Jerry Stiller - Biography - IMDb
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Jerry Stiller Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (4)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Spouse (1)  | Trade Mark (4)  | Trivia (14)  | Personal Quotes (19)

Overview (4)

Born in Brooklyn, New York, USA
Died in Manhattan, New York City, New York, USA  (natural causes)
Birth NameGerald Isaac Stiller
Height 5' 5" (1.65 m)

Mini Bio (1)

As the short, straight man counterpart of the stellar husband-and-wife comedy team "Stiller & Meara," Jerry Stiller and wife Anne Meara were on top of the comedy game in the 1960s, a steady and hilarious presence on television variety, notably The Ed Sullivan Show (1948), on which they appeared 36 times. Decades later, Jerry's career was revitalized in the role of the raucous, gasket-blowing Frank Costanza on the sitcom classic Seinfeld (1989).

Jerry Stiller was born Gerald Isaac Stiller in the Unity Hospital in Brooklyn, New York, to Bella (Citron) and William Stiller, a bus driver. His paternal grandparents were Jewish emigrants from Galicia, and his mother was a Polish Jewish emigrant, from Frampol. Stiller was, in the beginning, a drama major at the Syracuse University. Though he had played rather uneducated, blue-collar sorts for most of his career, he received a Bachelor of Science in Speech and Drama before making his 1951 acting debut on stage with Burgess Meredith in "The Silver Whistle". While a member of the improvisational team The Compass Players (the company later evolved into the well-known Second City troupe), he met Anne.

They married in 1954 and began touring together on the national club circuit while giving new and inventive meaning to the term spousal comedy. This led to TV prominence on "The Ed Sullivan Show," "The Tonight Show," "The Steve Allen Comedy Hour," "The Merv Griffin Show," as well as game shows "He Said, She Said," "you're PUtting Me On" and "What's My LIne?" as well as other talk/comedy venues.

After well over a decade of fame together, they decided to pursue individual successes and both found it. A Broadway favorite in such shows as "Hurlyburly", "The Ritz" (he later recreated his hilarious mobster family member role in the film The Ritz (1976)), "The Golden Apple", "Three Men on a Horse", "What's Wrong with This Picture" and "The Three Sisters", Stiller even appeared with Kevin Kline and Blythe Danner as Dogberry in William Shakespeare's "Much Ado About Nothing" in 1988. Musicals were not out of his range, either, as he created the role of Launce in "Two Gentlemen of Verona" and co-starred as Nathan Detroit in a production of "Guys and Dolls." Although he kept afloat on television as a 1970s regular on The Paul Lynde Show (1972) and Joe and Sons (1975), he had some rocky years and Anne's pilot fizzled when they reunited for a possible "Stiller & Meara" sitcom.

Then came eight seasons as hypertensive Frank Costanza and his character star was reborn. Nominated for a 1997 Emmy Award and the recipient of the 1998 American Comedy Award, Stiller found back-to-back sitcom hits with The King of Queens (1998) as the irascible Arthur Spooner. He also appeared in a number of his successful son Ben Stiller's comedy pictures including Heavyweights (1995), Zoolander (2001), The Heartbreak Kid (2007) and Zoolander 2 (2016)

Into the millennium, Jerry has appeared in a number of independent films, including a starring role as a low-level director seeking a comeback in the comedy The Independent (2000); had a cameo in the off-color Rodney Dangerfield slapstick farce My 5 Wives (2000); played the slick Mr. Pinky in the film version of the Broadway musical hit Hairspray (2007); and featured roles in the romantic comedies Swinging with the Finkels (2011) and Excuse Me for Living (2012).

Daughter Amy Stiller is also a thriving actress. He and Anne wrote, performed and produced award-winning radio commercials together for such products as Blue Nun Wine, United Van Lines and Amalgamated Bank, among others. His autobiography "Married to Laughter" came out in 2000.

