Gerald Isaac Stiller (born June 8, 1927) is an American comedian and actor. He spent many years in the comedy team Stiller and Meara with his wife, Anne Meara. He later played Frank Costanza on the NBC sitcom Seinfeld and Arthur Spooner on the CBS comedy series The King of Queens. Stiller and Meara are the parents of actor Ben Stiller, with whom Stiller co-starred in the films Zoolander, Heavyweights, Hot Pursuit, The Heartbreak Kid and Zoolander 2. Stiller is known for his angry, yelling acting style.
Stiller and Meara in 1965
Gerald Isaac Stiller
June 8, 1927
|Alma mater||Syracuse University (B.A.)|
(m. 1954; died 2015)
|Children||2; including Ben Stiller|
The eldest of four children, Stiller was born at Unity Hospital in Brooklyn, New York, to Bella (née Citron) and William Stiller, a bus driver. His family is Jewish. His paternal grandparents immigrated from Galicia (modern southern Poland and Western Ukraine), and his mother was born in Poland. He lived in the Williamsburg and East New York neighborhoods before his family moved to the Lower East Side, where he attended Seward Park High School.
Upon his return from service in World War II, Stiller attended Syracuse University, earning a bachelor's degree in Speech and Drama in 1950. In the 1953 Phoenix Theater production of Coriolanus (produced by John Houseman), Stiller (along with Gene Saks and Jack Klugman) formed "the best trio of Shakespearian clowns that [he] had ever seen on any stage".
Also in 1953, Stiller met actor-comedian Anne Meara, and they married in 1955. Until Stiller suggested it, Meara had never thought of doing comedy. "Jerry started us being a comedy team," she said. "He always thought I would be a great comedy partner." They joined the Chicago improvisational company The Compass Players (which later became The Second City), and after leaving, began performing together. In 1961, they were performing in nightclubs in New York, and by the following year were considered a "national phenomenon", said the New York Times.
The comedy team Stiller and Meara, composed of Stiller and wife, Anne Meara, was successful in the 1960s and 1970s, with numerous appearances on television variety programs, mainly on The Ed Sullivan Show. Their career declined as variety series gradually disappeared, but they subsequently forged a career in radio commercials, notably the campaign for Blue Nun wine. They starred in their own syndicated five-minute sketch comedy show, Take Five with Stiller and Meara (1977–1978).
From 1979 to 1982, Stiller and Meara hosted HBO Sneak Previews, a half-hour show produced monthly on which they described the movies and programs to be featured in the coming month. They also did some comedy sketches between show discussions. The duo's own 1986 TV sitcom, The Stiller and Meara Show, in which Stiller played the deputy mayor of New York City and Meara portrayed his wife, a TV commercial actress, was not successful.
Stiller played the short-tempered Frank Costanza, the father of George Costanza in the sitcom Seinfeld from 1993 to 1998. He was nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series in 1997, and won the American Comedy Award for Funniest Male Guest Appearance in a TV Series for his portrayal of Frank Costanza.
After Seinfeld's run ended, Stiller had planned on retiring, but Kevin James asked him to join the cast of The King of Queens. James, who played the leading role of Doug Heffernan, had told Stiller that he needed him in order to have a successful show. Stiller obliged, and played the role of Arthur Spooner, the father of Carrie Heffernan, in the sitcom from 1998 until 2007. Stiller said this role tested his acting ability more than any others have and that, before being a part of The King of Queens, he only saw himself as a "decent actor".
Stiller played himself in filmed skits, opening and closing Canadian rock band Rush's 30th Anniversary Tour concerts in 2004. These appearances are seen on the band's DVD R30: 30th Anniversary World Tour, released in 2005. Stiller later appeared in cameos in later in-concert films for the band's 2007-2008 Snakes & Arrows Tour. Stiller appeared on Dick Clark's $10,000 Pyramid show in the 1970s, and footage of the appearance was edited into an episode of The King of Queens to assist the storyline about his character being a contestant on the show, but that after losing, he was bitter about the experience as he never received his parting gift, a lifetime supply of "Rice-A-Roni, the San Francisco Treat". He also made several appearances on the game show Tattletales with his wife Anne.
