‘The Tonight Show’: Ben Stiller Opens Up About His Parents’ 61-year Relationship

by Jeremy Spirogis
Ben Stiller

Ben Stiller got here from a present business household. His mother and father have been Jerry Stiller and Anne Meara, who have been a comedy duo and actors earlier than him. Meara died in 2015 and Jerry handed away May 11. Ben has been sharing tales about each of them as he mourns, and he appeared on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon on May 20 to rejoice his mother and father’ reminiscence. 

Ben Stiller admired his mother and father’ relationship

Even when Jerry misplaced Meara, they’d been collectively greater than six many years. Ben admired his mother and father, particularly when he acquired to see them work in individual. 

Ben Stiller's Parents
Jerry Stiller and Anne Meara | Walter McBride/Corbis through Getty Images

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“My dad and my mom, they were such a unit together,” Stiller advised Fallon. “They just had this amazing chemistry and were married for 60+ years and worked together their whole lives. To watch them do their thing together, the way he was always funny, he wasn’t really trying to be funny. He wanted to be funny but he wouldn’t go for a laugh. He would just be himself.”

Jerry Stiller and Anne Meara return to the ’50s

Jerry and Meara have been an merchandise within the 1950s they usually married. The Stiller and Meara comedy act started a decade later. 

Jerry Stiller and Anne Meara | Walter McBride/Corbis through Getty Images

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“They started out in the late ’50s,” Stiller mentioned. “They got married in 1953. I think they started doing their act around 1960 to try to make money because they were both starving actors.”

Comedy was Jerry Stiller’s concept 

Ben says his father was the one pushing for them to be a comedy act. Meara had aspirations for drama, which she nonetheless acquired to do.

Stiller and Meara's starStiller and Meara's star
Jerry Stiller and Anne Meara’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame | Jason LaVeris/WireImage

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“My dad always wanted to do comedy,’ Stiller said. “My mom never really did. She was a serious actress. My dad dragged her into it and of course she was brilliant at it. It always stressed her out.”

The Stillers landed primo gigs

When Stiller and Meara have been on the scene, The Ed Sullivan Show was the primo gig for a comic, like The Tonight Show grew to become. Sullivan saved inviting them again. 

The Tonight ShowThe Tonight Show
The Tonight Show | NBCUniversal

“They’d go on The Ed Sullivan Show which was large, 30 million individuals watching,” Stiller mentioned. “He had to invite you back the next week so there was always that pressure, every time they went on. They did it 35 times, something like that.” 

Ben Stiller can see how many individuals his mother and father impacted

Although shedding Jerry is a tragedy, one silver lining for Ben has been the outpouring of help from individuals near each Jerry and Meara. It exhibits Ben that his mother and father not solely liked one another, however they liked colleagues and mates, who liked them in return.

L-R: Jerry Stiller, Anne Meara, Amy Stiller and Ben Stiller | Theo Wargo/WireImage

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Lots of people have reached out which has been very nice, simply to really feel how a lot he touched individuals, how a lot enjoyment he gave individuals. I do know that he would have felt good about all this. If you had requested him, ‘Do you care about all the show business aspect of things?’ and he actually did. He’d all the time say, ‘But I really care about my kids and my kids being happy.” He’d be so joyful watching us do our factor, or his grandkids do their factor. 

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