Ben Stiller on late mother: We were ‘lucky to have had her’

25 May 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

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

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. Actors Jerry Stiller, Anne Meara,Ben Stiller and Christine Taylor arrive at the world premiere of Night at the Museum and official launch of the Natural History Museum’s sleepover program at the Natural History Museum on December 17, 2006 in New York City. 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. 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).

The statement issued to the Associated Press described Jerry Stiller as Meara’s “husband and partner in life.” “The two were married for 61 years and worked together almost as long,” the statement said. 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.

Their act often played off on their differences, and they created the “uber-Jewish guy” Hershey Horowitz and “uber-Irish girl” Mary Elizabeth Doyle, which they later described as caricatures of themselves, notes CNN. Meara and Stiller also took the time to pursue purely commercial endeavors and they “made a handsome living endorsing everything from banks to disposable lighters to moving companies—and wine,” notes the Hollywood Reporter. 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. The pair broke up their act in 1970, saying it was a necessary step if they hoped to save their marriage. “I love Anne, but if I had depended on her in my professional life, I would have lost her as a wife.

Meara agreed: “I didn’t know where the act ended and our marriage began.” Meara went on to appear in many TV shows, including Rhoda, the Love Boat, ALF, and, more recently, Sex and the City and King of Queens, to name a few. I took all that confusion seriously.” The couple had an old-fashioned appeal not unlike that of Burns and Allen, but Stiller and Meara were thick into the 1950s Beat Generation, an edgy, innovative arts scene based in New York’s Greenwich Village, where they had an apartment. “But WE thought that when the Village was REALLY happening was in the ’20s, the F. 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. 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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