After beginning his acting career with a play, Stiller wrote several mockumentaries, and was offered his own show entitled The Ben Stiller Show, which he produced and hosted for its thirteen-episode run. Having previously acted in television, he began acting in films; he made his directorial debut with Reality Bites. Throughout his career he has written, starred in, directed or produced more than fifty films including The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, Zoolander, The Cable Guy, There's Something About Mary, the Meet the Parents trilogy, DodgeBall, Tropic Thunder, the Madagascar series, and the Night at the Museum trilogy. He has also made numerous cameos in music videos, television shows, and films.
Stiller is a member of a group of comedic actors colloquially known as the Frat Pack. His films have grossed more than $2.6 billion in Canada and the United States, with an average of $79 million per film. Throughout his career, he has received multiple awards and honors, including an Emmy Award, multiple MTV Movie Awards, and a Teen Choice Award.
Stiller at the RTL-Spendenmarathon in 2014
|Birth name||Benjamin Edward Meara Stiller|
|Born||November 30, 1965|
New York City, New York, U.S.
(m. 2000; sep. 2017)
Benjamin Edward Meara Stiller was born on November 30, 1965 in New York City. His father, comedian and actor Jerry Stiller, is from a Jewish family that emigrated from Poland and Galicia in Central Europe. His mother, actress and comedian Anne Meara, who was from an Irish Catholic background, converted to Reform Judaism after marrying his father. While the family was "never very religious", they celebrated both Hanukkah and Christmas, and Stiller had a Bar Mitzvah.
His parents frequently took him on the sets of their appearances, including The Mike Douglas Show when he was six. He considered his childhood unusual, stating "In some ways, it was a show-business upbringing—a lot of traveling, a lot of late nights—not what you'd call traditional." His elder sister, Amy, has appeared in many of his productions, including Reality Bites, DodgeBall: A True Underdog Story, and Zoolander. Stiller displayed an early interest in filmmaking and made Super 8 movies with his sister and friends.
At nine years old, he made his acting debut as a guest on his mother's short-lived television series, Kate McShane. In the late 1970s, he performed with the New York City troupe NYC's First All Children's Theater, playing several roles, including the title role in Clever Jack and the Magic Beanstalk. After being inspired by the television show Second City Television while in high school, Stiller realized that he wanted to get involved with sketch comedy. During his high school years, he was also the drummer of the post-punk band Capital Punishment, which released a studio album named Roadkill in 1982. The band's bassist, Peter Swann, went on to become (as of 2018) an Arizona Court of Appeals Judge.
Stiller attended The Cathedral School of St. John the Divine and graduated from the Calhoun School in New York in 1983. He started performing on the cabaret circuit as opening act to the cabaret siren Jadin Wong. Stiller then enrolled as a film student at the University of California, Los Angeles. After nine months, Stiller left school to move back to New York City. He made his way through acting classes, auditioning and trying to find an agent.
When he was approximately 15, Stiller obtained a small part with one line on the television soap opera Guiding Light, although in an interview he characterized his performance as poor. He was later cast in a role in the 1986 Broadway revival of John Guare's The House of Blue Leaves, alongside John Mahoney; the production would garner four Tony Awards.
During its run, Stiller produced a satirical mockumentary whose principal was fellow actor Mahoney. His comedic work was well received by the cast and crew of the play, and he followed up with a 10-minute short called The Hustler of Money, a parody of the Martin Scorsese film The Color of Money. The film featured him in a send-up of Tom Cruise's character and Mahoney in the Paul Newman role, only this time as a bowling hustler instead of a pool shark. The short got the attention of Saturday Night Live, which aired it in 1987, and two years later offered him a spot as a writer.
In 1989, Stiller wrote and appeared on Saturday Night Live as a featured performer. However, since the show did not want him to make more short films, he left after four episodes. He then put together Elvis Stories, a short film about a fictitious tabloid focused on recent sightings of Elvis Presley. The film starred friends and co-stars John Cusack, Jeremy Piven, Mike Myers, Andy Dick, and Jeff Kahn. The film was considered a success, and led him to develop the short film Going Back to Brooklyn for MTV; it was a music video starring comedian Colin Quinn that parodied LL Cool J's recent hit "Going Back to Cali".
