Actor-comedian and Long Beach native Billy Crystal returned Saturday to his childhood city to donate $1 million raised by his Hollywood actor friends with the help of boxing champion Muhammad Ali.
With scores of residents looking on, the Analyze This star handed to city officials two checks: $12,000 from his family and $888,000 raised by Steve Martin, Robert De Niro, Robin Williams and Jimmy Walker at Ali’s annual Parkinson’s Disease research charity boxing event, Fight Night.
“This is the first time they have diverted funds from Parkinson’s research,” Crystal said of Ali. “To help out Long Beach.”
The funds are meant to help the continuing Sandy recovery in the City by the Sea, where the boardwalk is being rebuilt, neighborhoods and businesses are still rebuilding and the Long Beach Medical Center has yet to reopen eight months after the Oct. 29 superstorm.
“Janice and I though $888,000 is a great amount of money, but a million sounds a lot better,” he said, referring to his wife.
Basketball star and two-time Olympic champion Nancy Lieberman also donated two basketball courts to the city.
Crystal, who toured the city and filmed a commercial for Long Beach while he was there, said where the donated money will be allocated has yet to be decided.
“Don’t spend it all in one place!” he joked after asked city officials for two forms of ID while handing over the checks.
“There’ll be more help on the way,” he added. “There’ll be more to come.”