It was just over a week ago that Ben Stiller announced on Twitter that his father, Jerry Stiller, had passed away at the age of 92. On Monday, the Zoolander star opened up about his father's final weeks in an interview with The New Yorker.
"He was just slowing down a lot, and he was dealing with a lot of issues," Stiller said about his father near the end. "The last week or two were tougher for him," he added. While he said that his father did die peacefully, "he had a sense of humor, for sure, until the end." However, he wasn't sure if that was the right term. "I hesitate to call it a sense of humor," he continued. "He was just funny, and so he was always himself. He was almost 93, and I think his body was kind of at that point where it was time."
Stiller also talked about what it was growing up with funny parents. Not only was Jerry Stiller a comedy legend, he regularly collaborated with his wife and fellow comedian, Anne Meara. While the actor said he was used to his parents working from home and loved watching them perform, "but as parents, they're always your parents."
The actor also admitted that while it took him a while before it occurred to him how funny both his parents were. "Honestly, when I think about it, it's really when I got a little bit older, when I was a teenager, that I was able to really appreciate their humor. And then, really, as I got much older and was able to have a perspective, I was able to really see outside of the lens of just being their kid."
After Stiller announced the passing of his father on Twitter, tributes from co-stars like Jerry Seinfeld, Jason Alexander and Leah Remini poured in. Even actor Michael Richards broke his long-standing social media silence to weigh in on Jerry Stiller's legacy. The sentiment quickly spread to mention fans, who had a field day reminiscing about his extraordinary work on Seinfeld, where he played Frank Costanza, the irate father to Alexander's equally irate George.
Among the many tributes to the late Jerry Stiller was one from another comedy legend, Fred Willard. The Best in Show star tweeted on May 11 about the "bad time" between Stiller's death and Little Richard's, which came within days. Willard himself passed away on Friday.