skip navigation
Anne Meara

Anne Meara

| VIEW ALL

TCM Messageboards
Post your comments here
ADD YOUR COMMENT>

share:

TCM Archive Materials VIEW ALL ARCHIVES (0)

Also Known As: Died: May 23, 2015
Born: September 20, 1929 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Brooklyn, New York, USA Profession: actor, comedian, writer, playwright

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

As one-half of the countryâ¿¿s most renowned and universally beloved comedy duos, Anne Meara charmed millions with her hilarious and sometimes absurd banter with real-life husband Jerry Stiller. Known by many simply as Stiller and Meara, the pair incorporated their personal anecdotes â¿¿ from relationship squabbles, to personality differences and cultural clashes â¿¿ into their decades-long comedy act. Stiller and Mearaâ¿¿s routine garnered national attention after numerous appearances on the seminal variety series "The Ed Sullivan Show" (CBS, 1948-1971). Apart from her husband, Meara also established a successful career as a hardworking actress, appearing in feature films and making memorable guest appearances on shows such as "The King of Queens" (CBS, 1998-2007) and "Sex and the City" (HBO, 1998-2004) throughout her career. Dedicated not only to her craft, but also to her family â¿¿ raising their son, blockbuster movie star Ben Stiller â¿¿ Meara shared her life with the world and made it collectively laugh, a feat that could only be accomplished by a true comedy legend. Her death on May 23, 2015 at the age of 85 was mourned by fans and fellow performers alike.Born on Sept. 20, 1929 in Brooklyn, NY...

As one-half of the countryâ¿¿s most renowned and universally beloved comedy duos, Anne Meara charmed millions with her hilarious and sometimes absurd banter with real-life husband Jerry Stiller. Known by many simply as Stiller and Meara, the pair incorporated their personal anecdotes â¿¿ from relationship squabbles, to personality differences and cultural clashes â¿¿ into their decades-long comedy act. Stiller and Mearaâ¿¿s routine garnered national attention after numerous appearances on the seminal variety series "The Ed Sullivan Show" (CBS, 1948-1971). Apart from her husband, Meara also established a successful career as a hardworking actress, appearing in feature films and making memorable guest appearances on shows such as "The King of Queens" (CBS, 1998-2007) and "Sex and the City" (HBO, 1998-2004) throughout her career. Dedicated not only to her craft, but also to her family â¿¿ raising their son, blockbuster movie star Ben Stiller â¿¿ Meara shared her life with the world and made it collectively laugh, a feat that could only be accomplished by a true comedy legend. Her death on May 23, 2015 at the age of 85 was mourned by fans and fellow performers alike.

Born on Sept. 20, 1929 in Brooklyn, NY to Irish-born immigrants, Anne Meara began her entertainment career doing off-Broadway theater. She met the love of her life, fellow actor-writer Jerry Stiller, when they were members of the improvisational acting group The Compass Players (which was later renamed The Second City). The pair married in September 1954 and soon established themselves as the comedy team Stiller and Meara. Their act consisted mainly of true-to-life scenarios, from relationship quirks to cultural differences, which were often improvised and spoken with a thick Brooklyn accent. Meara was the loopy, Irish-Catholic counterpart to Stiller, a sarcastic and tightly wound Jewish husband. They made the rounds in the cityâ¿¿s most famous clubs, including The Village Gate and The Blue Angel, and worked alongside the likes of Bill Cosby and Joan Rivers. Stiller and Meara finally reached mainstream status when they performed their comedy act on "The Ed Sullivan Show" in 1963, going on to make over 30 appearances on the legendary variety show.

In the early 1960s, Stiller and Meara formed a production company that allowed them to produce, write, and act in various TV and radio advertisements. One of their most famous projects was a series of radio commercials for Blue Nun Wine. When the popularity of variety shows began declining in the â¿¿70s, the comedy teamâ¿¿s career also stalled. Meara, who made her TV acting debut on the short-lived soap "The Greatest Gift" (NBC, 1954-55), landed roles independent of her husband. She acted in her first feature film in the 1970 comedy "The Out of Towners" starring Jack Lemmon and Sandy Dennis, followed by "Lovers and Other Strangers" that same year. Meara showcased her dramatic side in the Nazi-themed thriller "The Boys from Brazil" (1976) and played a feisty educator in "Fame" (1980). She made frequent guest appearances on hit television shows, including "The Love Boat" (ABC, 1977-1986) and "Rhoda" (CBS, 1974-78), where she played a divorced airplane stewardess who befriends the spunky title character (Valerie Harper). Mearaâ¿¿s success as a television actress continued throughout the next two decades, with recurring roles on "ALF" (NBC, 1986-1990) and "Murphy Brown" (CBS, 1988-1998). The comedy team of Stiller and Meara briefly reunited for a failed TV series titled "The Stiller and Meara Show," about the deputy mayor of New York and his wife, a commercial actress.

