Actor and comedian Jerry Stiller, who rose to prominence in a duo with his wife, Anne Meara, and won hearts as Frank Costanza on Seinfeld, has died at 92 years old. His son, actor Ben Stiller, confirmed his death in a tweet on Monday. “I’m sad to say that my father, Jerry Stiller, passed away from natural causes,” Stiller said.
A classically trained actor, Jerry Stiller appeared on Broadway twice: in Terrence McNally’s The Ritz in 1975 and David Rabe’s Hurlyburly in 1984. He also found success Off Broadway and onscreen, including in John Waters’s 1988 movie Hairspray. For all his talent as an actor, Stiller really made an impact on the comedy world. He and his wife were mainstays in nightclubs, variety shows like The Ed Sullivan Show, and in commercials for over a decade, beginning in 1958. The pair remained happily married and worked together from time to time, including on his second sitcom The King of Queens, where Meara repeatedly guest-starred as his love interest. (The two characters got married in the series finale.) Anne Meara died in 2015.
Years after they quit the comedy act, Stiller turned a recurring role on Seinfeld as Frank Costanza, George’s crotchety and
crazy creative father, into one of the most memorable sitcom characters ever. The show was already in its fifth season when Stiller took on the role, which he played for less than 30 episodes. The bizarre Frank Costanza is known for his explosive anger and left-field ideas, like Festivus, a winter holiday “for the rest of us.”
Stiller continued to act and perform in commercials late into his life, including in his son’s Zoolander movies. He is remembered by his son, his daughter, Amy Stiller, and millions of Seinfeld fans everywhere. “He was a great dad and grandfather, and the most dedicated husband to Anne for about 62 years,” Ben Stiller continued. “He will be greatly missed. Love you Dad.”