Rest in Peace, Comedy Legend Jerry Stiller: 1927-2020

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Rock Cellar Magazine

Jerry Stiller, beloved actor and comedian and father of Ben Stiller, has passed away at the age of 92 from natural causes.

Ben Stiller confirmed the news with a tweet early Monday morning, saying:

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.

His career spanning decades, Stiller and wife Anne Meara formed a formidable comedy duo in the 1960s:

Thirty years later, Stiller became a stalwart of the television screen throughout much of the 1990s, beloved by millions for his portrayal of Frank Constanza, father of Jason Alexander’s George Costanza on Seinfeld, a recurring role in the hit ’90s television series.

A master of irreverence, Jerry Stiller clearly put everything into the Frank Costanza role, earning him a status of reverence among the show’s fans as Frank Constanza found himself caught up in some of the series’ most iconic moments.

Stiller also had a regular role on The King of Queens, the CBS series starring Kevin James and Leah Remini that ran from 1998 until 2007, Stiller playing the father figure to Remini’s Carrie.

Remini shared a reflection on Instagram:

James reflected as well:

Variety published an extensive look back on the life and career of Jerry Stiller, notable for much more than merely his iconic ’90s TV roles:

Stiller was born in New York City. He graduated from Syracuse University with a B.S. in speech and drama, and he also studied drama at HB Studio in Greenwich Village.

He made his Broadway debut in 1954 in the original musical comedy “The Golden Apple.” He also appeared on the Rialto in a revival of “The Threepenny Opera,” 1957 revivals of “Measure for Measure” and “The Taming of the Shrew,” “The Power and the Glory” (based on the Graham Greene novel), “The Ritz” (1975) and “Unexpected Guests” (1977). In 1980, Stiller had the starring role in the Frank Langella-directed “Passione,” by Albert Innaurato.

More impressive was David Rabe’s Mike Nichols-directed “Hurlyburly” (1984-85), a caustic satire of Hollywood in which Stiller played a hack screenwriter. The New York Times said: The cast could not be better… Mr. Stiller, the sole representative of Hollywood’s older, Jewish generation, is a frazzled amalgam of vulgarity and wounded vanity — loonily outfitted (by Ann Roth) in Western gear.”

He made his screen debut in 1956 in a segment of “Studio One in Hollywood.”

He will be missed, Rest in peace, Jerry Stiller.


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