The Stiller and Meara union also resulted in two children who grew up following in their parentsâ¿¿ footsteps. Their youngest child Ben, born in 1965, began his career as a stand-up comedian and became an international superstar, thanks to numerous hit comedy features he wrote, directed or starred in, including "Meet the Parents" (2000), "Zoolander" (2001), and "Night at the Museum" (2006). Her sonâ¿¿s rise to fame reignited Mearaâ¿¿s own acting career, and he often cast her and Stiller in several films, often as his characterâ¿¿s colorful and bickering parents. She returned to series television with a recurring role on "The King of Queens" as the love interest of Stillerâ¿¿s character, and on HBOâ¿¿s acclaimed "Sex and the City," where she played the aging and passive-aggressive mother-in-law of Manhattan lawyer Miranda (Cynthia Nixon). In 2010, she reunited with her husband for a Web series titled "Stiller & Meara." Produced by their son Benâ¿¿s Red Hour Digital Company, the series featured hilarious and candid interviews with Meara and Stiller on a variety of topics â¿¿ from the homeless to controversial rapper Kanye West. Anne meara died in Manhattan on May 23, 2015. She was 85.

By Marc Cuenco

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

3.
4.
 Fired! (2006)
5.
6.
 Crooked Lines (2003)
7.
 Like Mike (2002) Sister Theresa
8.
 What Makes a Family (2001) Evelyn Cataldi
10.
 Chump Change (2000)
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

1950:
Apprenticed in summer stock in Long Island and Woodstock, NY
1954:
Made off-Broadway debut in "A Month in the Country"
1954:
Made TV debut as regular on short-lived series "The Greatest Gift" (NBC)
1958:
Appeared in Broadway debut in "Ulysses in Nighttown"
1959:
Joined St. Louis improvisational theater The Compass with husband Jerry Stiller
1960:
Made her TV-movie debut in ABC's "Ninotchka"
1962:
Formed comedy act with husband Stiller and made first of many appearances on "The Ed Sullivan Show" (CBS)
:
Formed own production company writing, producing and recording award-winning radio and TV commercials
1969:
Appeared as a regular on TV game show, "You're Putting Me On"
1970:
Made feature film debut in "The Out of Towners" as a woman in a police station
1970:
Starred on Broadway in award-winning play "House of Blue Leaves"
1972:
Cast as a TV series regular on the ABC sitcom "The Paul Lynde Show"
1972:
Starred in the drama feature "Irish Whiskey Rebellion"
1975:
Starred in the first network dramatic series to feature a woman lawyer, playing the title role on CBS' "Kate McShane"
1976:
Joined the cast as a regular on the sitcom spin-off "Rhoda" (CBS)
1979:
Cast as a regular on "Archie Bunker's Place" (CBS)
1986:
Co-starred with husband Stiller in the TV-movie "The Stiller & Meara Show"
1987:
Landed recurring role of Grandma Dorothy on the NBC sitcom "ALF"
1990:
Acted opposite Robert De Niro and Robin Williams in Penny Marshall directed drama "Awakenings"
1994:
Directed by son Ben Stiller in his first feature "Reality Bites"
1995:
Made off-Broadway debut as a playwright with "After-Play"
1997:
Co-starred as Hope Davis' mother in "The Daytrippers"
1999:
Starred opposite husband Stiller and Mark Ruffalo in the comedy film "A Fish in the Bathtub"
1999:
Made cameo appearance in "Judy Berlin"
1999:
Second play, "Down the Garden Paths" premiered at New Jersey's George Street Playhouse; daughter Amy had featured role in play; produced Off-Broadway in 2000 with Anne Jackson and Eli Wallach
1999:
Acted opposite her husband Stiller, Kevin James, and Leah Remini on "The King of Queens" (CBS)
2001:
Made a cameo as a protestor in son Ben Stiller's comedy feature "Zoolander"
2002:
Landed a recurring role on HBO's "Sex and the City" as Miranda Hobbes' (Cynthia Nixon) quirky mother-in-law Mary Brady
2006:
Directed once again by her son Stiller in the family comedy "Night at the Museum"
2010:
Co-starred with husband Stiller on the Web series "Stiller & Meara"
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

Herbert Berghof Studio: New York , New York - 1953 - 1954

Notes

Meara has been nominated for four Emmy awards

Companions close complete companion listing

husband:
Jerry Stiller. Comedian; actor. Born June 8, 1927; performing partner whom she married September 14, 1954.

Family close complete family listing

father:
Edward Joseph Meara.
mother:
Mary Meara.
daughter:
Amy Stiller. Actor. Born c. 1963.
son:
Ben Stiller. Director, actor. Born on November 30, 1965.
VIEW COMPLETE FAMILY LISTING

Please support TCMDB by adding to this information.

Click here to contribute