Actor and comedian Jerry Stiller, best known for playing Frank Costanza on Seinfeld, has died at the age of 92. The news was confirmed by his son, actor Ben Stiller, who posted the following 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 had a long and successful career in comedy, beginning in the sixties when he appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show with his wife Anne Meara. Over the following decades, he amassed an impressive resume, becoming a regular fixture on film and TV. Notable productions included Hairspray, King of Queens, Anchorman, Law & Order, Homicide: Life on the Street and Murder She Wrote. He also appeared alongside his son Ben in Zoolander and Zoolander 2.
But to audiences worldwide, he’ll forever be George Costanza’s insane father Frank. Even though Stiller’s death is a tragedy, I’ve got a smile on my face right now because I’m remembering him yelling “Serenity now!”, beginning his Festivus celebrations with the airing of grievances (“I’ve got a lot of problems with you people! And now, you’re gonna hear about it!”) and, of course, his truly epic war story about his tragic experiences as a chef in the Korean War. In a show filled with many, many funny people, Jerry Stiller was one of the funniest.
Stiller treasured his time on the series, too, saying:
“I’ll never forget, on the first day of the shoot in front of the audience… the whole cast surrounded me, wishing me well. They were rooting for me. They were protecting me from the fear… From that day on, those were the best years of my life as an actor.”
RIP Jerry Stiller 1927 – 2020.