As Frank Costanza on Seinfeld, Jerry Stiller was nominated for a 1997 Emmy Award, won the 1998 American Comedy Award for ‘Funniest Male Guest Appearance in a Television Series’ and in 2008 was honored by viewers and the Paley Center for Media as ‘TV’s All Time Funniest Relative’. Following Seinfeld Jerry enjoyed a nine-year run as “Arthur Spooner” on the hit CBS series, King of Queens.
Jerry and his wife, Anne Meara, were part of The Compass Players (which later became Second City). Then as Stiller and Meara, they performed at David Gordon’s Phase II in Greenwich Village. They went on to play record-breaking engagements at Max Gordon’s Blue Angel and The Village Vanguard. They toured the country playing Mr. Kelly’s, The Hungry i, The Crescendo, The Flamingo and The Sands, working with Count Basie, The original Supremes, Billy Eckstein and Diahann Carroll. Anne and Jerry performed at The Establishment in London, and appeared thirty-six times on the Ed Sullivan Show.
Jerry made his legit debut in The Silver Whistle with Burgess Meredith, then appeared with Lawrence Tibbett and Veronica Lake in the National Company of Peter Pan. T. Hambleton and Norris Houghton cast him as a resident in the first two seasons at the Phoenix Theatre, where he appeared in The Golden Apple and later Coriolanous for John Houseman. He worked again for Mr. Houseman at the Stratford Festival.
Broadway has seen Jerry in Hurlyburly, directed by Mike Nichols, The Ritz, Passione, The Golden Apple, Unexpected Guests, Three Men on a Horse (with Tony Randall and Jack Klugman), What’s Wrong with This Picture and The Three Sisters.
He toured the boroughs in the first season of Joe Papp’s New York Shakespeare Festival and created the role of Launce in John Guare’s musical version of Two Gentlemen of Verona. He also appeared as Dogberry in Much Ado About Nothing with Kevin Kline and Blythe Danner. At Lincoln Center, Jerry appeared in David Mamet’s Prairie Du Chien for Greg Mosher. He played Bourbouroche for Walt Witcover’s Masterwork Laboratory Theatre. Jerry played Nathan Detroit in Guys and Dolls, the first musical produced at the Guthrie Theatre. He played opposite his daughter Amy in I Ought to be in Pictures and Beau Jest on the Straw Hat Circuit. Jerry starred with Anne in her award winning play, After-Play, at Theatre Four Off-Broadway and theatres on the summer circuit.
Shoeshine, which starred Jerry and his son Ben Stiller, was nominated for an Academy Award in the 1988 Short Subject Category. Other film appearances include The Taking of Pelham One-Two-Three, Those Lips-Those Eyes, Airport ’75, Nadine, The Ritz, The McGuffin, Hot Pursuit, Hairspray (original version) and The Pickle. He and Anne starred in the Joan Micklin Silver film, The Fish in the Bathtub. Other films include On the Line, Servicing Sara and Zoolander, (directed by and starring his son Ben Stiller). His starring role in The Independent opposite Jeaneane Garafolo garnered rave reviews nationwide. Jerry appeared as Mr. Pinky in the musical version of the film “Hairspray” (starring John Travolta) and was seen in the Farrelly Brother’s film “The Heartbreak Kid” (once again co-starring with Ben) Recently Jerry traveled to London to shoot Swinging with The Finkels (with Mandy Moore and Martin Freeman). He is also featured in the documentary “When the World Breaks” premiering at film festivals in early 2010.
On television, Jerry won praise as the charlatan psychoanalyst, Dr. Tamkin, opposite Robin Williams, in a PBS Great Performance of Saul Bellow’s Seize The Day produced by Robert Geller. He also appeared in The Hollow Boy again for Mr. Geller. He and Anne starred together in The Detective (part of The Sunset Gang on American Playhouse). Jerry appeared in the HBO film Subway Stories and as the Devil’s Advocate in Tales From the Darkside. He co-starred on the series Joe and Sons and Tattinger’s and has guest starred on Murder She Wrote, Law and Order, LA Law, In the Heat of the Night, Homicide and Touched by an Angel. He most recently appeared as “Skipper” in Ice Dreams on the Hallmark Channel, on NBC’s Mercy with his wife Anne and The Good Wife in February, 2011. Jerry was heard as the voice of ‘Pretty Boy’ on the Disney animated series, Teacher’s Pet. He is featured in the animated films, Teacher’s Pet, Lion King 3, Lion King 1 ½, and Food Fight. He was also featured in the CBS holiday special, Robbie the Reindeer. Jerry will be heard as the voice of Stickler in the Disney Channel’s upcoming animated series Fish Hooks.
Jerry and Anne have written, performed and produced award winning radio commercials for Blue Nun Wine, United Van Lines and Amalgamated Bank among many others. Jerry appeared as Vince Lombardi in Nike ads, AT&T commercials with his “Seinfeld” wife, Estelle Harris, and for Total Cereal, Glad Bags and America Online 9.0. He’s also shot two videos for the band Rush which were used during the live performances of their recent tours. In 2011, Jerry can be seen nationally doing plugs for online banking with Capital One.
Jerry has performed for Isiah Sheffer’s Selected Shorts series, heard on Public Radio reading John Sayle’s At The Anarchist’s Convention, S.J. Perelman’s Eine Kleine Mothmusik and Russel Baker’s Uncle Harold. He and Anne are also featured on the CD One People, Many Stories, for the Jewish Community Library of Los Angeles. Jerry and Anne host an informational video on the business of acting, entitled So You Want To Be An Actor?
Jerry credits Professor Sawyer Falk at Syracuse University and Esther Porter Lane at the Henry Street Playhouse as his mentors. He has taught at the Herbert Berghof Studio and studied with Uta Hagen. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Speech and Drama from Syracuse University.
In April 2004, Jerry returned to his alma mater, Syracuse University, to perform his own one-man show, An Evening with Jerry Stiller to a rousing standing ovation. He has since performed his show at the Cape Playhouse, at Cornell University, in Morristown NJ, in Queens Theatre in the Park, at the Hilton Casino in Atlantic City, Richmond Hill, Toronto and for several other organizations in Florida and the Northeast.
In February 2007 Jerry and his wife Anne were honored with a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, only one of four married couples to ever be honored with their own star. In May of 2004 Jerry and Anne received the Productive Aging Award, presented by the Jewish Council For the Aging in Washington, DC, and in July of 2004 received the Thalia Award from Humber College in Toronto. Jerry and Anne have been honored by the City of New York with a Crystal Apple Award and are in the Brooklyn Botanic Garden Walk of Fame. They were honored with the Fourth Annual Alan King Award in American Jewish Humor, given by the National Foundation for Jewish Culture and honored by ART NY for their contribution to non-profit theatre. Jerry has received the Ellis Island Medal of Honor and was the recipient of the first annual George Burns Memorial Award by the Lower East Side Festival. He was also awarded a Biffy by the Baltimore Film Festival and the first Big Apple Orange Award by Syracuse University and is also is on their Walk of Fame. In October 1999 Jerry was honored by The New York Friar’s Club at their annual roast. The televised event, The New York Friar’s Club Roast of Jerry Stiller, received the highest ratings for any program in the history of the Comedy Central Network up to that time.
Jerry’s autobiography, Married to Laughter was published by Simon and Schuster and the audio version of the book, read by Jerry, was released by Random House. The audio version received a 2000 Grammy Award nomination in the Spoken Word category. The paperback version of Married to Laughter was also released by Random House.
Jerry can be seen alongside his wife Anne in their new internet webisodes, www.stillerandmeara.com