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Jerry Stiller, the Emmy award-winning Seinfeldactor and comedian, has died. He was 92.
His son, actor Ben Stiller, confirmed the news via Twitter on May 11, writing, "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."
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
Jerry was born in Brooklyn, New York, on June 8, 1927. Though he was raised in Brooklyn, he relocated to Manhattan’s Lower East Side where he attended Seward Park High School. He joined the service during World War II and earned a bachelor’s degree in speech and drama from Syracuse University in 1950. Three years later, Jerry met Anne Meara, whom he married in 1955. The couple welcomed two children, Amy, born in 1961 and Ben, born in 1965.
Jerry and Anne quickly became a comedy duo and joined the improve collective at The Compass Players (later known as The Second City). The pair made multiple appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show during the 1960's and 1970's and landed a syndicated five-minute sketch show, Take Five with Stiller and Meara, that aired from 1977 to 1978. The couple also hosted HBO Sneak Previews from 1979 until 1982 and debuted the sitcom The Stiller and Meara Show in 1986.
Throughout the ‘80s, Jerry took his acting and comedy chops to hit shows like Saturday Night Live, Murder, She Wrote, Homicide: Life on the Street, L.A. Law, Law & Order, A Rat's Tale, Hot Pursuit and the musical Hairspray, before enjoying a career surge on Seinfeld where he played George Constanza’s father, Frank Costanza. The role earned Jerry an Emmy for Outstanding Guest Actor and an American Pop Culture Award. His portrayal of George's high-strung retired father became a titular supporting character on the series and his impact trickled into pop culture. Seinfeld's "The Strike" episode which introduced Festivus — a fictitious holiday created by Frank and Cosmo Kramer (Richards) — remains a fan favorite, especially during the holiday season. Besides fans celebrating the holiday annually and multiple internet memes floating around the internet, Jerry penned the forward to a book dedicated to Festivus.
After Seinfeld ended in 1998, Jerry joined the cast of King of Queensat the request of show star, Kevin James. Jerry portrayed Arthur Spooner on the sitcom, daughter of Leah Remini’s character, Carrie Heffernan.
In addition to his tenure on the King of Queens, Jerry appeared in a reboot of Hairspray along with the films The Heartbreak Kid, Hot Pursuit,Teacher's Pet and Zoolanderwhere he starred with his son, Ben, and Will Ferrell who he worked with on Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy. The King of Queens ended in 2007 after nearly a decade on air.That same year, Jerry and Anne received a joint star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. The pair also appeared on an episode of The Daily Show With Jon Stewart and worked together frequently over the last several decades including starring in the web series, Stiller & Meara. Later in his career, Jerry voiced a character in the TV series Fish Hooks, and returned for the Zoolander sequel and TV movie for what would be his final acting gigs.
In 2015, Jerry’s wife of 61 years, died after suffering multiple strokes. In January 2019, Jerry was briefly hospitalized for an undisclosed medical emergency. Although further details were not released, a source close to the acting veteran denied that he suffered a stroke.
Jerry Stiller is survived by his son, daughter, and two grandchildren.