Producers at MTV were so impressed with Back to Brooklyn that they offered Stiller a 13-episode show in the experimental "vid-com" format. Titled The Ben Stiller Show, this series mixed comedy sketches with music videos and parodied various television shows, music stars, and films. It starred Stiller, along with main writer Jeff Khan and Harry O'Reilly, with his parents and sister making occasional appearances.
Although the show was canceled after its first season, it led to another show titled The Ben Stiller Show, on the Fox Network in 1992. The series aired 12 episodes on Fox, with a 13th unaired episode broadcast by Comedy Central in a later revival. Among the principal writers on The Ben Stiller Show were Stiller and Judd Apatow, with the show featuring the ensemble cast of Stiller, Janeane Garofalo, Andy Dick, and Bob Odenkirk. Both Denise Richards and Jeanne Tripplehorn appeared as extras in various episodes. Throughout its short run, The Ben Stiller Show frequently appeared at the bottom of the ratings, even as it garnered critical acclaim and eventually won an Emmy Award for "Outstanding Writing in a Variety or Music Program" posthumously.
Stiller had a few minor roles in the early 1990s, in films such as Stella, Highway to Hell, and in a cameo, The Nutt House. In 1992, Stiller was approached to direct Reality Bites, based on a script by Helen Childress. Stiller devoted the next year and a half to rewriting the script with Childress, fundraising, and recruiting cast members for the film. It was eventually released in early 1994, directed by Stiller and featuring him as a co-star. The film was produced by Danny DeVito, who would later direct Stiller's 2003 film Duplex and produce his 2004 film Along Came Polly.
Stiller joined his parents in the family film Heavyweights (1995), in which he played two roles, and then had a brief uncredited role in Adam Sandler's Happy Gilmore (1996). Next, he had lead roles in If Lucy Fell and Flirting with Disaster, before tackling his next directorial effort with The Cable Guy, which starred Jim Carrey. Stiller once again was featured in his own film, as twins. The film received mixed reviews, but was noted for paying the highest salary for an actor up to that point, as Carrey received $20 million for his work in the film. The film also connected Stiller with future Frat Pack members Jack Black and Owen Wilson.
Also in 1996, MTV invited Stiller to host the VH1 Fashion Awards. Along with SNL writer Drake Sather, Stiller developed a short film for the awards about a male model known as Derek Zoolander. It was so well received that he developed another short film about the character for the 1997 VH1 Fashion Awards and finally remade the skit into a film.
In 1998, Stiller put aside his directing ambitions to star in a surprise hit with a long-lasting cult following, the Farrelly Brothers' There's Something About Mary, alongside Cameron Diaz. That year, he starred in several dramas, including Zero Effect, Your Friends & Neighbors, and Permanent Midnight. He was invited to take part in hosting the Music Video awards, for which he developed a parody of the Backstreet Boys and performed a sketch with his father, commenting on his current career.
In 1999, he starred in three films, including Mystery Men, where he played a superhero wannabe called Mr. Furious. He returned to directing with a new spoof television series for Fox titled Heat Vision and Jack, starring Jack Black; however, the show was not picked up by Fox after its pilot episode and the series was cancelled.
In 2000, Stiller starred in three more films, including one of his most recognizable roles, a male nurse named Gaylord "Greg" Focker in Meet the Parents, opposite Robert De Niro. The film was well received by critics, grossed over $330 million worldwide, and spawned two sequels. Also in 2000, MTV again invited Stiller to make another short film, and he developed Mission: Improbable, a spoof of Tom Cruise's role in Mission: Impossible II and other films.
In 2001, Stiller directed his third feature film, Zoolander, starring himself as Derek Zoolander. The film featured multiple cameos from a variety of celebrities, including Donald Trump, Paris Hilton, Lenny Kravitz, Heidi Klum, and David Bowie, among others. The film was banned in Malaysia (as the plot centered on an assassination attempt of a Malaysian prime minister), while shots of the World Trade Center were digitally removed and hidden for the film's release after the September 11 terrorist attacks.
