Ben Stiller’s father, comedian Jerry Stiller, has died at the age of 92 from natural causes, it has been confirmed.
The Seinfeld star’s passing was confirmed by his son Ben Stiller, who wrote on Twitter: “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.”
Stiller and his wife Anne Meara made up prominent 1960s comedy team, Stiller and Meara.
He later played George Costanzas’ father Frank on the hit sitcom Seinfeld and Arthur Spooner on the CBS comedy series The King of Queens, aswell as alongside his son Ben and daughter-in-law Christine Taylor as Maury Ballstein in Zoolander.
He appeared in 26 episodes of Seinfeld as Constanza, from 1993-98, with Estelle Harris playing his wife, and was Emmy nominated for his work on the show in 1997.
Stiller also appeared in both film versions of Hairspray, 1988’s John Waters feature, in which he played the father of Ricki Lake’s Tracy Turnblad, and the 2007 Adam Shankman-directed adaptation.
Often appearing in films with his son, he also starred in 2007’s The Heartbreak Kid. The father and son first appeared together in the forgettable 1987 comedy Hot Pursuit.
He was married to Anne Meara – who appeared in Sex and the City – for 61 years until Meara’s death of a stroke in 2015 at the age of 85.
They met in 1953 and married the following year.
Throughout the 1960s, the married comedy duo were members of the ‘improv’ group, the Compass Players, which later became Second City. They rose to popularity while performing in Las Vegas nightclubs and various TV shows, often in character as the squabbling spouses Mary Elizabeth Doyle and Hershey Horowitz.
Although Meara had converted to Judaism when the couple were married, Stiller and Meara’s material centred on the differences in their ethnic backgrounds.
In 2010, they took their act online, performing from the front room of their New York apartment. Stiller and Meara shared a star on the Hollywood Walk in Fame, awarded in 2007.
Tributes for the legendary comic have flooded social media, with one fan remembering him as ‘the nicest man in showbiz’.
“I grew up a big fan of this wonderful actor and comedian, and thanks to my friendship with Amy Stiller, I had the great honor of hanging out with him a few times. Literally the nicest man I ever met in show business. Rest In Peace, Jerry Stiller,” comedian Frank Conniff said.