The comedy world lost another longtime legend this weekend with the news that comedian, writer, and actress of the stage and screen Anne Meara died on Saturday at the age of 85. Meara’s husband and son Jerry and Ben Stiller confirmed the news in a statement, calling Jerry her “husband and partner in life” and that “the two were married for 61 years and worked together almost as long.” Ben Stiller also reached out to fans on Twitter yesterday after his mother’s passing: “Thank you so much for all the kind words about Anne. All of us in our family feel so lucky to have had her in our lives.”
On top of appearing dozens of times with Jerry on radio commercials and late night shows like The Ed Sullivan Show and The Tonight Show throughout the ‘60s as well as their own 2010 Yahoo web series Stiller & Meara produced by Ben, Meara made many appearances in film and television throughout her career including The Out-Of-Towners, Fame, Kate McShane, Rhoda, Archie Bunker’s Place, All My Children, ALF, Sex and the City, Homicide: Life on the Street, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, and alongside her husband on The King of Queens from 1999-2007, earning four Emmy nominations along the way and a Tony nom for her 1993 performance in Eugene O’Neill’s Anna Christie. She appeared in her son Ben’s films Reality Bites in 1994 and Zoolander in 2001 as well as 2006’s Night at the Museum.
Meara also enjoyed a career as a playwright with productions like After-Play and Down the Garden Paths, and in 1983 she won a Writers Guild Award for penning the television movie The Other Woman. Prior to becoming popular ‘60s comedy duo Stiller & Meara, Jerry and Anne were both members of The Compass Players improv troupe in Chicago, which later became The Second City.
Watch a classic clip from Stiller & Meara on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson below, as well as a more recent clip of them on The King of Queens: