Comedian, Jerry Stiller, dies at 92
Jerry Stiller, an actor and comedian known for playing quirky and often cantankerous characters has passed away at the age of 92.
The Brooklyn-born entertainer was also the father of two children who went on to follow his footsteps in show business, Ben and Amy Stiller.
According to the Hollywood Reporter, Stiller's son tweeted about his father's death early Monday morning.
"I’m sad to say that my father, Jerry Stiller, passed away from natural causes," the 54-year-old actor/director tweeted. "He was a great dad and grandfather, and the most dedicated husband to Anne for about 62 years. He will be greatly missed. Love you Dad."
I’m sad to say that my father, Jerry Stiller, passed away from natural causes. He was a great dad and grandfather, and the most dedicated husband to Anne for about 62 years. He will be greatly missed. Love you Dad. pic.twitter.com/KyoNsJIBz5— Ben Stiller (@RedHourBen) May 11, 2020
Stiller, the shorter half of the famed husband-and-wife comedy team Stiller & Meara, is most known for playing the father of George Costanza on and Seinfeld later, the basement-dwelling Arthur Spooner, on The King of Queens.
Anne Meara, his wife of 61 years and frequent comedy partner, died in May of 2015.
While Stiller was 5-foot-4 and Jewish, Meara was lanky, two inches taller and an Irish-American who was raised Catholic.
Although Meara had in fact converted to Judaism when the couple got married, Stiller and Meara’s material centered on the differences in their ethnic backgrounds, epitomized by their signature “Hershey Horowitz/Mary Elizabeth Doyle” routines.
“That was Jerry’s idea, to use and plumb the depths of our backgrounds, exaggerate them and have the two differences of the Jewish and the gentile,” Meara said during a 2005 Archive of American Television sit-down with her husband.
The two met in a theatrical agent’s office in 1953 after both failed to land an acting job.
But after that, their luck increased.
The couple made 36 appearances on the Sullivan show alone. By the end of the decade, they were the No. 1 couple of comedy, inheriting the title vacated by Elaine May and Mike Nichols and following in the footsteps of another famous husband-and-wife team, George Burns & Gracie Allen.
Though Stiller is widely known as a comedian, he was also a dramatic actor with quite a serious few Broadway roles under his belt.
In his later years, he brought his dramatic acting chops to the film and television audiences when he appeared in a supporting role as Police Lt. Rico Patrone in classics 1970s thriller The Taking of Pelham One Two Three. He also performed in Homicide: Life on the Street, in two episodes of Law & Order, and as a guest star on The Good Wife in 2011 as Judge Felix Afterman.
Stiller and Meara shared a star on the Hollywood Walk in Fame, awarded in 2007.
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