Billy Crystal Reveals What’s Most ‘Overlooked’ About American Icon Yogi Berra Ahead Of New Doc (Exclusive)

Billy Crystal reflects on his long friendship with Yankees legend Yogi Berra and what's 'overshadowed' Yogi being recognized as 'one of the great players of all time.'

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Image Credit: David Benthal/BFA

Billy Crystal is one of the notable names who took part in the new documentary film, It Ain’t Over, honoring the life and legacy of the late Yogi Berra. The film is an enlightening exploration of Yogi’s incredible career. HollywoodLife spoke EXCLUSIVELY with Billy about being a part of a film that showcases all of his friend’s greatness.

Billy Crystal
Billy Crystal at The Cinema Society screening of Sony Pictures Classics film ‘It Ain’t Over’ at the Hard Rock Hotel New York & NYY Steak. (David Benthal/BFA)

“I was thrilled to be a part of it,” Billy told HollywoodLife at the screening of It Ain’t Over at the Hard Rock Hotel New York & NYY Steak, hosted by Sony Pictures Classics and The Cinema Society. “We had become very good friends over the last 30 years. I met him when I was doing Saturday Night Live here in New York and struck up a friendship. Over the years Joe Torre would invite me out to dinner with him, Yogi, and Carmen, his amazing wife. It was always thrilling to get to know somebody who you only saw on your black-and-white TV. It was crazy.”

He continued, “Sometimes it’s not great to meet your heroes, and he was genuine and sweet and charming. That’s rare but it also is so important that the film touches on all the aspects of him, that he is such an amazing baseball player. It’s overlooked in the course of his amazing career how he’s one of the great players of all time and that his personality and what he did after baseball almost overshadowed that, the funny Yogi, the charming Yogi, Aflac. He was so much more than that, and the film shows you that. He was at D-Day when he was 19 years old. He was married to this amazing, charming, beautiful woman Carmen for 60-something years, and whenever we’d go out with them, they would hold hands. He was just a really special guy.”

Billy recalled just how “genuine” Yogi was to everyone. “He was a real, warm family guy. He loved his kids. They loved him. That’s what the movie is so embued with. it’s not just Lindsay [Berra] involved, it’s all of the kids. You don’t hear anyone say anything bad about this man,” he said.

Yogi played professional baseball for the New York Yankees and won 10 World Series championships, more than any other player. Following his professional career, he became a beloved manager and coach.

Lindsay and her father, Larry Berra, also spoke with HollywoodLife about the film that’s honoring a man so near and dear to their hearts. They revealed why writer and director Sean Mullin was the perfect person to help chronicle Yogi’s legacy on film.

Lindsay Berra
Lindsay Berra with her father, Larry Berra, at the Sony Pictures Classics & The Cinema Society screening of ‘It Ain’t Over’ at the Hard Rock Hotel New York & NYY Steak. (David Benthal/BFA)

“Sean is a veteran and was an athlete at West Point. He kind of had two things right away in common with Grandpa being in the military and being an athlete. He is just a lovely, cuddly teddy bear of a human being,” Lindsay said.

Larry added, “His big thing for me was that most of the people you meet they want to do something they want to tell you what they want to do. He listened to us. He listed to our ideas and incorporated them. He was very accepting of a lot of the stuff we liked and what he wanted to present he liked.” It Ain’t Over is now in theaters.