Jerry Stiller, the veteran comedian who gained international stardom for his role in the hit NBC sitcom Seinfeld, has died at the age of 92, according to his son.
Actor and director Ben Stiller released a statement on Tuesday confirming the news that his father died of natural causes.
“Love you Dad”
“He was a great dad and grandfather, and the most dedicated husband to Anne for about 62 years,” the younger Stiller wrote. “He will be greatly missed. Love you Dad.”
Jerry Stiller portrayed Frank Costanza, the father of character George Costanza, on Seinfeld before joining the cast of The King of Queens as character Carrie Heffernan’s father, Arthur Spooner.
Tributes from stars of both shows, as well as countless fans and former colleagues, flooded social media as news of his death began to spread.
Comedian Jerry Seinfeld tweeted a picture of himself holding a comedy album by Stiller and his wife, the late Anne Meara.
“Jerry Stiller’s comedy will live forever,” Seinfeld wrote in another tweet.
A legacy of laughter
Leah Remini and Kevin James, who portrayed his daughter and son-in-law on The King of Queens, shared their thoughts and pictures in Instagram posts. Remini said she was “lucky” to have worked with him over nine seasons and James called him “one of the most kind, loving and funny people to ever grace the earth.”
Despite his often brash, explosive onscreen persona, Stiller was known as a quiet man in his personal life. When auditioning for his Seinfeld role, he was reportedly asked to play Costanza in a more subdued way.
During an improvised performance on set one day, he reportedly developed the new demeanor and it stuck as an integral part of the character.
Stiller was a native of Brooklyn and was inspired to pursue acting after watching the Marx Brothers as a child. After enlisting in the military during World War II and studying acting at Syracuse University, he went on to pursue an entertainment career.
Stiller will be missed by countless fans across multiple generations and the entertainment industry has lost another legend of Hollywood’s golden age.