Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Remembering Jerry Stiller of Seinfeld and The King of Queens; HBO Max Announces Santa Inc.

Jerry Stiller

Actor and comedian Jerry Stiller, who was best known for his roles as Frank Costanza in Seinfeld and as Arthur Spooner in The King of Queens, has died. He died from natural causes at his home on the Upper West Side of Manhattan on May 11. Mr. Stiller was 92.

Jerry Stiller and Anne Meara

Stiller married Anne Meara in 1954. The comedy duo Stiller and Meara was successful in the 1960s and 1970s. They made numerous appearances on variety and talk shows such as The Ed Sullivan Show, The Merv Griffin Show and The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson. They played Barney and Grace Dickerson, Howie Dickerson's (John Calvin) parents, in four episodes of The Paul Lynde Show in 1972-1973. Some of their other sitcom guest appearances together included The Courtship of Eddie's Father, Love, American Style, Rhoda, Archie Bunker's Place and The Love Boat. They hosted HBO Sneak Previews from 1979 to 1982. They had a sitcom pilot called The Stiller & Meara Show in 1986. In 2010, they had a Yahoo! web series called Stiller & Meara.

He starred as Gus Duzik in the short-lived 1975-1976 CBS sitcom Joe and Sons. He was the best friend of Joe Vitale (Richard Casellano) and worked with him at the Hobooken Sheet and Tube Company. The series also starred Florence Stanley, Bobbi Jordan, Barry Miller and Jimmy Baio.

Stiller played Sid Wilbur, the loyal maitre d' at a posh Manhattan restaurant, in the 1988-1989 comedy-drama Tattingers. The cast included Stephen Collins, Blythe Danner, Patrice Colihan, Chay Lentin, Jessica Prunell, Mary Beth Hurt, Roderick Cook, Zach Grenier, Rob Morrow, Sue Francis Pai, Yusef Bulos, Robert Clohessy, Simon Jones, Chris Elliott and Anna Levine.

Seinfeld - Estelle Harris, Jason Alexander and Jerry Stiller

He appeared as the cantankerous Frank Costanza, the father of George Costanza (Jason Alexander) and husband of Estelle Costanza (Estelle Harris), in 26 episodes of the NBC sitcom Seinfeld from 1993 to 1998. Frank Costanza was a former cook in the Army and learned to speak Korean in while serving in the Korean War. He invented the holiday Festivus as a reaction to the cultural commercialism of Christmas. Stiller received an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series in 1997 and won an American Comedy Award for Funniest Male Guest Appearance in a TV Series in 1998 for the role. The series also starred Jerry Seinfeld, Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Michael Richards.

The King of Queens

He starred as the eccentric Arthur Spooner in the 1998-2007 CBS sitcom The King of Queens. Arthur Spooner was the widowed father of Carrie Heffernan (Leah Remini) and father-in-law of Doug Heffernan (Kevin James). He lived in the basement of their Rego Park, Queens, New York house. His fourth marriage was to Spence's (Patton Oswalt) mother Veronica Olcin (Anne Meara) in the final season. The series also starred Victor Williams, Larry Romano (1998-2001), Lisa Rieffel (1998), Gary Valentine (1999-2007) and Nicole Sullivan (2001-2005).

Some of his sitcom guest appearances included Phyllis, Private Benjamin, Alice, Amanda's, The Larry Sanders Show and Sex and the City.

He provided the voice of Uncle Max for The Lion King 1½ and Harvey for Planes: Fire and Rescue. Some of his other voice credits included Linus! The Lion Hearted, Teacher's Pet, Fish Hooks and Foodfight!.

Stiller appeared with his actor son Ben Stiller in films such as Zoolander, Heavyweights, Hot Pursuit, The Heartbreak Kid and Zoolander 2. Some of his other film credits included The Taking of Pelham One Two Three, The Ritz, Nadine, Hairspray (1988), A Fish in the Bathtub and My 5 Wives.

He was interviewed for The Interviews: An Oral History of Television on December 12, 2005.

Survivors include his son Ben, daughter Amy (an actress) and two grandchildren. Anne Meara, his wife of over 60 years, died in 2015.

Mr. Stiller was a true comedic legend. He was perfectly cast as Frank Costanza and Arthur Spooner. He made everything he appeared in funnier. We thank him for the many laughs and entertainment he brought us during his long career. He will be greatly missed.

Share your memories on our Seinfeld and The King of Queens message boards. View photos in our galleries.

DECADES TV Network will honor the life and career of late comedian and actor Jerry Stiller with two back-to-back episodes of The Dick Cavett Show featuring the icon and his wife Anne Meara. Airing Wednesday, May 13 at 9p ET, viewers can relive a 1995 interview where Stiller discusses Seinfeld and his days on The Ed Sullivan Show. Following at 9:30p ET, the DECADES network will present a 1995 interview with Anne Meara.


Sarah Silverman and Seth Rogen

HBO Max announced it has ordered the adult animated series Santa Inc. from global content leader Lionsgate featuring voice performances by leads Sarah Silverman and Seth Rogen. The 8 episode, half-hour series will be written by showrunner Alexandra Rushfield (Shrill) and will be produced by Rogen's Point Grey Pictures as part of their multiplatform partnership with Lionsgate. Santa Inc. is the story of Candy Smalls (Silverman), the highest-ranking female elf in the North Pole. When the successor to Santa Claus (Rogen) is poached by Amazon on Christmas Eve, Candy goes for her ultimate dream— to become the first woman Santa Claus in the history of Christmas.


Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Saturday, April 17

Side Hustle - "Make-a-Butt" (Nickelodeon, 8:00PM ET/PT)
After being hired at Make-A-Mutt and discovering that the store is in trouble, the kids work together to save the business and keep the magic alive.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of April 12)

Friday, April 16

  • Eddie Murphy (The PJs) - Watch Eddie on a repeat of The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Yvette Nicole Brown (The Mayor/The Odd Couple/Community) - Yvette chats with the ladies of The View on ABC at 11am ET/10am CT-PT.
  • Lorraine Toussaint (Where I Love) - Lorraine appears on The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
  • Morris Chestnut (Out All Night) - Morris talks about The Resident on LIVE! with Kelly and Ryan, so check your listings.
  • Lil Rel Howery (Rel/The Carmichael Show) - Lil Rel will be on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
  • Tiffany Haddish (The Last O.G./The Carmichael Show) - Tiffany guest hosts The Real, so check your loca listings.
  • Maya Rudolph (Forever/Up All Night) - Maya talks about Netflix's The Mitchells vs. The Machines and hosting Saturday Night Live on NBC's Today sometime between 7-9am.


New on DVD/Blu-ray (January-April)

Corporate - Season 2 Fam - The Complete Series Betty White's Pet Set - The Complete Series Happy Together - The Complete Series Til Death - The Complete Series

01/22 - Corporate - Season 2
01/22 - Corporate - Season 3
02/02 - Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In - The Complete Series (2021 Retail Release)
02/16 - Fam - The Complete Series
02/23 - Betty White's Pet Set - The Complete Series
03/02 - Blue Mountain State - The Complete Series
03/02 - Happy Together - The Complete Series
03/02 - Rick and Morty - The Complete Seasons 1-4 (DVD) (Blu-ray)
04/20 - 'Til Death - The Complete Series

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