Actor, comedian Jerry Stiller dies at 92

Carmel Dagan
Actor and comedian Jerry Stiller (L), father of Ben, has died aged 92

Jerry Stiller, actor and comedian and father to Ben Stiller, has died. He was 92.

Ben Stiller confirmed his father's death early on Monday morning, writing 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."

After a long career performing in comedy routines, appearing on Broadway and guest starring in TV series, Stiller became known for his role on "Seinfeld" as Frank Constanza, as Leah Remini's father on "The King of Queens" and as Zoolander's manager in the comedy directed by his son.

Jerry appeared in 26 Seinfeld episodes as the father of George (Jason Alexander), from 1993-98, with Estelle Harris playing his wife Estelle. Stiller was Emmy-nominated in 1997 for his work on the show.

Although known as a comedian, he was also a serious dramatic actor with a long history on Broadway.

Long before Stiller became known for his appearances on Seinfeld and The King of Queens, Stiller and his wife, Anne Meara, were a top comedy act in the 1960s, appearing 36 times on The Ed Sullivan Show. Meara and Stiller were members of the 'improv' group, the Compass Players, which later became Second City.

Although Meara had converted to Judaism when the couple were married, Stiller and Meara's material centred on the differences in their ethnic backgrounds, epitomised by their signature "Hershey Horowitz/Mary Elizabeth Doyle" routines.

Meara died in May 2015.

On The King of Queens, where he was a series regular from 1998-2007, he played the much-married Arthur Spooner, the father of Remini's Carrie Heffernan.

Jerry appeared in both film versions of "Hairspray," the 1988 John Waters nostalgia trip in which he and Divine played the parents of Ricki Lake's Tracy Turnblad, and the 2007 Adam Shankman-directed feature adaptation of the musical based on the Waters film, in which Stiller played Mr Pinky.

Jerry and Ben Stiller first appeared together in the forgettable 1987 comedy "Hot Pursuit." In Ben's first feature directorial effort, 1994's "Reality Bites", Meara and sister Amy both had roles, but Jerry was absent except in the credits, where he was thanked.

Stiller and Meara starred in Joan Micklin Silver's 1999 feature "A Fish in the Bathtub," about a couple who have been bickering for decades, finally prompting the wife to move in with their son, played by Mark Ruffalo.

Stiller and Meara shared a star on the Hollywood Walk in Fame, awarded in 2007.