Jerry Stiller was born on June 8, 1927, in Brooklyn, New York. After meeting Anne Meara in 1953, the two married and formed the famed comedy act Stiller and Meara. Decades later, he became well known to younger fans by playing short-fused dads on the sitcoms Seinfeld and The King of Queens. The father of actors Ben Stiller and Amy Stiller, he shares a star with Meara on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Stiller and Meara
Actor and comedian Jerry Stiller was born on June 8, 1927, in Brooklyn, New York. During his long career as an entertainer, Jerry Stiller has turned in many memorable performances. More recently, he gained popularity for his roles as Frank Constanza on the hit comedy Seinfeld and as Arthur Spooner on The King of Queens – two legendary television dads with gruff voices and short fuses. But before his successful career in series television, he was a well-known comedian who often worked with his wife, Anne Meara.
After meeting in 1953, Stiller and Meara married the following year and soon rose to prominence as a comedy duo. They performed in nightclubs and on television, logging more than 30 appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show. Much of their humor played off their differences; Meara was was a tall woman from an Irish-Catholic background, while Stiller was shorter and Jewish. Along the way, they had two children who would follow them into show business: Daughter Amy was born in 1961, while son Ben was born in 1965.
The two performed together for many years, but also pursued their own solo projects. They both appeared on The Paul Lynde Show in the early 1970s, and Stiller soon moved on to Joe and Sons, a comedy about a widower and his two sons. He and Anne briefly had a sketch comedy show in the late 1970s called Take Five with Stiller and Meara, and from 1979 to 1982 they hosted HBO Sneak Preview. Stiller went on to make appearances on such popular shows as The Love Boat and Murder She Wrote, and snagged a role on another short-lived comedy, Tattingers, in the late 1980s.
'Seinfeld' and 'King of Queens'
Jerry Stiller was introduced to a new generation of fans through the hit 1990s sitcom Seinfeld. The show featured stand-up comedian Jerry Seinfeld and followed the day-to-day misadventures of Jerry and his friends Elaine (Julia Louis-Dreyfus), George (Jason Alexander) and Kramer (Michael Richards). Stiller cracked up audiences in the role of Frank, George’s father, and created several of the show’s great comedic moments, including an explanation of his made-up holiday, “Festivus.”
Stiller didn't wait long to return to situation comedy after Seinfeld ended in 1998, moving on to The King of Queens that fall. He slid into the role of Arthur Spooner, a cantankerous widower who lives with his daughter, played by Leah Remini, and son-in-law, played by Kevin James. The show was a hit, lasting for nine seasons before signing off in 2007.
Big Screen Roles and Personal
In addition to his television work, Stiller has appeared in several films, including The Taking of Pelham One Two Three (1974), Hairspray (1988) and Zoolander (2001), which starred his son, Ben, and his daughter-in-law, Christine Taylor. Jerry also had a role in Ben's 2007 comedy The Heartbreak Kid, and teamed up with wife Anne to voice an elderly couple in the 2014 animated flick Planes: Fire & Rescue.
Known for their longtime personal and professional connection, Jerry Stiller and Anne Meara were honored with a joint star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2007. Sadly, their partnership came to an end in May 2015, when Anne died at age 85.
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