Over the next two years, Stiller continued with the lackluster box office film Duplex, and cameos in Orange County and Nobody Knows Anything! He has guest-starred on several television shows, including an appearance in an episode of the television series The King of Queens in a flashback as the father of the character Arthur (played by Jerry Stiller). He also made a guest appearance on World Wrestling Entertainment's WWE Raw.
In 2004, Stiller appeared in six different films, all of which were comedies, and include some of his highest-grossing films: Starsky & Hutch, Envy, DodgeBall: A True Underdog Story, Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy (in which he had an uncredited cameo), Along Came Polly and Meet the Fockers. While the critical flop Envy only grossed $14.5 million, the most successful film of these was Meet the Fockers, which grossed over $516.6 million worldwide.
He also made extended guest appearances on Curb Your Enthusiasm and Arrested Development in the same year. In 2005, Stiller appeared in Madagascar, which was his first experience as a voice actor in an animated film. Madagascar was a massive worldwide hit, and spawned the sequels Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa in 2008 and Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted in 2012.
In 2006, Stiller had cameo roles in School for Scoundrels and Tenacious D in The Pick of Destiny; he was executive producer of the latter. In December 2006, he had the lead role in Night at the Museum. Although not a critical favorite, it earned over $115 million in ten days.
In 2008, Stiller directed, co-wrote, co-produced, and starred in the film Tropic Thunder, with Robert Downey Jr. and Jack Black; Stiller had originally conceived of the film's premise while filming Empire of the Sun in 1987.
In 2010, Stiller made a brief cameo in Joaquin Phoenix's mockumentary I'm Still Here and played the lead role in the comedy-drama Greenberg. He again portrayed Greg Focker in the critically panned but financially successful Little Fockers, the second sequel to Meet the Parents. He had planned to voice the main character in Megamind, but later dropped out while still remaining a producer and voicing a minor character in the film.
In 2011, Stiller starred with Eddie Murphy and Alan Alda in Tower Heist, about a group of maintenance workers planning a heist in a residential skyscraper. He produced, directed, and starred in The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, which was released in 2013.
Stiller has been described as the "acknowledged leader" of the Frat Pack, a core group of actors that have worked together in multiple films. The group includes Jack Black, Will Ferrell, Vince Vaughn, Owen Wilson, Luke Wilson, and Steve Carell. Stiller has been acknowledged as the leader of the group because of his multiple cameos and for his consistent use of the other members in roles in films which he produces and directs. He has appeared the most with Owen Wilson—in twelve films. Of the 35 primary films that are considered Frat Pack films, Stiller has been involved with 20, in some capacity.
Stiller is also the only member of this group to have appeared in a Brat Pack film (Fresh Horses). He rejects the "Frat Pack" label, saying in a 2008 interview that the concept was "completely fabricated".
Stiller dated several actresses during his early television and film career, including Jeanne Tripplehorn, Calista Flockhart, and Amanda Peet. In May 2000, Stiller married Christine Taylor at an oceanfront ceremony in Kauai, Hawaii. They met while filming a never-broadcast television pilot for the Fox Broadcasting network called Heat Vision and Jack. The couple appeared onscreen together in Zoolander, DodgeBall: A True Underdog Story, Tropic Thunder, Zoolander 2, Curb Your Enthusiasm, and Arrested Development. The couple have two children. In May 2017, Stiller and Taylor announced their separation in a joint statement after 17 years of marriage.
In 2001, Stiller appeared as a celebrity contestant on the game show Who Wants to Be a Millionaire. He won $32,000 for his charity Project ALS, after incorrectly answering his $250,000 question in an attempt to equal Edie Falco's $250,000 win.
Stiller is a supporter of the Democratic Party and donated money to John Kerry's 2004 U.S. Presidential campaign. In February 2007, Stiller attended a fundraiser for Barack Obama and later donated to the 2008 U.S. Presidential campaigns of Democrats Obama, John Edwards, and Hillary Clinton.
