Ben Stiller Pays Tribute to His Late Mother Anne Meara

25 May 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

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

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.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. 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. 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. 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.

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. 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 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. 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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