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

Monday, August 10

The Neighborhood - "Welcome to the Digital Drive" (CBS, 8:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Calvin reluctantly agrees to let Marty create a website for his auto shop in the hopes of drumming up more business. Also, with Gemma out of town for a school retreat, Dave makes it his mission to prove to his son, Grover, that there’s more to life than his favorite gadgets.

Bob Hearts Abishola - "Tough Like a Laundromat Washing Machine" (CBS, 8:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Bob hires Abishola to take care of Dottie in his home while she recovers. Also, Dottie has a hard time dealing with her limitations and takes it out on Abishola.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of August 10)

Monday, August 10

  • Bryan Cranston (Malcolm in the Middle) - Watch Bryan on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:35pm on NBC.
  • Tracee Ellis Ross (black-ish/Girlfriends) - Tracee appears on Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Wendi McLendon-Covey (The Goldbergs/Rules of Engagement/Reno 911!) - Wendi is a guest on a repeat of A Little Late with Lilly Singh at 1:35am on NBC.
  • Liza Coshy (Liza on Demand) - Liza guest co-hosts LIVE! with Kelly and Ryan, so check your listings.
  • Adam Pally (Indebted/Champaign Ill/Making History/The Mindy Project/Happ Endings) - Adam appears on a repeat of The Wendy Williams Show, so check your local listings.
  • Olivia Munn (Perfect Couples) - Olivia is a guest on The Kelly Clarkson Show, so check your local listings.
  • Jim Gaffigan (The Jim Gaffigan Show/My Boys/Welcome to New York) and Mckenna Grace (Young Sheldon) - Jim and Mckenna talk about Troop Zero on a repeat of Rachael Ray, so check your local listings.
  • Adam DeVine (The Righteous Gemstones/Modern Family/Workaholics) - Adam talks about Discovery's Shark Week on NBC's Today in the 10am hour. He talks about Bad Ideas on People Now at 1pm.
  • D.L. Hughley (The Hughleys) - D.L. talks about Surrender White People: Our Unconditional Terms For Peace on Access Daily, so check your local listings.
  • Joel McHale (Community/The Great Indoors) - Joel talks about The Darkest Timeline podcast and Becky on Access Daily, so check your local listings.


New on DVD/Blu-ray (April/May/June/July/August)

Step by Step - The Complete Seventh and Final Season The Good Place - The Final (Fourth) Season Head of the Class - The Complete First Season Modern Family - The Eleventh and Final Season Brooklyn Nine-Nine - Season Seven

04/07 - Cheers - The Complete Series (2020 Release)
04/14 - Police Squad! - The Complete Series (Blu-ray)
04/14 - The Righteous Gemstones - The Complete First Season
04/21 - Step by Step - The Complete Seventh and Final Season (WBShop.com)
05/05 - Kidding - Season 2
05/19 - The Good Place - The Final (Fourth) Season
05/19 - The Good Place - The Complete Series - Collector's Edition (Blu-ray)
05/26 - Silicon Valley - The Complete Sixth and Final Season
05/26 - Silicon Valley - The Complete Series
06/02 - Work in Progress - Season 1
06/09 - Head of the Class - The Complete First Season (WBShop.com)
06/09 - How to Be a Gentleman - The Complete Series
06/09 - Letterkenny - Seasons 3 & 4
06/09 - Modern Family - The Eleventh and Final Season
06/09 - No Activity - Season 1
06/09 - Superior Donuts - Season Two
06/23 - Bob's Burgers - The Complete 10th Season
06/23 - Fresh Off the Boat - The Complete Sixth and Final Season
06/23 - Last Man Standing - The Complete Seventh Season
06/23 - South Park - The Complete Twenty-Third Season (Blu-ray)
06/30 - Brooklyn Nine-Nine - Season Seven
07/07 - Will & Grace - The Revival - Season Three - The Farewell Season
07/21 - Curb Your Enthusiasm - The Complete Tenth Season
07/21 - The Unicorn - Season One
08/11 - Final Space - The First and Second Seasons (Blu-ray)
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


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