Happy birthday, 'Weird Al' Yankovic! Celebrate with 5 of his sweetest moments

by Chris Serico /  / Updated  / Source: TODAY

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Happy 56th birthday, "Weird Al" Yankovic!

'Weird Al' Yankovic
'Weird Al' YankovicGetty Images, The 501st Legion

Although most people know and love the longtime parodist for his hilarious takes on pop music's biggest hits, many might not be aware of the wacky singer-songwriter's softer side.

RELATED: 'Weird Al' Yankovic's 8 greatest parodies, from earliest rhymes to 'Word Crimes'

In honor of the four-time Grammy winner's birthday Friday, TODAY.com looks back on five of his most heartwarming public moments from the past two years. We might just have to call him "Sweet Al" Yankovic from now on.

1. Singing "Yoda" with 13-year-old Jodi DiPiazza at "A Night of Too Many Stars"

Stephen Lovekin / Getty Images

Three years after Jodi teamed up with Katy Perry for a moving version of Perry's "Firework," the inspirational girl returned in March to join other children with autism and Yankovic for an awesome take on his parody, "Yoda." Never one who's afraid to commit to a performance, Yankovic sported "Star Wars"-inspired regalia for the song set to the tune of the Kinks' "Lola," while lifting spirits and raising money for autism programs.

2. Sticking up for a girl who'd been bullied for being a "Star Wars" fan

The Star Wars community is rallying around a girl who was being bullied at school for liking Star Wars.
The Star Wars community is rallying around a girl who was being bullied at school for liking Star Wars.Nicolette Molina

Speaking of "Star Wars," Yankovic rallied behind 8-year-old Layla Murphy after she'd been bullied at school for being a fan of the sci-fi franchise. Wearing her "Star Wars" Stormtrooper costume to one of Yankovic's concerts, Layla was invited backstage after the show to pose for photos, get an autograph and hang out with the headliner. "She loved it,'' her mother, Nicolette, told TODAY.com. "She thought he was just the silliest guy ever."

3. Beaming with pride over his daughter, Nina.

Married to wife Suzanne since 2001, Yankovic appears to be happily wed — especially when he discusses their 12-year-old daughter, Nina. As a guest on the Biography talk show "William Shatner's Raw Nerve" in 2009, the proud papa showed off some artwork Nina had created when she was just 8 months old. He seemed just as proud last year, when he chatted with Rolling Stone. "She's such an ideal kid," Yankovic told the magazine. "She likes playing outside, animals and nature. I was always watching TV at her age. Where did we go right?"

4. Showing support for kids at a fundraiser for children with cancer

In 2014, Yankovic was one of many stars to help kids with cancer at Children's Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, Missouri. The comedian may have struck out while attempting to swing three bats at the star-studded Big Slick Charity Classic softball game, but the personal time he spent with sick children was a total home run.

5. Choking up while reflecting on his first No. 1 album

Although he'd already won Grammys, acted in movies, and earned the respect of generations of comedians and other fans, Yankovic in 2014 finally accomplished one thing that had eluded him for three decades: a No. 1 album. When fellow comedian Tom Green presented Yankovic with a framed Billboard chart with the singer's name atop it, Yankovic choked up. "Wow," he told Green, while admiring the gift. "Thank you! I'm having a moment. This is really amazing. … It doesn't feel real. This is something that I never thought was possible. I never thought, in my wildest dreams, I would be looking at something like that."

Follow TODAY.com writer Chris Serico on Twitter.

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