Ben Stiller Shares Heartfelt Tribute to Jerry Stiller on Anniversary of His Death

A year ago today came the tragic news that comedian Jerry Stiller, best known to some fans for playing Frank Costanza, father of George Costanza on Seinfeld, and for being the father of comedian Ben Stiller in reality, had passed away. To mark the occasion of one year since his father's passing, Ben took to social media to share a throwback photo of his father, writing the simple message: "💓you Dad." Jerry Stiller was 92 at the time of his passing. When announcing his dad's death last year, Ben wrote: "I'm sad to say that my father, Jerry Stiller, passed away from natural causes. 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."

"I think Seinfeld really changed his life, because he was at a point in his career where the phone wasn't really ringing," the younger Stiller previously told The New Yorker about his father. "And he and my mom had really stopped working together. So, for someone who's thrived on work and thrived on being funny and having an interaction with an audience, it really changed everything for him....He loved working with those actors, and he would prepare like he was doing Shakespeare. He would break it down, a sitcom script, and figure out, 'Why am I saying this? What's the motivation for this character? What's his history?' So it came out of him putting everything into it, and not trying to be funny. And yet, of course, it came out so funny because he was just putting everything into it." 

After the announcement of Stiller's death in 2021, his Seinfeld co-stars Jerry Seinfeld and Jason Alexander, paid tribute to him at the time as well, praising his ability as a performer on the classic sitcom. "Such sad news that my beloved friend, Jerry Stiller, has passed," Alexander tweeted last year. "He 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. A great actor, a great man, a lovely friend. #RIPJerryStiller I Love you." Speaking on SiriusXM's What A Joke with Papa and Fortune show, Seinfeld said: "We never gave Jerry Stiller a note. I never adjusted his performance once. Whatever he did, that's it. We're putting that out there. I don't know why he did it like that, I don't know why he screamed on that line. It doesn't matter, it's funny. So funny."

Jerry Stiller's work on Seinfeld helped make him a household name, and paved the way for his other famous sitcom role, playing Arthur Spooner on The King of Queens opposite Kevin James and Leah Remini. Among the comedian's other work however are classic films like John Waters' Hairspray and The Taking of Pelham One Two Three, plus comedies that his son Ben starred in and directed like Zoolander, Heavyweights, and Zoolander 2.

(Cover Photo by Charles Eshelman/FilmMagic)