In the late 1990s, Stiller appeared in a series of Nike television commercials as the ghost of deceased Green Bay Packers head coach Vince Lombardi. Stiller has appeared in various motion pictures, most notably Zoolander (2001) and Secret of the Andes (1999). On February 9, 2007, Stiller and Meara were honored with a joint star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. On October 28, 2010, the couple appeared on an episode of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. Stiller voiced the announcer on the children's educational show Crashbox. Starting in October 2010, Stiller and Meara began starring in a Yahoo web series, Stiller & Meara from Red Hour Digital, in which they discussed current topics. Each episode was about two minutes long. As of 2012, Stiller has been a spokesman for Xfinity.
Stiller wrote the foreword to the book Festivus: The Holiday for the Rest of Us (ISBN 0-446-69674-9) by Allen Salkin, released on October 26, 2005. Stiller's memoir, Married to Laughter: A Love Story Featuring Anne Meara, was published by Simon & Schuster © 2000; ISBN 0-684-86903-9.
Stiller was married to Anne Meara from 1954 until her death on May 23, 2015. The two met in an agent's office. Anne was upset about an interaction with the casting agent, so Jerry took her out for coffee (all he could afford) and they were together ever since. Their son is actor-comedian Ben Stiller (born 1965) and their daughter is actress Amy Stiller (born 1961). He has two grandchildren through Ben.
|1970||Lovers and Other Strangers||Jim||Uncredited|
|1974||The Taking of Pelham One Two Three||Lt. Rico Patrone|
|1976||The Ritz||Carmine Vespucci|
|1977||Nasty Habits||P.R. Priest|
|1980||Those Lips, Those Eyes||Mr. Shoemaker|
|1986||Seize the Day||Dr. Tamkin|
|1987||Hot Pursuit||Victor Honeywell|
|1989||That's Adequate||Sid Lane|
|1992||Highway to Hell||The Desk Cop|
|1993||The Pickle||Phil Hirsch|
|1997||The Deli||Petey Cheesecake|
|1999||A Fish in the Bathtub||Sam Kaplan|
|1999||The Suburbans||Speedo Silverburg|
|1999||Secret of the Andes||Dr. Golfisch|
|2000||The Independent||Monty Fineman|
|2000||My 5 Wives||Don Giovani|
|2000||Chump Change||The Colonel|
|2001||On the Line||Nathan|
|2002||Serving Sara||Milton the Cop|
|2004||Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy||Man in Bar||Uncredited|
|2004||Teacher's Pet||Pretty Boy||Voice|
|2004||The Lion King 1½||Uncle Max (voice)||Direct-to-DVD|
|2005||R30: 30th Anniversary World Tour||Himself|
|2007||The Heartbreak Kid||Doc|
|2008||Snakes & Arrows Live||Heidi|
|2011||Swinging with the Finkels||Mr. Winters|
|2014||Planes: Fire & Rescue||Harvey||Voice|
|2016||Zoolander 2||Maury Ballstein|
|1956–1957||Studio One in Hollywood||Sergeant Joe Capriotti / Hugh||2 episodes|
|1957||The Big Story||Tyler||Episode: "The Hoax"|
|1959||Armstrong Circle Theatre||Pfc. Elwood Johnson||Episode: "Thunder Over Berlin"|
|1962||The Defenders||Sergeant Wysenski||Episode: "The Empty Chute"|
|1962||General Electric Theater||Harold||Episode: "Acres and Pains"|
|1964||Brenner||Chris Zelco||Episode: "The Plain Truth"|
|1964–1965||Linus the Lionhearted||3 episodes|
|1969||That's Life||Himself||Episode: "Our First Fight"|
|1971–1972||The Courtship of Eddie's Father||Mr. Landon / Paul Sterling||2 episodes|
