Actress, comedian Anne Meara, nominated for 4 Emmys, dies

25 May 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Actress, comedian Anne Meara, nominated for 4 Emmys, dies.

‘The Stiller family is deeply saddened to share the beloved Anne Meara passed away last night at the age of 85,’ a statement from the family read. ‘She is survived by her husband and partner in life Jerry Stiller. ‘The two were married for 61 years and worked together almost as long. 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. More recently she played Mary Brady – the mother of bartender Steve Brady – who was in an on off relationship with Miranda Hobbes played by Cynthia Nixon in Sex and the City.

She also made a guest appearance on Will & Grace in 2001 and made a comeback with “Stiller & Meara,” in 2010 in a Yahoo comedy series produced in part by son Ben who has starred in scores of A-list films. Jerry Stiller and his son Ben Stiller say Meara died Saturday, May 23, 2015. (AP Photo/Marty Reichenthal, File) (Marty Reichenthal/AP) As Stiller and Meara, they appeared in comedy routines that joked about married life and their respective ethnic backgrounds. 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 and her husband co-starred with their son in several movies, including “Heavy Weights”, “Highway to Hell”, “The Independent”, which also featured Amy, and “Zoolander”, the latter of which Ben helmed. He also directed Meara in the cult 1994 movie “Reality Bites”, in which she played a newspaper editor who tells Winona Ryder’s main character LeLaina to “define irony”.

She made her off-Broadway debut in 1971 in John Guare’s award-winning play “The House of Blue Leaves.” A quarter-century later, she made her off-Broadway bow as a playwright with her comedy-drama, “After-Play.” Meara was an aspiring 23-year-old actress in 1953 when she responded to a “cattle call” by a New York agent casting for summer stock. After the agent chased her around his office, she burst into the waiting room, crying and out of breath, where she found Stiller, a fellow out-of-work actor then 25. “I took her out for coffee,” Stiller recalled decades later for The Associated Press. “She seemed to sense I had no money, so she just ordered coffee. 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.

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.

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