Stiller supports such charities as Declare Yourself, the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation, and the Starlight Starbright Children's Foundation. Stiller is actively involved in support of animal rights. In 2010, Stiller, together with Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Robin Williams, and others, starred in The Cove PSA: My Friend is... , in an effort to stop the slaughter of dolphins and protect the Japanese population from the toxic levels of mercury found in dolphin meat.
Stiller frequently impersonates such performers as Bono, Tom Cruise, Bruce Springsteen, and David Blaine. In an interview with Parade, he commented that Robert Klein, George Carlin, and Jimmie Walker were inspirations for his comedy career. Stiller is also a self-professed Trekkie and appeared in the television special Star Trek: 30 Years and Beyond to express his love of the show, as well as a comedy roast for William Shatner. He frequently references the show in his work, and named his production company Red Hour Productions after a time of day in the original Star Trek episode, "The Return of the Archons".
Courteney Cox and Jon Lovitz
| MTV Movie Awards host
1996 (with Janeane Garofalo)
| MTV Video Music Awards host
Along Came Polly is a 2004 American romantic comedy film written and directed by John Hamburg, starring Ben Stiller and Jennifer Aniston in the lead roles. The story follows Reuben Feffer (Ben Stiller), a tightly-wound newly-wed who finds his life falling into chaos when he discovers his wife cheating on him with a scuba diver on their honeymoon and then quickly finds himself falling in love with his old classmate, Polly Prince (Jennifer Aniston). The movie made a gross of $88,097,164 in the US.Ben Stiller filmography
Ben Stiller is an American actor, comedian, director, producer and screenwriter. The following is his complete filmography. He has mostly appeared in comedy films. Stiller is an Emmy Award winner for his directed, produced and written television show The Ben Stiller Show.Christine Taylor
Christine Joan Taylor-Stiller (born July 30, 1971) is an American actress. She is known for playing Marcia Brady in The Brady Bunch Movie and A Very Brady Sequel, as well as roles in The Wedding Singer, Zoolander, and DodgeBall: A True Underdog Story.Duplex (film)
Duplex is a 2003 American black comedy film directed and narrated by Danny DeVito, and starring Ben Stiller and Drew Barrymore. The film was called Our House for its release in the United Kingdom and Ireland.Elmo's Christmas Countdown
Elmo's Christmas Countdown is a 2007 American television christmas film, featuring the characters from Sesame Street. It was first aired two days before Christmas Day of 2007. Starring Ben Stiller.Escape at Dannemora
Escape at Dannemora is an American television limited series that premiered on Showtime on November 18, 2018. It is based on the 2015 Clinton Correctional Facility escape. The seven-episode series was created and written by Brett Johnson and Michael Tolkin, and was directed by Ben Stiller. It stars Benicio del Toro, Patricia Arquette, Paul Dano, Bonnie Hunt, Eric Lange and David Morse.Friendsgiving
Friendsgiving is an American comedy film, written and directed by Nicol Paone. It stars Malin Åkerman, Kat Dennings, Jane Seymour, Aisha Tyler, Chelsea Peretti, Christine Taylor, Deon Cole, Ryan Hansen, Wanda Sykes and Margaret Cho.Night at the Museum
Night at the Museum is a 2006 American fantasy-comedy film directed by Shawn Levy and written by Robert Ben Garant and Thomas Lennon, based on the 1993 children's book of the same name by Croatian illustrator Milan Trenc. The film stars Ben Stiller as Larry Daley, a divorced father who applies for a job as a night watchman at New York City's American Museum of Natural History and subsequently discovers that the exhibits, animated by a magical Egyptian artifact, come to life at night.
It was released on December 22, 2006 by 20th Century Fox. The first installment in the Night at the Museum trilogy, the film was a box office success despite receiving mixed reviews from critics, grossing over $574 million.Reality Bites
Reality Bites is a 1994 American romantic comedy-drama film written by Helen Childress and directed by Ben Stiller. It stars Winona Ryder, Ethan Hawke and Stiller, with supporting roles by Janeane Garofalo and Steve Zahn. The plot follows Lelaina (Ryder), an aspiring videographer working on a documentary called Reality Bites about the disenfranchised lives of her friends and roommates. Their challenges exemplify some of the career and lifestyle choices faced by Generation X.