|1971–1973||Love, American Style||Leonard Ferguson / Harry||2 episodes|
|1972||The Carol Burnett Show||Himself||Episode: "#6.8"|
|1972–1973||The Paul Lynde Show||Barney Dickerson||4 episodes|
|1975–1976||Joe and Sons||Gus Duzik||14 episodes|
|1976||Phyllis||Burt Hillman||Episode: "Phyllis and the Jumper"|
|1976||Rhoda||Lloyd Zimmer||Episode: "A Touch of Classy"|
|1979||Time Express||Edward Chernoff||Episode: "Garbage Man/Doctor's Wife"|
|1979–1983||The Love Boat||Harlan Weatherly / Tony Vitelli / Bud Hanrahan||3 episodes|
|1980–1982||Archie Bunker's Place||Carmine||2 episodes|
|1981||Madame X||Burt Orland||Television film|
|1981||Hart to Hart||Myron Finkle||Episode: "Murder Takes a Bow"|
|1981||Private Benjamin||Sgt. Muldoon||Episode: "So Long, Sergeant Ross"|
|1982||Simon & Simon||Harold Traxler||Episode: "The Uncivil Servant"|
|1982||Alice||Gordy||Episode: "Do You Take This Waitress"|
|1983||Reading Rainbow||Dinosaur Comic||Episode: "Digging Up Dinosaurs"|
|1983||Amanda's||Sal||Episode: "You Were Meant for Me"|
|1983||The Other Woman||Mel Binns||Television film|
|1984||Trapper John, M.D.||Artie Merrow||Episode: "Where There's a Will"|
|1985||The Equalizer||Brahms||Episode: "Pilot"|
|1985||Tales from the Darkside||Luther Mandrake||Episode: "The Devil's Advocate"|
|1986||Screen Two||Marty de Reske||Episode: "The McGuffin"|
|1987||Saturday Night Live||Stu||Episode: "Charlton Heston/Wynton Marsalis"|
|1988–1989||Tattingers||Sid Wilbur||14 episodes|
|1989||Murder, She Wrote||SFPD Lt. Birnbaum||Episode: "When The Fat Lady Sings"|
|1990||Monsters||Victor||Episode: "One Wolf's Family"|
|1990||Sweet 15||Waterman||Television film|
|1991||American Playhouse||Sam / Seymour Shapir||2 episodes|
|1991||Women & Men 2||Irving||Television film|
|1992–1996||Law & Order||Michael Tobis / Sam Pokras||2 episodes|
|1993–1998||Seinfeld||Frank Costanza||26 episodes|
|1993||L.A. Law||Nat Pincus||Episode: "Rhyme and Punishment"|
|1994||In the Heat of the Night||Rabbi Feldman||Episode: "The Rabbi"|
|1995||Homicide: Life on the Street||McGonnigal||Episode: "In Search of Crimes Past"|
|1996||Deadly Games||Phil Cullen||Episode: "Dr. Kramer"|
|1997||Subway Stories||Old Man||Television film|
|1998||Touched by an Angel||Maury Salt||Episode: "Cry and You Cry Alone"|
|1998||The Larry Sanders Show||Himself||Episode: "I Buried Sid"|
|1998||Hercules||Eagle||Episode: "Hercules and the Promethus Affair"|
|1998–2007||The King of Queens||Arthur Spooner||195 episodes|
|2000–2002||Teacher's Pet||Pretty Boy||11 episodes|
|2003||Odd Job Jack||Jim McDonald||Episode: "A Candidacy of Dunces"|
|2003||Sex and the City||Mr. Brady||Episode: "One"|
|2009||Wonder Pets!||Old White Mouse||2 episodes|
|2009||Mercy||Joe Thalberg||Episode: "The Last Thing I Said Was"|
|2010||Ice Dreams||Skipper||Television film|
|2010–2011||Fish Hooks||Principal Stickler||21 episodes|
|2011||The Good Wife||Judge Felix Afterman||Episode: "Silver Bullet"|
|2014||How Murray Saved Christmas||Murray Weiner (voice)||Television film|
Best remembered for his five-year stint on "Seinfeld" in a recurring regular role, Jerry Stiller ... is a veteran actor with a long history of stage performances. His notoriety first came when he revamped the role of George's father, but he ...
