Jerry Stiller, Star Of 'Seinfeld' And 'King Of Queens,' Dead At 92

  
Via:  john-russell  •  2 weeks ago  •  16 comments

Jerry Stiller, Star Of 'Seinfeld' And 'King Of Queens,' Dead At 92

S E E D E D   C O N T E N T





Jerry Stiller, a classically trained actor who became a comedy star twice — in the 1960s in partnership with his wife, Anne Meara, and in the 1990s with a memorable recurring role on “Seinfeld” — has died. He was 92.





His death was confirmed on Monday by his son, the actor Ben Stiller,   in a tweet , who said his father had died of natural causes.





Mr. Stiller’s accomplishments as an actor were considerable. He appeared on Broadway in Terrence McNally’s frantic farce “The Ritz” in 1975 and David Rabe’s dark drama “Hurlyburly” in 1984. Off Broadway, he was in “The Threepenny Opera”; in Central Park, he played Shakespearean clowns for Joseph Papp; onscreen, he was seen as, among other things, a police detective in “The Taking of Pelham One, Two, Three” (1974) and Divine’s husband in John Waters’s “Hairspray” (1988). But he was best known as a comedian.





The team of Stiller and Meara was for many years a familiar presence in nightclubs, on television variety and talk shows, and in radio and television commercials, most memorably for Blue Nun wine and Amalgamated Bank.





Years after the act broke up, Mr. Stiller captured a new generation of fans as Frank Costanza, the short-tempered and not entirely sane father of Jason Alexander’s George, on the NBC series “Seinfeld,” one of the most successful television comedies of all time.



Mr. Stiller was in fewer than 30 of the 180 episodes of “Seinfeld,” whose nine seasons began in 1989, and he did not make his first appearance until the fifth season. (Another actor appeared as Frank in one episode of Season 4, although his scenes were later reshot with Mr. Stiller for the syndicated reruns.) But he was an essential part of the show’s enduring appeal.






Frank Costanza was a classic sitcom eccentric whose many dubious accomplishments included marketing a brassiere for men and creating Festivus, a winter holiday “for the rest of us” celebrated with tests of strength and other bizarre rituals.





His most noteworthy characteristic was his explosive, often irrational anger, and most of the episodes on which he was featured found him, sooner or later, yelling, usually at either his son; his wife, Estelle, played by Estelle Harris; or both.





Just a few months after the final episode of “Seinfeld” (in which Frank had one last moment in the spotlight and, of course, spent most of it yelling), broadcast on May 14, 1998, Mr. Stiller was back on television playing another off-kilter father — a marginally more restrained version of Frank Costanza — on another sitcom, “The King of Queens,” which made its debut that fall on CBS.





A regular this time, he played Arthur Spooner, the excitable father of the wife (Leah Remini) of the working-slob central character (Kevin James), for the show’s entire nine-season run.





A guest star on several episodes of “The King of Queens” was Ms. Meara, whose character married his in the series finale. Younger viewers might not have known it, but their scenes together represented the reunion of one of the most successful male-female comedy teams of all time.





Mr. Stiller and Ms. Meara met in 1953, when they were both struggling actors, and married shortly afterward. They worked together in 1959 with the Compass Players, an improvisational theater group that later evolved into the Second City. They began performing as a duo in New York nightclubs in 1961 and soon made the first of about three dozen appearances on “The Ed Sullivan Show.”



Mr. Stiller was in fewer than 30 of the 180 episodes of “Seinfeld,” whose nine seasons began in 1989, and he did not make his first appearance until the fifth season. (Another actor appeared as Frank in one episode of Season 4, although his scenes were later reshot with Mr. Stiller for the syndicated reruns.) But he was an essential part of the show’s enduring appeal.






Frank Costanza was a classic sitcom eccentric whose many dubious accomplishments included marketing a brassiere for men and creating Festivus, a winter holiday “for the rest of us” celebrated with tests of strength and other bizarre rituals.





His most noteworthy characteristic was his explosive, often irrational anger, and most of the episodes on which he was featured found him, sooner or later, yelling, usually at either his son; his wife, Estelle, played by Estelle Harris; or both.





