While many may have thought of Jerry Stiller as Ben Stiller’s father or Anne Meara’s husband, this comedy star was a legend in his own right, leaving behind an incredibly prolific body of work that will keep generations laughing for years to come. The actor has died at the age of 92.
Jerry Stiller — A Life Well Lived
Gerald Isaac Stiller was born on June 8, 1927, in New York City to Bella and William Stiller. He received his Bachelor of Science in Speech and Drama from Syracuse University and made his debut on stage in The Silver Whistle alongside Burgess Meredith. It was as a member of the improvisational team The Compass Players (which later became known as the Second City troupe), he met his beloved wife, Anne.
The two married in 1954 and formed a comedy duo, taking their show on the road for a decade before deciding to see if they could each find their own success — which of course they did. He appeared in comedies and musicals on Broadway but for TV audiences, it was his role as George’s curmudgeonly father Frank on Seinfeld that cemented a place in fans’ hearts.
But that was hardly his only role. In fact, he found new audiences with his brilliant take on Arthur Spooner in The King of Queens. He also made plenty of appearances in movies during his career, including son Ben Stiller’s Zoolander films. His son wrote a loving tribute, alerting the world to the news of his father’s passing, on Twitter.
“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.”
Actors from across all genres reached out to Stiller to share their condolences, with General Hospital’s Parry Shen sharing a very poignant story about the late actor’s generosity.
“I had the honor of working with your Dad on “TKOQ”. After the table read, I was canned & your father talked to the producers & got me my job back. When I thanked him, he said, ‘Hey, it’s not Shakespeare!’ A class act & a legend. What a gift to the world. Deepest condolences.”
Entertainment Hub sends condolences to both Ben Stiller, his sister Amy, and their entire family during this difficult time.
I had the honor of working with your Dad on “TKOQ”. After the table read, I was canned & your father talked to the producers & got me my job back. When I thanked him, he said, “Hey, it’s not Shakespeare!” A class act & a legend. What a gift to the world. Deepest condolences. pic.twitter.com/Uynoyoj20M
— Parry Shen (@parryshen) May 11, 2020