A Fish in the Bathtub is a 1999 comedy film directed by Joan Micklin Silver. It stars real life couple Jerry Stiller and Anne Meara.Anne Meara
Anne Meara (September 20, 1929 – May 23, 2015) was an American actress and comedian. Along with her husband Jerry Stiller, she was one-half of a prominent 1960s comedy team, Stiller and Meara. She also was featured on stage, in television, and in numerous films, and later she became a playwright.
During her career, Meara was nominated for four Emmy Awards and a Tony Award, and she won a Writers Guild Award as a co-writer for the TV movie The Other Woman.Ben Stiller
Benjamin Edward Meara Stiller (born November 30, 1965) is an American actor, comedic actor, writer, producer, and director. He is the son of veteran comedians and actors Jerry Stiller and Anne Meara.After beginning his acting career with a play, Stiller wrote several mockumentaries and was offered his own show, titled 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 50 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.Carrie Heffernan
Carrie Spooner Heffernan is a fictional character on the American sitcom The King of Queens. She appears in all of the show's nine seasons and is one of the show's three central characters. The character is portayed by Leah Remini and lives in Rego Park, Queens, with her husband Doug Heffernan (Kevin James), and her father Arthur Spooner (Jerry Stiller).
Carrie works as a legal secretary during the first 6 seasons and as a real estate firm secretary for the last 3 seasons.Doug Heffernan
Douglas Steven "Doug" Heffernan is a fictional character in the American situation comedy The King of Queens. The character has also appeared in Everybody Loves Raymond, Becker, and Cosby. The character is portrayed by Kevin James, whose stand-up comedy provided the comedic themes and general style of the show. Doug, a smart aleck, often immature "Average Joe", lives in Rego Park, Queens, with his wife Carrie Heffernan (Leah Remini), and his father-in-law Arthur Spooner (Jerry Stiller).
Doug is a delivery driver for the International Parcel Service (a fictional version of United Parcel Service), a job Doug acquired by pretending to work there after lying to then-girlfriend Carrie about having a job.Hairspray (1988 film)
Hairspray is a 1988 American dance comedy film written and directed by John Waters, and starring Ricki Lake, Divine, Debbie Harry, Sonny Bono, Jerry Stiller, Leslie Ann Powers, Colleen Fitzpatrick, and Michael St. Gerard. Hairspray was a dramatic departure from Waters's earlier works, with a much broader intended audience. Hairspray's PG is the mildest rating a Waters film has received; most of his previous films were rated X by the MPAA. Set in 1962 Baltimore, Maryland, the film revolves around self-proclaimed "pleasantly plump" teenager Tracy Turnblad as she pursues stardom as a dancer on a local TV show and rallies against racial segregation.
Hairspray was only a moderate success upon its initial theatrical release, earning a modest gross of $8 million. However, it managed to attract a larger audience on home video in the early 1990s and became a cult classic. Most critics praised the film, although some were displeased with the overall campiness. The film ranks #444 on Empire magazine's 2008 list of the 500 greatest movies of all time.In 2002, the film was adapted into a Broadway musical of the same name, which won eight Tony Awards, including Best Musical in 2003. A second film version of Hairspray, an adaptation of the stage musical, was also released by New Line Cinema in 2007, which included many changes of scripted items from the original.Hot Pursuit (1987 film)
Hot Pursuit is a 1987 American action comedy film directed by Steven Lisberger, written by Lisberger and Steven Carabatsos, and starring John Cusack, Robert Loggia, Wendy Gazelle, and Jerry Stiller.How Murray Saved Christmas
How Murray Saved Christmas is a 2014 animated musical television special, directed by Peter Avanzino and written by Mike Reiss. The voice actors include Jerry Stiller, Sean Hayes, Kevin Michael Richardson, Jason Alexander, John Ratzenberger and Dennis Haysbert.
Reiss, a writer and producer of The Simpsons who sought to bring a "Simpsons sensibility to Christmas specials," adapted the script from his 2000 children's book of the same name and its 2002 sequel Santa Claustrophobia, which were both illustrated by David Catrow. The special premiered on December 5, 2014, on NBC. It was nominated for an Emmy Award for Outstanding Original Music and Lyrics.Paul Gallo
Paul Gallo (born February 24, 1953) is an American theatrical lighting designer.
