Stiller was born in Brooklyn,New York to Bella and William Stiller.He was the eldest of four children. Stiller grew up in the Williamsburg and East New York neighborhoods before his family moved to the Lower East Side, where he attended Seward Park High School.
After high school,he was drafted in the army and after his return,he attended Syracuse University,graduating with a bachelor’s degree in Speech and Drama in 1950. He also studied drama at HB Studio in Greenwich Village.
Stiller met his wife actor Anne Meara and they got married in 1954.On Stiller’s suggestion,the two became a comedy team and they joined the Chicago improvisational company,The Compass Players, later known as The Second City.
They later left the company and begun performing together.By the 1960s and ’70s,the comedy team Stiller and Meara, was a big success, with numerous appearances on television variety programs, mainly on The Ed Sullivan Show.
However,their career dwindled as variety series gradually disappeared, but they subsequently forged a career in radio commercials, notably the campaign for Blue Nun wine. They also starred in their own syndicated five-minute sketch comedy show, Take Five with Stiller and Meara (1977–1978).
From 1979 to 1982, 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.
Late in his career, Stiller scored a role on the sitcom Seinfeld as Frank Costanza , father of George Costanza, from 1993-1998. His portrayal of Frank was so remarkable that he got nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series in 1997 and won an American Comedy Award for Funniest Male Guest Appearance in a TV Series in 1998.
After Seinfeld ended, Stiller joined the cast of The King of Queens. He played the role of Arthur Spooner, the father of Carrie Heffernan, from 1998 until 2007.
Stiller has also 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. Starting in October 2010, Stiller and Meara began starring in a Yahoo web series, Stiller & Meara from Red Hour Digital, in which they discussed current topics. Each episode was about two minutes long.
Stiller was married to Anne Meara for over 60 years: from 1954 until her death on May 23, 2015. Stiller met Anne in an agent’s office and offered to take her out for coffee after her upsetting interaction with the casting agent.
Together they had two children comedian-actor Ben Stiller (1965)and actress Amy Stiller (1961).
The announcement of Jerry’s death was made on May 11, 2020 by his son.He died of natural causes.
I’m sad to say that my father, Jerry Stiller, passed away from natural causes. He was a great dad and grandfather, and the most dedicated husband to Anne for about 62 years. He will be greatly missed. Love you Dad. pic.twitter.com/KyoNsJIBz5
— Ben Stiller (@RedHourBen) May 11, 2020