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Jerry Stiller, comedian and ‘Seinfeld’ actor, dies at 92

1927: Comedian and actor Jerry Stiller, best known for his sitcom roles on "Seinfeld" and "The King of Queens," is born in Brooklyn, New York. He is also known as the father of fellow actor Ben Stiller.
1927: Comedian and actor Jerry Stiller, best known for his sitcom roles on "Seinfeld" and "The King of Queens," is born in Brooklyn, New York. He is also known as the father of fellow actor Ben Stiller. (Michael Loccisano/Getty Images)

NEW YORK – Jerry Stiller, who for decades teamed with wife Anne Meara in a beloved comedy duo and then reached new heights in his senior years as the high-strung Frank Costanza on the classic sitcom “Seinfeld" and the basement-dwelling father-in-law on “The King of Queens,” died at 92, his son Ben Stiller announced Monday.

“I’m sad to say that my father, Jerry Stiller, passed away from natural causes," his son said in a tweet.

"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," wrote Ben, who followed in his father’s comedic footsteps and became an A-list box office star with movies like “Tropic Thunder,” “Dodgeball” and “There's Something About Mary.”

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 & Order” — along with 36 appearances alongside Meara on “The Ed Sullivan Show.”

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!”

Jason Alexander, his former TV son on “Seinfeld,” said Stiller “was perhaps the kindest man I ever had the honor to work beside. He made me laugh when I was a child and every day I was with him.” Added Billy Eichner “Seeing Jerry Stiller on screen instantly made you happy.”

Stiller earned an 1997 Emmy nomination for his indelible “Seinfeld” performance. In a 2005 Esquire interview, Stiller 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.