In a career that spans over 3 decades, Gallo has designed over 50 Broadway productions, an achievement matched by only 6 other lighting designers. He made his Broadway debut at the age of 27 with Passione, starring Jerry Stiller. Subsequently, he has had the privilege of working with the amazing talents of Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, Bradley Cooper, Hugh Jackman, Whoopi Goldberg, Cher, Renée Zellweger, Liam Neeson, Ben Stiller, Victor Garber, Christopher Walken, Stockard Channing, Patti Lupone, Kevin Kline, John Lithgow, Patrick Stewart, Joanne Woodward, Christopher Plummer, Jessica Tandy, Rex Harrison and Elizabeth Taylor.
Gallo has received eight nominations for the Tony Award for Best Lighting Design and ten nominations for the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Lighting Design, which he won for the 1992 revival of Guys and Dolls. He won the Henry Hewes Design Award, Collaborative Design Achievement-Lighting Design for the Public Theater production of Vienna: Lusthaus in 1986, and was nominated for Hewes Design Award, Lighting Design, for The Crucible (2002).Seize the Day (film)
Seize the Day is a 1986 drama film directed by Fielder Cook. It stars Robin Williams and Jerry Stiller. It is based on the novel of the same name by Saul Bellow.Shalom Sesame
Shalom Sesame is an anglicized variation of Rechov SumSum (רחוב סומסום), the Israeli version of Sesame Street, which originally aired in 1983. Shalom Sesame was produced in 1986 and 1990 for public television stations in the United States, aimed at introducing Israel and Judaism to children that are not necessarily fluent in the Hebrew language, since Rechov Sumsum is completely done in Hebrew. Unlike the main Sesame Street series, Shalom Sesame was independently distributed to PBS-member stations, and not by PBS themselves.
It includes characters from both Sesame Street and Rechov Sumsum, the Hebrew/Arabic version of Sesame Street, produced and aired in Israel, the Palestinian territories, and Jordan.
Also, as with the American series, the series featured special guests well known to American viewers. Guests included Itzhak Perlman, Bonnie Franklin, Mary Tyler Moore, Mandy Patinkin, Alan King, Joan Rivers, Nell Carter, Jerry Stiller, Jeremy Miller, Anne Meara, Tracey Gold, B.B. King, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Paul Shaffer.
In October 2010, a new 12-part Shalom Sesame series began, with stars including Jake Gyllenhaal, Christina Applegate, Debra Messing, Greg Kinnear, Anneliese van der Pol, and Cedric the Entertainer. The new series added Mahboub, an Arab Israeli muppet, and other new characters from the 2006 revival of Rechov Sumsum. It also features the Israeli singer Ayal Ingedashet, of Ethiopian Jewish background, as the human character Lamlam in each series.Stag (film)
Stag is a 1997 American thriller film, directed by Gavin Wilding, made for HBO and later released theatrically after drawing large ratings. Stag features an ensemble cast including Ben Gazzara, Andrew McCarthy, Taylor Dayne, Mario Van Peebles, Lawrence Leritz, William McNamara, John Henson, Kevin Dillon, and Jerry Stiller. It was produced by Lions Gate Entertainment.Stiller and Meara
Stiller and Meara (Jerry Stiller and Anne Meara) were a husband-and-wife comedy duo that was popular primarily in the 1960s and 1970s. They made frequent appearances on television variety shows such as The Ed Sullivan Show.
Stiller and Meara were among the earliest graduates of the Second City improvisational comedy troupe to become famous. When variety shows became scarce in the late 1970s, they had a syndicated short program, only five minutes long, which ran on the NBC affiliate in the Washington, D.C. market immediately after Saturday Night Live. They also did comical radio ads. During the mid-1970s Stiller and Meara made a couple of appearances together on the sitcom Rhoda. (Meara was a semi-regular during that show's third season, and Stiller appeared twice, playing her character's ex-husband.)