Wife Anne died in May 2015, and Jerry Stiller died near five years later, in May 2020, at age .

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Gary Brumburgh / gr-home@pacbell.net

Spouse (1)

Anne Meara (14 September 1954 - 23 May 2015) ( her death) ( 2 children)

Trade Mark (4)

Thick New York accent
Short stature
Distinctive halting delivery of lines
Playing loud, neurotic/psychotic characters with borderline psychopatic/sociopathic features in comedies.

Trivia (14)

Half of the mixed marriage (Jewish/Irish) comedy team of Stiller and Meara active during the 1960s and 1970s, with his wife Anne Meara. He and Meara had two children Ben Stiller and Amy Stiller and two grandchildren by their son's marriage to actress Christine Taylor, Ella Olivia Stiller and Quinlin Dempsey Stiller, before the union was dissolved.
Although wife Anne Meara converted to Judaism upon their marriage, the main source of Stiller and Meara's material was the differences in their ethnic backgrounds, epitomized by their famous "Hershey Horowitz/Mary Elizabeth Doyle" routines.
Attended and graduated from Seward Park High School in Manhattan, New York City. He attended and graduated from Syracuse University in 1950 with a Bachelor's degree in Speech and Drama. He was a brother in the Tau Delta Phi Fraternity.
He and wife Anne Meara appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show (1948) as Stiller and Meara every two months for a total of 36 times.
Was named as "King of Brooklyn" at the Welcome Back to Brooklyn Festival in 2000. His wife, Anne Meara, was named "Queen of Brooklyn" at the same festival.
Awarded the Ellis Island Medal of Honor. [October 1999]
Has worked with his son, Ben Stiller, on 11 movies to date.
In The King of Queens (1998) episode, The King of Queens: Shrink Wrap (2002), his character's father was played by his real-life son, Ben Stiller.
Is one of the four actors who appeared in both Hairspray (1988) and Hairspray (2007).
Jerry Stiller and Anne Meara were awarded a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 7018 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, California on February 9, 2007.
The two sitcoms he regularly appeared on, Seinfeld (1989) and The King of Queens (1998), both aired their series finales on May 14 (1998 and 2007 respectively).
He studied drama at HB Studio in Greenwich Village, New York City.
On the day he died, the episode he guest-starred on within "In The Heat of the Night" was played on WGN America.
Upon his death, he was cremated and his ashes scattered in Hessian Lake located at Bear Mountain State Park in New York.

Personal Quotes (19)

The worst thing in this business is to be thought of as a no-talent.
Never go for the punch line. There might be something funnier on the way.
I don't think my judgment is that good. I don't know what is funny.
Hollywood never knew there was a Vietnam War until they made the movie.
During the Great Depression, when people laughed their worries disappeared. Audiences loved these funny men. I decided to become one.
Creative comedy is like growing geraniums in a mine field.
Being on a sitcom stops me from getting Alzheimer's.
Anne is very forgiving. She doesn't care about money, being rich, or clothes. We never argued about finances.
Anne hated the idea of putting me down in front of the audience.
We managed to hang in there. Today when people get married there's a tendency to run away when things get tough. There is a lot of strength in hanging together.
Money is sensual.
It can make you sad to look at pictures from your youth. So there's a trick to it. The trick is not to look at the later pictures.
I've been around the block a lot and I've had a merry trail for 55 years.
I shave without using shaving cream.
I loved the idea of touching base with an audience.
I ask myself why I do it. Maybe it's to prove I'm still around. It takes a lot out of my body. I'm not an NBA player anymore. At my age, very few people can handle it.
Some of the routines come back very easily. We do it off the top of our heads.
My father and mother - I figured if I could make them laugh, they would stop fighting. I stole all their material.
[on meeting Anne Meara, his future wife] She seemed to sense I had no money, so she just ordered coffee. Then she took all the silverware. I picked up her cheque for ten cents and thought, "This is a girl I'd like to hang out with.".

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