 19th century novelist and essayist best known as Mark Twain*. As a social commentator, satirist and creator of characters, Samuel Clemens was a fearless observer of society, who startled many while delighting and informing many more with his uncompromising perspective of social injustice and personal folly. He revealed the great truth of humor when he said "against the assault of laughter nothing can stand." Crystal will be presented a copy of an 1884 bronze portrait bust of Mark Twain, sculpted by Karl Gerhardt (1853-1940). The bust and its images are courtesy of the Mark Twain House, Hartford, Connecticut.

Credits

Executive producers are Bob Kaminsky, Peter Kaminsky, Mark Krantz, Michael Kaiser, and Cappy McGarr.
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> about the producers