Comedy fans everywhere were devastated to learn Monday morning that iconic actor and comedian Jerry Stiller had died at the age of 92. His son, actor Ben Stiller, confirmed the news 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, who is well known for playing George Costanza's dad in Seinfeld, suffered a health scare last year, four years after losing wife, Anne Meara, who died in 2015 after suffering multiple strokes at the age of 85. The two spent more than six decades married after tying the knot in 1954, later performing together as Stiller & Meara on sketch shows throughout the 1960s, including The Ed Sullivan Show. Keep scrolling to see the tributes to and memories of the late icon after the tragic news broke.
Breaking the News
Stiller's youngest child, who has performed alongside his father throughout his career, including in hit comedies like Zoolander, broke the news early Monday morning alongside a photo of his dad from earlier in his life.
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
'May He Rest in Eternal Peace'
Fans flocked to Ben Stiller's announcement to share kind and comforting words about his dad's death.
Our condolences Ben. Death is always untimely but also a fact of our lives. May he rest in peace.— Ibrahim Kalin (@ikalin1) May 11, 2020
OMG, I am so sorry, I loved his work. May he rest in eternal peace.— Danny (@danzu72) May 11, 2020
Others shared memories they had of the late actor or lessons he had taught them over the years.
Oh man, so so sorry to hear this Ben. Your father, as Arthur in King of Queens, brought so much laughter & joy to my wife & I. Just a few weeks ago we introduced him/his character to our kids and they loved him, laughed with him, too. He was such a talent, so sorry for your loss.— Mehdi Hasan (@mehdirhasan) May 11, 2020
I’m so sorry. Your father was so funny, and made no secret of his love for his family and hard work. His take on the two types of unknown actors in his book has stayed with me: “I couldn’t understand what it was that stopped any actor from saying, ‘I’m looking for work.’”— Connie Schultz (@ConnieSchultz) May 11, 2020
People who had even worked directly with Stiller over the years weighed in.
I had the honor of working with your Dad on “TKOQ”. After the table read, I was canned & your father talked to the producers & got me my job back. When I thanked him, he said, “Hey, it’s not Shakespeare!” A class act & a legend. What a gift to the world. Deepest condolences. pic.twitter.com/Uynoyoj20M— Parry Shen (@parryshen) May 11, 2020
I spent a wonderful evening with your mum and dad. They were protective of me and so funny. It was a night I will never forget. My sincere condolences xx— Jane Kennedy (@Jane_L_Kennedy) May 11, 2020
Others took the chance to honor Stiller with references to his iconic roles as Frank Costanza on Seinfeld and Arthur Spooner on The King of Queens.
What a legend....but I'll always remember him as Frank Costanza pic.twitter.com/5ty62KezRP— Jimmie (@redjimmie1981) May 11, 2020
I’m in shock what a loss truly a gent , n the most amazing actor so funny, I still watch him in uk 🇬🇧 every morning king of queens same time never missed it before work, even constantly repeating never gets boring he lived a great life, thoughts to his son Ben stiller 🙏🏼RIP Jerry pic.twitter.com/j7GLYrjkwz— peeps we can do this be strong 👏🏼for CARERS NHS (@jayjaygabore1) May 11, 2020
What a Life
Stiller was inspired at a young age to get into show business, marveling at the Marx Brothers' A Night at the Opera when taken to the movies at age 8 by his father, a bus driver in the Depression-era. Serving in World War II and earning a degree at Syracuse University, Stiller made his way to New York City to make a name for himself.
A brief involvement with Shakespearean theater, Stiller married Meara in 1954 and their careers took off. Performing on radio commercials and at night clubs, the couple's hilarious dynamic eventually got them to The Ed Sullivan Show. They would go on to have children Amy, 58, and Ben, 54, both of whom would work in show business as well. The father-son duo even performed together in Shoeshine, which was nominated for a 1988 Academy Award in the short subject category.
In His Own Words0comments
In 2005, Stiller shared some of the lessons and takeaways he had gathered from life over the years with Esquire, giving a look at his big heart and quick wit. "You’ll always know if I’m in the audience when Ben or our daughter, Amy, is performing. I’m the one laughing loudest," he wrote.
Of working with the next generation of actors, he added, "It’s difficult to reach back to the people who gave you your first break because most of them are dead. So I try to be helpful to the newcomers. But please, don’t send me your screenplays."