Anne Meara played Veronica Rooney, a cook on Archie Bunker's Place from 1979–82. She often made wisecracks and gave Archie a hard time. She insisted that Archie also hire her openly gay nephew Fred as a waiter to help him pay for law school. She was an alcoholic and privately pined to reconcile with her ex-husband, Carmine (who appeared in a few episodes, played by Stiller), but knew it wasn't going to happen. Meara appeared sporadically throughout the show's third season and left the show before the fourth and final year.
Stiller and Meara's career declined, however, as variety series gradually disappeared. The duo's own 1986 TV sitcom, The Stiller and Meara Show, in which Stiller played the deputy mayor of New York City and Meara portrayed his wife, a TV commercial actress, was unsuccessful. Stiller had better luck with his next series, playing George Costanza's father in Seinfeld.
In 1999 and from 2003 to 2007, Stiller and Meara reunited on several episodes of The King of Queens, on which Stiller played the supporting role of Arthur Spooner.
Comedians and actors Amy Stiller and Ben Stiller are their real-life children.
Prior to Meara's death in 2015, the duo were starring in a web series from Red Hour Digital, in which they discussed current topics.That's Adequate
That's Adequate is a 1989 mockumentary documenting a fictional Hollywood studio, Adequate Film Studios. Narrated and hosted by Tony Randall, the film features an all-star cast including James Coco (in his final film role), Robert Downey Jr., Anne Meara, Jerry Stiller, Bruce Willis and Ben Stiller.It was also the last one for actress Ina Balin, who had also appeared in Hurwitz's previous films such as The Projectionist and The Comeback Trail.The Heartbreak Kid (2007 film)
The Heartbreak Kid is a 2007 American romantic comedy film directed by the Farrelly brothers. Starring Ben Stiller, it is a remake of the 1972 film of the same name. The film was originally titled The Seven Day Itch, but Peter Farrelly revealed the filmmakers lost a lawsuit over the name; after attempts to find another title and suggestions of several other possible titles, the studio had them use the title The Heartbreak Kid. Also starring are Michelle Monaghan, Malin Åkerman, Jerry Stiller, Rob Corddry, Carlos Mencia, Scott Wilson and Danny McBride. The screenplay for the 2007 film was written by Leslie Dixon, Scot Armstrong, the Farrelly brothers and Kevin Barnett.The Ritz (film)
The Ritz is a 1976 American comedy farce film directed by Richard Lester based on the play of the same title by Terrence McNally. Actress Rita Moreno, who had won a Tony Award for her performance as Googie Gomez in the 1975 Broadway production, and many others of the original cast like Jack Weston, Jerry Stiller, and F. Murray Abraham, reprise their onstage roles in the film version. Also in the cast were Kaye Ballard and Treat Williams. The film, Jack Weston, and Rita Moreno all received Golden Globe nominations in the comedy category. It opened to mixed reviews.The Stiller and Meara Show
The Stiller and Meara Show was a proposed 1986 television sitcom featuring the comedy duo Stiller and Meara (Jerry Stiller and Anne Meara) as the deputy mayor of New York (Stiller) and his wife, a TV commercial actress (Meara).WAER
WAER (88.3 FM) is a radio station in Syracuse, New York. It is located on the campus of Syracuse University, and is an auxiliary service of the school. The station features a jazz music and National Public Radio format, with a news and music staff providing programming around the clock. It is best known for its sports staff, which has produced the likes of Bob Costas, Marv Albert, Dick Stockton, Mike Tirico, Sean McDonough, Bill Roth, Ian Eagle, Brian Higgins, Adam Schein, Hank Greenwald, Dave O'Brien (sportscaster), Andy Musser, Beth Mowins, Andrew Catalon, Carter Blackburn, Dave Pasch, Cory Provus, Jason Benetti, Todd Kalas and many others. Lou Reed also hosted a free-format show on WAER during his time at Syracuse University; this free-format radio tradition at Syracuse is carried on by WERW. Other alums include Ted Koppel, Jerry Stiller and Dick Clark.