Jerry Stiller was an American comedian and actor best known for his television sitcom roles as George Costanza's father Frank in Seinfeld (1993-1998) and as Arthur Spooner in The King of Queens, from 1998-2007.
His role as the irascible Frank Costanza in Seinfeld earned him an Emmy nomination as Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series in 1997 and an American Comedy Award as Outstanding Guest Star in 1998.
Stiller was known as half of the husband-and-wife comedy team Stiller and Meara. He and his wife, Anne Meara, were part of the improvisational group the Compass Players, which later became Second City. Stiller and Meara have played every major nightclub in the United States and appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show dozens of times.
Stiller was a charter member of the Phoenix Theatre Company and worked for John Houseman at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival. He was in the national company of Peter Pan and also spent two seasons at the Erie Playhouse.
He toured with Joseph Papp's Shakespeare Festival during its first season and played Launce in John Guare's musical version of Two Gentlemen of Verona and Dogberry in Much Ado About Nothing.
On Broadway, he appeared 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 Three Sisters.
At Lincoln Center, he appeared in David Mamet's Prairie du Chien. Off Broadway, he starred with Anne Meara in Afterplay. He has taught at the Herbert Berghof Studio and studied with Uta Hagen.
His television credits include guest-starring roles in Archie Bunker's Place, In the Heat of the Night, Murder, She Wrote, Touched by an Angel, The Love Boat and L.A. Law. He also starred in the PBS production of Seize the Day with Robin Williams and The Hollow Boy.
Among Stiller's other credits is Shoeshine, a short film also starring his son, Ben Stiller, which was nominated for an Academy Award in 1988.
His feature-film credits include Zoolander, The Taking of Pelham One Two Three, Airport '75, Nadine, The Ritz, Hairspray, The Pickle and Those Lips, Those Eyes. He and Meara also starred in the Joan Micklin Silver film The Fish in the Bathtub and with Janeane Garofalo in The Independent.
Stiller's autobiography, Married to Laughter, was published by Simon and Schuster. The audio version, released by Random House, was nominated for a 2000 Grammy in the Spoken Word Category.
Stiller received the George Ahrents Award from Syracuse University, his alma mater, where he studied drama with professor Sawyer Falk. He was a recipient of the Ellis Island Medal of Honor, and he and Anne Meara were honoured with the Fourth Annual Alan King Award in American Jewish Humor, given by the National Foundation for Jewish Culture.
He was born and raised in New York. Jerry died on Monday 11 May, 2020, of natural causes. He was 92.