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Comedian, Seinfeld Actor Jerry Stiller Dead At 92

Comedy legend and Seinfeld star Jerry Stiller has died at age 92.

The sad news was confirmed by the late actor's son, Ben, who posted about his father's death on Twitter.

"I’m sad to say that my father, Jerry Stiller, passed away from natural causes," Ben wrote.

"He was a great dad and grandfather, and the most dedicated husband to Anne for about 62 years. He will be greatly missed. Love you Dad."

Jerry Stiller was a multi-talented performer who appeared in an assortment of movies, playing Walter Matthau’s police sidekick in the thriller The Taking of Pelham One Two Three and Divine’s husband Wilbur Turnblad in John Waters’ twisted comedy Hairspray.

He also wrote an autobiography, “Married to Laughter,” about his 50-plus year marriage to soul mate and comedic cohort Meara, who died in 2015. And his myriad television spots included everything from Murder She Wrote to Law and Order -- along with 36 appearances alongside Meara on The Ed Sullivan Show.

Anne Meara and Jerry Stiller in 2012. Image: Getty

Stiller, although a supporting player on Seinfeld, created some of the Emmy-winning show’s most enduring moments: co-creator and model for the “bro,” a brassiere for men; a Korean War cook who inflicted food poisoning on his entire unit; an ever-simmering salesman controlling his explosive temper with the shouted mantra, “Serenity now!”

Stiller earned a 1997 Emmy nomination for his indelible Seinfeld performance. In a 2005 Esquire interview, he recalled that he was out of work and not the first choice for the role of Frank Costanza, father to Jason Alexander’s neurotic George.

“My manager had retired,” he said. “I was close to 70 years old, and had nowhere to go.”

Ben and Jerry Stiller. Image: Getty.

Stiller and wife Meara raised two children in their longtime home on Manhattan’s Upper West Side: daughter Amy, who became an actress, and son Ben, who became a writer, director and actor in such films as Dodgeball, There’s Something About Mary and Meet the Parents.

He and Ben performed together in Shoeshine, which was nominated for a 1988 Academy Award in the short subject category.

Stiller was considerably quieter and reflective in person than in character -- although just as funny.

Actress Charlotte Rae and Jerry Stiller in 2015. Image: Getty

The son of a bus driver and a housewife, Stiller grew up in Depression-era Brooklyn. His inspiration to enter show business came at age 8 when his father took him to see the Marx Brothers in the comedy classic A Night at the Opera.

Years later, Stiller met Groucho Marx and thanked him.

Stiller earned a drama degree at Syracuse University after serving in World War II and then headed to New York City to launch his career. There was a brief involvement in Shakespearean theatre, including a $55 a week job with Jack Klugman in Coriolanus.

But his life and career took off after he met Meara in spring 1953. They were married that fall.

Jerry Stiller, Christine Taylor, Ben Stiller, Anne Meara, and Amy Stiller in 2012. Image: Getty
Jerry Stiller and his son (L) Ben Stiller attend a basketball game between the New York Knicks and Chicago Bulls at Madison Square Garden. Image: Getty

The seemingly mismatched pair -- he a short, stocky Jewish guy from Brooklyn, she a tall, Irish Catholic from the Long Island suburbs -- shared immediate onstage chemistry, too. They were soon appearing on The Ed Sullivan Show and working nightclubs nationwide.

The pair also wrote and performed radio commercials, most memorably a series of bits for a little-known wine called Blue Nun. The duo’s ads boosted sales by 500 per cent. Ben Stiller recalled trips with his sister to California when his parents would head west to do television appearances.

Jerry Stiller. Image: Getty

The couple went on to appear as a team in dozens of film, stage and television productions. One of them was After-Play, a 1995 off-Broadway show written by Meara.

Stiller joined Seinfeld in 1993 and moved on to King of Queens when the other Jerry and co. went off the air in 1998. The following year, he appeared in Ben Stiller’s spoof on modelling, Zoolander.

Fans of Stiller's work have been paying tribute to the actor on social media, highlighting his most memorable roles and unforgettable Seinfeld catch phrases.

Main Image: Getty.