Ben Stiller Reveals What His Father Jerry Stiller’s Final Weeks Were Like Days After He Passes Away
It’s been just over a week since comedic legend Jerry Stiller of “Seinfeld” fame passed away of natural causes at the age of 92. Now, his son Ben Stiller, a famous comedic actor in his own right, is opening up about what the legendary star’s final weeks were like.
In a new interview, Ben revealed that Jerry retained his hilarious sense of humor right up to the very end.
“Yeah. My sister and I were able to be with him. And, just due to the fact that he didn’t have a coronavirus-related illness, and he had been ailing for a while, we were able to be with him, which I’m very, very grateful for,” Ben told The New Yorker.
“He was just slowing down a lot, and he was dealing with a lot of issues,” Ben added. “And so the last week or two were tougher for him. But he went peacefully, and he had a sense of humor, for sure, until the end. I hesitate to call it a sense of humor. He was just funny, and so he was always himself. He was almost ninety-three, and I think his body was kind of at that point where it was time.”
Jerry launched his career in comedy alongside his wife Anne Meara in the 1950s, but today’s audiences likely remember him most appearing on “Seinfeld” as Frank Costanza, the highly-strung father of George Constanza. Ben explained that he enjoyed seeing his father play the character of Frank, who often was seen bullying his son, because it was the polar opposite of how he was as a dad in real life:
“We had a small service for him, and I was talking to the rabbi about him, because I hadn’t had a chance to meet him. And the rabbi was talking about his character on ‘Seinfeld.’ And I said, ‘He never once raised his voice to me, ever, as a kid. Ever.’ So I watch that and I laugh, because I’m, like, ‘Who is that person?’ Because that really was not him, but I think he was unleashing something that I think was suppressed in his real life.”
While Ben said that Jerry would not mind that much of his legacy revolves around “Seinfeld,” he added that his father would have wanted to be remembered more for his early work with his beloved wife Anne, who died in 2015.
“I think the only thing that might have bothered him a little bit was that he wanted people to remember his work with Anne, because he loved my mom so much. I think that would be the only aspect of it. He would be, like, ‘But, Anne—Anne is amazing.’ And I can understand that, because they did such incredible work together over the years. But I don’t think he was one of those actors who was, like, ‘I have to be known for something else. I think he was grateful for the success. And I think that comes from where he came from—he didn’t have an ego about those sorts of things. He so loved being a part of that show, and he embraced it fully.”
Please keep the Stiller family in your thoughts and prayers as they continue to mourn the death of this comedic icon.