The film received mixed reviews from critics, but was a box office success, grossing $33.4 million worldwide against an $11.5 million budget. Critics highlighted the performances of Ryder, Hawke and Garofalo in particular.In the years since the initial release of the film, it has achieved cult status and has been singled out as one of the films that captured the zeitgeist of the early 1990s grunge scene among young adults, while also bringing attention to various issues that plagued young Americans at the time.Robert Cohen (writer)
Robert "Rob" Cohen is a Canadian comedy writer and director. He was raised in Calgary, Alberta and has written for The Simpsons, The Wonder Years, The Ben Stiller Show, The Big Bang Theory, and many other shows.
Robert's writing career has covered every form of TV, from sketch to multi-camera, single-camera and animation. He has also written for many high-profile awards shows and specials, including multiple times for the Academy Awards and Emmy Awards.Sultan Pepper
Sultan Pepper (April 22, 1962 – October 20, 2009) was an American comedy writer who worked on the Ben Stiller Show and Mad TV. Pepper won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Writing in a Variety or Music Program for The Ben Stiller Show in 1993.Pepper won The Ben Stiller Show's 1993 Emmy Award for "outstanding individual achievement in writing in a variety or music program", according to The Hollywood Reporter. Pepper was the only woman on The Ben Stiller Show writing team, which included David Cross, Ben Stiller and Judd Apatow.Pepper later wrote for the HBO educational children's show Crashbox, as well as the Nickelodeon animated series, CatDog. She also worked as a writer for the late night television talk show, The Stephanie Miller Show, during the 1990s.In the 2000s, Pepper worked both a writer and producer for the United States version of Don't Forget Your Toothbrush game show, as well as Street Smarts and the reality show, Blind Date.Pepper was contracted for a one-year development deal with Sony/Columbia Tri-Star Television beginning in 2002. While with Sony/Columbia TriStar, Pepper wrote and produced on the television shows, Pyramid, Shipmates and The Rerun Show.Pepper also wrote for the FOX Saturday night sketch comedy show, Mad TV, for two seasons. The show's writing team, which included Pepper, was nominated for Writers Guild of America Awards in 2004 and 2005.Pepper died in Murrieta, California, on October 20, 2009, at the age of 47. She was survived by her parents, Teresa and Jack Pepper.The Ben Stiller Show
The Ben Stiller Show is the name of two sketch comedy television programs that aired on MTV from 1989 to 1990, and then on Fox from September 27, 1992 to January 17, 1993. The Fox program starred Ben Stiller, Andy Dick, Janeane Garofalo and Bob Odenkirk. Character actor John F. O'Donohue also appeared in every episode.
The program featured numerous filmed comedy segments, many of which parodied middle of the 1980s to beginning of the 1990s pop culture. Despite mostly positive reviews, Fox cancelled the series after only thirteen episodes, due to low ratings.Unlike most sketch comedy program, The Ben Stiller Show did not use a studio audience or a laugh track, and was the first ever Fox sketch comedy program not to use a laugh track. The semi spinoff, The Andy Dick Show, used the same format. After cancellation, the series won the 1993 Emmy Award for Outstanding Writing in a Variety or Music Program.The Cable Guy
The Cable Guy is a 1996 American black comedy film directed by Ben Stiller, starring Jim Carrey and Matthew Broderick. It was released in the United States on June 14, 1996. The film co-stars Leslie Mann, Jack Black, George Segal, Diane Baker, Eric Roberts, Owen Wilson, Janeane Garofalo, David Cross, Andy Dick, Amy Stiller, and Bob Odenkirk.Despite a modest commercial reception, the movie received mixed reviews.The Package (2018 film)
The Package is an American black comedy film directed by Jake Szymanski from a screenplay by Kevin Burrows and Matt Mider. The film stars Daniel Doheny, Sadie Calvano, Geraldine Viswanathan, Luke Spencer Roberts, and Eduardo Franco.
