“I’m sad to say that my father, Jerry Stiller, passed away from natural causes,” Ben Stiller wrote. “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.” Anne Meara, who was the other half of Stiller’s comedy duo Stiller & Meara, previously died at the age of 85 in 2015.
Jerry Stiller was born on June 8, 1927 in Brooklyn, New York. He served in the U.S. Army toward the end of World War II and returned to New York after, which is where he eventually met his future wife and comedy partner, Anne Meara. Their act, which made light of their contrasting personalities, religious backgrounds, and the fact that she was two inches taller, found success on variety TV shows like The Ed Sullivan Show.
From 1993 to 1998, Stiller famously played Frank Costanza, the short-tempered, grievance-ridden father of Jason Alexander‘s George on Seinfeld, for which he was nominated for an Outstanding Guest Actor Emmy. (The Season 9 episode “The Strike,” in which Frank introduces Festivus, the December 23 holiday he invented to replace Christmas, is one of the sitcom’s most enduringly popular episodes, largely due to Stiller’s character.) From 1998 to 2007, he played Arthur Spooner, the father of Leah Remini‘s Carrie, on The King of Queens.
Stiller has appeared in several of his son Ben Stiller’s movies, including Zoolander, Heavyweights, The Heartbreak Kid, and Zoolander 2. In 2001, Stiller published a memoir about his time working with his wife, Married to Laughter: A Love Story Featuring Anne Meara.
Stiller was married to Meara until her death in 2015. He is survived by his son Ben, daughter Amy, and two grandchildren.
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. pic.twitter.com/KyoNsJIBz5
— Ben Stiller (@RedHourBen) May 11, 2020