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Gerald Isaac "Jerry" 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. Stiller and Meara are the parents of actor Ben Stiller (with whom he co-starred in the movies Zoolander, Heavyweights, Hot Pursuit and The Heartbreak Kid) and actress Amy Stiller. Stiller played Frank Costanza on the television series Seinfeld, and Arthur Spooner on The King of Queens.

Personal life

Jerry Stiller -Personal life

The eldest of four children, Stiller was born in Unity Hospital, Brooklyn, New York to Bella (née Citron) and William Stiller, a bus driver. His family was of Polish Jewish descent. His paternal grandparents immigrated from Galicia, 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.

A drama major at Syracuse University, he earned 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."


Stiller has two children who followed in his own footsteps: actor/comedian, Ben Stiller, and actress, Amy Stiller. Ben married actress Christine Taylor; the couple have two children.

Stiller and Meara

Jerry Stiller -Stiller and Meara

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 (1977â€"78).

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From 1979-82, 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.

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Jerry Stiller -Resurgence


thumb|Stiller in New York City in November 2005 Jerry Stiller played the irascible Frank Costanza, the father of George Costanza in the sitcom Seinfeld from 1993-98. 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.

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The King of Queens

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. Template:Citation needed Stiller obliged, and played the role of Arthur Spooner, the father of Carrie Heffernan, in the sitcom from 1998 until 2007. Stiller has said this role tested his acting ability more than any others have and that, before being a part of King of Queens, he only saw himself as a "decent actor".

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Other appearances

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 2007-08 Snakes & Arrows Tour. Stiller appeared on Dick Clark's $10,000 Pyramid show as himself in the 70's, but actual footage of this appearance was later twisted into an episode of King of Queens to make it appear that his character was a contestant on the show, and he was bitter as he never received his parting gift, a lifetime supply of "Rice-A-Roni, the San Francisco Treat".

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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 discuss current topics. Each episode lasts about two minutes.

As author

Jerry Stiller -As author

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.


Jerry Stiller -Advertising

As of 2012, Stiller has been a spokesman for Xfinity.

Selected filmography


  • Lovers and Other Strangers (1970) as Jim (Carol's father; uncredited)
  • The Taking of Pelham One Two Three (1974) as Lt. Rico Patrone
  • Airport 1975 (1974) as Sam
  • The Ritz (1976) as Carmine Vespucci
  • Seize the Day (1986) as Dr. Tamkin
  • Hot Pursuit (1987) as Victor Honeywell
  • Nadine (1987) as Raymond Escobar
  • Hairspray (1988) as Wilbur Turnblad
  • Sweet 15 (1990) as Mr. Waterman
  • Freefall (1992 film) (1992) as Emily's Father
  • Highway to Hell (1992) as The Desk Cop
  • The Pickle (1993) as Phil Hirsch
  • Heavyweights (1995) as Harvey Bushkin
  • Subway Stories (1997) as man in the subway
  • Camp Stories (1997) as Schlomo
  • Stag (1997) as Ted
  • The Suburbans (1999) as Speedo Silverburg
  • Secret of the Andes (1999) as Dr. Golfisch
  • The Independent (2000) as Monty Fineman
  • Chump Change (2001) as The Colonel
  • Zoolander (2001) as Maury Ballstein
  • On the Line (2001) as Nathan
  • Serving Sara (2002) as Milton the Cop
  • Teacher's Pet (2004) as Pretty Boy (voice)
  • The Lion King 1½ (2004) (direct-to-DVD) as Uncle Max (voice)
  • R30: 30th Anniversary World Tour (2005) as himself
  • Hairspray (2007) as Mr. Pinky
  • The Heartbreak Kid (2007) as Doc
  • Snakes & Arrows Live (2008) as "Heidi"
  • Foodfight! (2012) as General X (voice)
  • Planes: Fire & Rescue (2014) as Harvey (voice)


  • The Paul Lynde Show as Barney Dickerson (1972â€"1973)
  • Time Express (1979)
  • Archie Bunker's Place as Carmine (1980)
  • Madame X (1981)
  • Tales from the Darkside as Luther Mandrake (one episode, 1985)
  • Murder, She Wrote episode 118 (Season 6, episode 8), "When The Fat Lady Sings" as SFPD Lt. Birnbaum (1989)
  • Seinfeld as Frank Costanza (1993â€"98) (26 episodes)
  • Touched by an Angel as half of the comedy team Salt And Pepper (1998)
  • The King of Queens as Arthur Spooner (1998â€"2007)
  • Fish Hooks as Principal Stickler (2010-2011) (21 episodes)
  • The Good Wife as Judge Felix Afterman (2011)
  • How Murray Saved Christmas as Murray Weiner (2014) (TV movie, voice)

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