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Beloved comedian Jerry Stiller passed away this weekend from natural causes. He was 92 years old and had an incredible show business run that lasted more than sixty years and earned widespread praise from fans, critics and co-stars. During his career, Stiller toured the stand-up comedy circuit and made late night show appearances alongside his wife Anne Meara. He also took roles on Broadway, starred in a ton of hit movies and later played Frank Costanza on Seinfeld, who may be one of the greatest TV side characters of all-time.
The sad news was first reported by Jerry’s son Ben Stiller, a pretty damn good comedian in his own right. You can check out his touching Twitter post below…
Jerry Stiller got one of his early breaks with the Compass Players in the early 1950s, an improv group that would later evolve into Second City. He also started picking up theater roles and met his future wife Anne Meara. The two quickly started working together and were noticed by The Ed Sullivan Show. The duo went on to make 36 appearances on the late night show. They also toured the country as a stand-up comedy team and started getting noticed by Hollywood. They married in 1954 and continued working jobs as a team for awhile before deciding to pursue acting roles on their own. Both worked consistently and to much fanfare the rest of their careers. She was nominated for 4 Emmys and a Tony Award, and he did pretty damn well for himself too.
Pretty damn well for himself honestly might be an understatement. Stiller passed with more than 100 movie and TV show credits to his name including some truly memorable work. Many fans lovingly remember his performance in the original Hairspray, in Zoolander, Heavyweights and of course, The King Of Queens and most prominently, Seinfeld. He was nominated for an Emmy for his work on Seinfeld and made a huge impression as Frank Costanza, the ridiculous and often angry father of Jason Alexander's George. He appeared in 26 episodes of the series and was always a highlight. That work on Seinfeld, which was the most popular show on television during its later seasons and had a historically great cast, led to his casting as Arthur Spooner on The King Of Queens. He appeared in more than 200 episodes between 1998 and 2007.
Stiller was also tremendously successful in his personal life. He and Anne Meara were married for 62 years, a huge accomplishment for any couple but all the more impressive when you factor in Hollywood schedules and the pressures of fame. Together, the pair had two children, a daughter Amy and a son Ben. Ben Stiller, of course, went on to lead his own successful career in Hollywood through such classic movies as Meet The Parents, Tropic Thunder, There's Something About Mary and more. He was reportedly very close to his parents, often casting them in his movies. Anne passed away back in 2015.
Our sincerest thoughts go out to the entire Stiller family, as well as all of the friends and admirers who were touched by his work or commanding presence. He could steal a scene like few others, and people will be watching and fondly remembering his work for decades to come.