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 / Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows

Wednesday, June 19

The Conners - "When Sisters Collide and the Return of the Grifters" (ABC, 8:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Darlene crashes Mark’s college trivia night to prove how smart she is. Elsewhere, Neville finds out the money he loaned Dan was used for something other than its intended purpose.

The Conners - "Hanging in Dorms With Boys and the Secret Life of Men" (ABC, 8:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Darlene urges Ben to make some male friends as he feels anxious about turning 50. Elsewhere, Mark asks Harris to buy him and his friends beer for their dorm room.

Abbott Elementary - "Career Day Part 1" / "Career Day Part 2" (ABC, 9:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
It’s a new year at Abbott Elementary, and Janine is as eager as ever. She plans a district-wide initiative – Career Day – and is anxious for it to be a success. Meanwhile, Ava has a new approach to her job, and Melissa is asked a surprising question.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of June 17)

Wednesday, June 19

  • Dakota Johnson (Ben and Kate) - Watch Dakota on Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
  • Joseph Gordon-Levitt (Mr. Corman/3rd Rock from the Sun) - Joseph appears on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:35pm on NBC.
  • Ebon Moss-Bachrach (The Bear/Girls) - Ebon is a guest on Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Abby Elliott (The Bear/Indebted/Odd Mom Out) - Abby appears on Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen at 10:15pm on Bravo.
  • Patti LaBelle (Out All Night) - Patti chats with the ladies of The View on ABC at 11am ET/10am CT-PT.
  • Jason Biggs (Outmatched/Mad Love/Drexell's Class) - Jason is a guest on CBS Mornings some time between 7-9am.
  • Austin Butler (Ruby & the Rockits/Zoey 101/Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide) - Austin talks about The Bikeriders on NBC's Today some time between 7-9am.
  • Joe Manganiello (How I Met Your Mother) - Joe chats about hosting the new Deal or No Deal Island on a repeat of Tamron Hall, so check your local listings.
  • Sterling K. Brown (Solar Opposites/Starved) - Sterling is joining Drew and telling her all about receiving his first Oscar nomination, his most surreal moment on the red carpet and raising his two sons on a repeat of The Drew Barrymore ShoW, so check your local listings.
  • Jenny Slate (The Great North/Big Mouth/Married/Bob's Burgers) - Jenny is joining Drew and telling her all about being a mom to a three-year-old and her new comedy special Seasoned Professional on a repeat of The Drew Barrymore Show, so check your local listings.
  • Teri Hatcher (The Odd Couple/Sunday Dinner/Karen's Song/The Love Boat) - Teri talks about Lifetime's The Killer Inside: The Ruth Finley Story on a repeat of Access Daily with Mario & Kit, so check your local listings.
  • Keegan-Michael Key (Schmigadoon!/Friends from College/Playing House/Gary Unmarried) - Keegan-Michael discusses hosting NFL Honors and book, The History of Sketch Comedy: A Journey through the Art and Craft of Humor, on a repeat of The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.


New on DVD/Blu-ray

Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. - The Complete Series (Blu-ray) Too Close for Comfort - The Complete Series Check It Out! - The Complete Series The Jeffersons - The Complete Series (2024 Release) Welcome Back, Kotter - The Complete Series (2024 Release)

01/09 - South Park - Seasons 11-15 (Blu-ray)
01/16 - Ghosts (UK) - Season Five
02/13 - Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. - The Complete Series (Blu-ray)
02/27 - The Really Loud House - Season One
03/12 - Ghosts (UK) - The Complete Series
03/12 - Looney Tunes Collector's Choice - Volume 3 (Blu-ray)
03/12 - Rick and Morty - Season 7 (Blu-ray Steelbook) (Blu-ray) (DVD)
04/03 - Too Close for Comfort - The Complete Series (VEI)
04/08 - Check It Out! - The Complete Series (VEI)
05/21 - Frasier (2023) - Season One
06/11 - The Jeffersons - The Complete Series (2024 Release)
06/11 - Welcome Back, Kotter - The Complete Series (2024 Release)

More Recent and Upcoming TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


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