Jerry Stiller, comedian and ‘Seinfeld’ actor, dies at 92
NEW YORK: Jerry Stiller, who for many years teamed with spouse Anne Meara in a beloved comedy duo after which reached new heights in his senior years because the high-strung Frank Costanza on the traditional sitcom “Seinfeld” and the basement-dwelling father-in-law on “The King of Queens,” died at 92, his son Ben Stiller introduced Monday.
“I’m unhappy to say that my father, Jerry Stiller, handed away from pure causes,” his son stated in a tweet.
“He was an important dad and grandfather and probably the most devoted husband to Anne for about 62 years. He might be tremendously missed. Love you Dad,” wrote Ben, who adopted in his father’s comedic footsteps and have become an A-list field workplace star with motion pictures like “Tropic Thunder,” “Dodgeball” and “There’s Something About Mary.”
Jerry Stiller was a multi-talented performer who appeared in an assortment of flicks, taking part in Walter Matthau’s police sidekick within the thriller “The Taking of Pelham One Two Three” and Divine’s husband Wilbur Turnblad in John Waters’ twisted comedy “Hairspray.”
He additionally wrote an autobiography, “Married to Laughter,” about his 50-plus yr marriage to soul mate and comedic cohort Meara, who died in 2015. And his myriad tv spots included every thing from “Murder She Wrote” to “Law & Order” — together with 36 appearances alongside Meara on “The Ed Sullivan Show.”
Stiller, though a supporting participant on “Seinfeld,” created a few of the Emmy-winning present’s most enduring moments: co-creator and mannequin for the “bro,” a brassiere for males; a Korean War prepare dinner who inflicted meals poisoning on his complete unit; an ever-simmering salesman controlling his explosive mood with the shouted mantra, “Serenity now!”
Jason Alexander, his former TV son on “Seinfeld,” stated Stiller “was maybe the kindest man I ever had the consideration to work beside. He made me chuckle once I was a toddler and day by day I used to be with him.” Added Billy Eichner “Seeing Jerry Stiller on display screen immediately made you content.”
Stiller earned an 1997 Emmy nomination for his indelible “Seinfeld” efficiency. In a 2005 Esquire interview, Stiller recalled that he was out of labor and never the primary selection for the function of Frank Costanza, father to Jason Alexander’s neurotic George.
“My supervisor had retired,” he stated. “I used to be near 70 years previous, and had nowhere to go.”
He was initially advised to play the function as a milquetoast husband with an overbearing spouse, Estelle, performed by Estelle Harris. But the character wasn’t working — till Stiller recommended his reincarnation as an over-the-top crank who matched his spouse scream for scream.
It jump-started the septuagenarian’s profession, touchdown him a spot taking part in Vince Lombardi in a Nike business and the function of one other over-the-top dad on the long-running sitcom “King of Queens.”
While he was often known as a nut-job father on the small display screen, Stiller and spouse Meara raised two kids of their longtime residence on Manhattan’s Upper West Side: daughter Amy, who grew to become an actress, and son Ben, who would turn into maybe probably the most well-known Stiller as a author, director and actor.
He and Ben carried out collectively in “Shoeshine,” which was nominated for a 1988 Academy Award within the brief topic class.
Stiller was significantly quieter and reflective in individual than in character — though simply as humorous. The son of a bus driver and a housewife, Stiller grew up in Depression-era Brooklyn. His inspiration to enter present enterprise got here at age 8, when his father took him to see the Marx Brothers within the comedy traditional “A Night on the Opera.”
Years later, Stiller met Groucho Marx and thanked him.
Stiller earned a drama diploma at Syracuse University after serving in World War II, after which headed to New York City to launch his profession. There was a quick involvement in Shakespearean theater, together with a $55 every week job with Jack Klugman in “Coriolanus.”
But his life and profession took off after he met Meara in spring 1953. They have been married that fall.
The seemingly mismatched pair — he a brief, stocky Jewish man from Brooklyn, she a tall, Irish Catholic from the Long Island suburbs — shared a direct onstage chemistry, too. They have been quickly showing on “The Ed Sullivan Show” and dealing nightclubs nationwide.
The pair additionally wrote and carried out radio commercials, most memorably a sequence of bits for a little-known wine referred to as Blue Nun. The duo’s adverts boosted gross sales by 500%. Ben Stiller recalled journeys along with his sister to California when his mother and father would head west to do tv appearances.
The couple went on to seem as a crew in dozens of movie, stage and tv productions. One of them was “After-Play,” a 1995 off-Broadway present written by Meara.
Actor Michael McKean honored Stiller on Twitter as “an important comedian actor and a splendid man. He and his spouse, Anne, have been royalty however they’d’ve laughed in your face if you happen to stated so. And then hugged the hell out of you.”
Jerry Seinfeld additionally shared a tribute, posting a photograph of himself holding “The Last Two People within the World,” a 1967 comedy album from Stiller and Meara. Seth Rogen tweeted: “He made me chuckle until I cried on many events.”
Stiller joined “Seinfeld” in 1993, and moved on to “King of Queens” when the opposite Jerry & firm went off the air in 1998. He additionally appeared in Ben Stiller’s spoof on modeling, “Zoolander,” launched in 2001.
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