• Ed Gaines

Comedian Jerry Stiller has died at the age of 92

Jerry Stiller, actor and comedian and father to Ben Stiller, has died of nature causes. He was 92. Ben Stiller confirmed his father’s death in the early hours of Monday morning, writing 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.” After a long career performing in comedy routines with his wife Anne Meara, appearing on Broadway and guest-starring on TV series, Stiller became known for his role on “Seinfeld” as Frank Constanza, as Leah Remini’s father on “The King of Queens,”and as Zoolander’s manager in the comedy directed by Ben Stiller. He appeared in 26 episodes of “Seinfeld” as Constanza, the father of George (Jason Alexander), from 1993-98, with Estelle Harris playing his wife, Estelle. Stiller was Emmy nominated for his work on the show in 1997. Though known as a comedian, Stiller was also a serious dramatic actor with a long history on Broadway. Long before Stiller became known for his appearances on “Seinfeld” and “The King of Queens,” Stiller and Meara, were a top comedy act in the 1960s, appearing on “The Ed Sullivan Show” some 36 times. The pair were also members of the improv group the Compass Players, which later became Second City. 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. Meara died in May 2015. On “The King of Queens,” where he was a series regular from 1998-2007, he played the much-married Arthur Spooner, the father of Leah Remini’s Carrie Heffernan. ** Stiller appeared in both film versions of “Hairspray,” the 1988 John Waters nostalgia trip in which he and Divine played the parents of Ricki Lake’s Tracy Turnblad.


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