The film was released on August 10, 2018, by Netflix.The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (2013 film)
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty is a 2013 American adventure comedy-drama film directed, co-produced by and starring Ben Stiller and written by Steve Conrad. The film also stars Kristen Wiig, Shirley MacLaine, Adam Scott, Kathryn Hahn, and Sean Penn.This is the second film adaptation of James Thurber's 1939 short story The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. The film premiered at the New York Film Festival on October 5, 2013. The Secret Life of Walter Mitty was theatrically released by 20th Century Fox, Samuel Goldwyn Films and New Line Cinema on December 25, 2013 in North America to generally mixed reception, but was a moderate box office success. The film was chosen by the National Board of Review as one of the top ten films of 2013. The Secret Life of Walter Mitty was released on DVD and Blu-ray on April 15, 2014 by 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment.Tropic Thunder
Tropic Thunder is a 2008 action comedy film directed by Ben Stiller. It stars Stiller, Jack Black, Robert Downey Jr., Jay Baruchel, and Brandon T. Jackson as a group of prima donna actors who are making a Vietnam War film. When their frustrated director (played by Steve Coogan) drops them in the middle of a jungle, they are forced to rely on their acting skills to survive the real action and danger. The screenplay by Justin Theroux, Stiller, and Etan Cohen was from a story by Stiller and Theroux. The film was produced by Stuart Cornfeld, Stiller, and Eric McLeod for Red Hour Productions and DreamWorks Pictures as an international co-production between the United States, Germany and the United Kingdom.
Stiller's idea for the film originated while playing a minor role in Empire of the Sun, and he later enlisted Theroux and Cohen to help complete the script. After the film was green-lit in 2006, filming took place in 2007 on the Hawaiian island of Kaua'i over thirteen weeks and was later deemed the largest film production in the island's history. The film had an extensive marketing promotion, including faux websites for the three main characters and their fictional films, airing a fictional television special, and selling the energy drink advertised in the film, "Booty Sweat".
The film received generally positive reviews, with critics praising the film's characters, story, faux trailers, and the performances of Stiller, Downey, Black and Tom Cruise, though the depiction of the mentally handicapped and usage of blackface makeup were seen as controversial. The film's soundtrack and score debuted on August 5, 2008, before the film's theatrical release. Paramount Pictures and DreamWorks released the film in the US on August 13, 2008. In its North American opening weekend, the film earned $26 million and retained the number one position for the first three weekends of release. Downey received Academy Award, BAFTA Award, and Screen Actors Guild Award nominations for his performance, with both him and Cruise receiving nominations for a Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor – Motion Picture. The film grossed more than $188 million worldwide before its release on home video on November 18, 2008.Zoolander
Zoolander is a 2001 American action-comedy film directed by Ben Stiller and starring Stiller, Owen Wilson and Will Ferrell. The film contains elements from a pair of short films directed by Russell Bates and written by Drake Sather and Stiller for the VH1 Fashion Awards television specials in 1996 and 1997.
The short films and the film itself feature a dimwitted, narcissistic male model named Derek Zoolander, played by Stiller. The film involves Zoolander becoming the pawn of corrupt fashion executives who are plotting to assassinate the Prime Minister of Malaysia. The name "Derek Zoolander" was invented by Bates while he was editing the first short film, and was inspired by the names of two male models who both worked for Calvin Klein: the Dutchman Mark Vanderloo and the American Johnny Zander.A satire on the fashion industry, the film received mixed reviews from critics but was a box office success. A sequel, Zoolander 2, was released on February 12, 2016, to negative reviews. An animated series, Zoolander: Super Model, was released on Netflix UK in August 2016.Zoolander 2
Zoolander 2 is a 2016 American action-comedy film directed by Ben Stiller and written by John Hamburg, Justin Theroux, Stiller and Nicholas Stoller. It is the sequel to the 2001 film Zoolander and stars Stiller, Owen Wilson, Will Ferrell, Penélope Cruz and Kristen Wiig.
Filming took place from April to July 2015, in Rome, Italy. The film was released on February 12, 2016, by Paramount Pictures to generally negative reviews from critics and earned $56 million against a $55 million budget.