Actress and comedian Anne Meara, mother of Ben Stiller, dies at 85

25 May 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Actor and comedian Anne Meara, mother of Ben Stiller, dies at 85.

LOS ANGELES (AP) – Anne Meara, the loopy, lovable comedian who launched a standup career with husband Jerry Stiller in the 1950s and found success as an actress in films, on TV and the stage, has died. Born in Brooklyn on Sept. 20, 1929, she was a red-haired, Irish-Catholic girl who struck a vivid contrast to Stiller, a Jewish guy from Manhattan’s Lower East Side who was two years older and four inches shorter. The couple starred together as Stiller and Meara on The Ed Sullivan Show five decades ago and took home several awards for the TV and radio commercials they recorded together. Wife of comedian Jerry Stiller and actor Ben Stiller’s mother, Meara was an award winning performer who had enjoyed a six decade long career alongside her husband.

The Stiller family released a statement to the Associated Press on Sunday, in which they described Jerry Stiller as Meara’s “husband and partner in life”. They logged 36 appearances on “The Ed Sullivan Show” and were a successful team in Las Vegas, major nightclubs, on records and in commercials (scoring big for Blue Nun wine with their sketches on radio).

Meara also appeared in dozens of films and TV shows, including a longtime role on All My Children and recurring appearances on Rhoda, Alf, Sex and the City and The King of Queens. The statement from the family said, “The two were married for 61 years and worked together almost as long.” Hollywood took to Twitter to express their condolences. Meara and Stiller, who met in 1953 at an agent’s office and married a few months later, worked together in the Compass Players comedy troupe, a precursor to the Second City organization, before forming their own duo. Meara was twice nominated for an Emmy Award for her supporting role on Archie Bunker’s Place, along with two other Emmy nods, most recently in 1997 for her guest-starring role on Homicide. Much of their humor was marriage-based and focused on height – Stiller was 5-foot-4 (1.62 meters), Meara was taller – and ethnicity – he was Jewish, she was of Irish heritage. “Our marriage has lasted because we have the same feelings of insecurity about being an actor.

I picked up her check for 10 cents and thought, ‘This is a girl I’d like to hang out with.’” But this was a mixed marriage — referring to their respective families, Meara said, “Nobody was thrilled when we got married, absolutely nobody.” But they accepted it, she added with perfect comic timing: “Nobody sat shiva.” Despite her theater background, Meara, with her bright eyes and cheeky smile, was a quick study as a comedian when she and Stiller performed in improv groups. Verified email addresses: All users on Independent Media news sites are now required to have a verified email address before being allowed to comment on articles. You think, during the Renaissance, people called it ‘The Renaissance’?” The husband-and-wife act was born of desperation shortly after the birth of their first child, Amy, in 1961.

They created routines and began touring, as well as landing gigs in New York clubs and coffee houses. “He scared the stuff out of me,” Meara recalled in a 2010 interview. “I wasn’t the only one. In one routine, which Stiller considered “a breakthrough,” they played two single people (a Jewish lad and Catholic gal) matched by a computer — and discovering what, in those days, were the sort of problematic differences they had surmounted in real life: Then quickly the pair realize they have plenty in common: They live on the same New York City block, and both love to dance. In 2010, the pair reunited on-screen for “Stiller & Meara: A Show About Everything,” a chatty Web series produced by their son and shot in their longtime home on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. Their off-the-cuff banter was informed by their lifetime partnership: Mearer: “A person who is very bright, and figured a lot of people want to share the mundane, miserable moments of their lives with other people: ‘I’m your friend, and I just came back from going to the john.

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