Just a few months after the final episode of “Seinfeld” (in which Frank had one last moment in the spotlight and, of course, spent most of it yelling), broadcast on May 14, 1998, Mr. Stiller was back on television playing another off-kilter father — a marginally more restrained version of Frank Costanza — on another sitcom, “The King of Queens,” which made its debut that fall on CBS.





A regular this time, he played Arthur Spooner, the excitable father of the wife (Leah Remini) of the working-slob central character (Kevin James), for the show’s entire nine-season run.





A guest star on several episodes of “The King of Queens” was Ms. Meara, whose character married his in the series finale. Younger viewers might not have known it, but their scenes together represented the reunion of one of the most successful male-female comedy teams of all time.








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JohnRussell
1  seeder  JohnRussell    2 weeks ago

I think I have seen all of the episodes of both Seinfeld and King Of Queens over the past thirty years. 

In my opinion those two characters , Frank Costanza and Arthur Spooner , were among the funniest characters in tv history.  Jerry Stiller was a brilliant comic actor with incredible timing. 

Arthur Spooner was a much bigger part, he was in almost every episode and sometimes the story centered around his character. He was worth tuning in to see the show for his character alone. 

 
 
 
Vic Eldred
1.1  Vic Eldred  replied to  JohnRussell @1    2 weeks ago

He got better with age, and ya, I loved the Arthur Spooner character. I'm older than you and I can remember the old Stiller and Meara act. 

 
 
 
Just Jim NC TttH
1.1.1  Just Jim NC TttH  replied to  Vic Eldred @1.1    2 weeks ago

Me too. It seemed they were on Ed Sullivan every other week............Funny people.

 
 
 
Vic Eldred
1.1.2  Vic Eldred  replied to  Just Jim NC TttH @1.1.1    2 weeks ago

And they produced Ben Stiller! What great comedy!

 
 
 
JohnRussell
2  seeder  JohnRussell    2 weeks ago

 
 
 
JohnRussell
2.1  seeder  JohnRussell  replied to  JohnRussell @2    2 weeks ago

 
 
 
JohnRussell
2.1.1  seeder  JohnRussell  replied to  JohnRussell @2.1    2 weeks ago

 
 
 
JohnRussell
2.2  seeder  JohnRussell  replied to  JohnRussell @2    2 weeks ago

 
 
 
Sister Mary Agnes Ample Bottom
3  Sister Mary Agnes Ample Bottom    2 weeks ago

I never watched King of Queens, but loved him on Seinfeld.  The 'stop-short' (aka:  ASSMAN) episode was a hoot!

 
 
 
Kavika
4  Kavika     2 weeks ago

He was a classic. 

RIP Jerry.

 
 
 
JaneDoe
5  JaneDoe    2 weeks ago

Rest easy Jerry.

One of my favorites. A Festivus for the rest of us, feats of strength and the airing of grievances    

 
 
 
Sister Mary Agnes Ample Bottom
5.1  Sister Mary Agnes Ample Bottom  replied to  JaneDoe @5    2 weeks ago
Festivus

I forgot about that one!

 
 
 
JaneDoe
5.1.1  JaneDoe  replied to  Sister Mary Agnes Ample Bottom @5.1    2 weeks ago

One of the best. My tummy hurt from laughing so much.

 
 
 
Perrie Halpern R.A.
6  Perrie Halpern R.A.    2 weeks ago

One of the great funny men and a really funny team with his wife. So sad to see him go. 

 
 
 
Trout Giggles
7  Trout Giggles    2 weeks ago

I'm so sorry to hear this. I loved him on "Seinfeld". There's an outtake with him and Julia-Luis Dreyfuss who plaed Elaine Bennis where they're fighting with each other and they keep cracking each other up.

 
 
 
The People's Fish, Still "Hand Of The Queen"
8  The People's Fish, Still "Hand Of The Queen"    2 weeks ago

I really liked Jerry Stiller in episode 49 of the Munsters.

 
 
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