Legendary actor and comedian Jerry Stiller died at 92 of “natural causes,” his son, Ben Stiller, confirmed during the early hours of May 11. “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,” the Zoolander star wrote on Twitter.
Jerry, who was known for his loud and boisterous demeanor, is perhaps best known for his role as Frank Costanza on Seinfeld. The performer also had a long-standing part as Arthur Spooner on The King of Queens and acted in various films, including Heartbreak Kid, Heavyweights and Hot Pursuit.
He first rose to fame throughout the 1960s and 1970s with his late wife, Anne Meara, as the comedy team Stiller and Meara. Anne died in 2015 at 85-years-old after suffering a stroke. They were married for over 60 years.
Jerry and Anne’s showbiz genes were definitely passed to their kids. Ben, 54, became an A-list actor and director while his older sister, Amy, is also an actress and writer. The 58-year-old has worked on big projects like Inside Amy Schumer and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.
As far as their parents’ roles in getting them into entertainment, Ben explained they were given a very realistic view of things from Anne. “She didn’t push us or scare us off. My mother knew what was out there, how tough show business could be. My parents were protective and supportive of our doing whatever we wanted to do,” the Tropic Thunder director told Parade in 2016.
Of course, the impact couldn’t be ignored. “Growing up, I was immersed in it. My sister and I would be with my parents when they’d do a play on Broadway — or they’d do summer stock somewhere — and we’d tour with them,” added Ben. “They were so passionate about it. It seemed like fun. When I was nine, I started making Super 8 movies. I loved doing that.”
However, Ben drew the line when it came to being a stand-up comedian like Jerry. “To me, stand-up comedy, standing in front of people and trying to make them laugh, is probably the hardest thing you can do in show business. I don’t think it was ever a driving force for me. I love making movies,” the Meet the Parents star confessed at the time.
Jerry is a legend who will not be forgotten. RIP.
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