JERRY STILLS THE SHOW AT QUEENS THEATRE IN THE PARK
Flushing Queens NY / October 22, 2007. An Evening With Jerry Stiller was just that. Those who came to Queens Theatre In The Park last weekend to enjoy a few laughs, watch the famous actor perform in an intimate setting and hear tales from Seinfeld, The King Of Queens and other legendary shows, including The Ed Sullivan Show, left the performance glad they came. Those who came looking a stand up comedy routine left a bit disappointed.
Enter Anne Meara Actress & Wife - Comedy At Queens Theatre In The Park
As I sat waiting for the performance to begin, a woman came up to greet her friends who were sitting next to me. I had my long legs crossed in front of me, taking up the space they require. As she reached across to kiss her friends, she said, "You'd better move those legs or I'm going to grope you." A little taken aback, and naturally slow on my feet, it dawned on me that she looked familiar. Slowly I began to piece things together. Jerry came onto the stage and the show began. A few minutes into the act the woman started heckling him. It was his wife, Anne Meara, who is also a comedic actress.
Jerry Stiller At Queens Theatre In The Park - A Life Of Comedy & Chance
What ensued was the story of the great character actor’s long life [he was born in 1927]. He grew up in the city and went to schools from which many famous actors came. He got his start in a settlement house performance, and from what I can recall, got his first big break with a comedy act with his wife. Clips were sprinkled into the performance, including an early one of this act, which showed the couple in quick rat tat tat banter, which as near as I can tell, continues to this day [they’ve been married 54 years].
He tells the tale of his early career, when as a magazine salesman he knocked on the door of a NYC resident. The man answered the door, and after hearing Jerry’s pitch, says, “I ordered that magazine from you the last time you were here and I still haven’t got it.” A long while later Jerry ran into the man again, only this time after a show in which Jerry gave one of the best performances of his life. The man greeted him, and Jerry, not remembering the man, asked, “Well, how did you like the show?” The man replied, “Forget about the show, I still haven’t received my magazine.”
The tales he told of the early years, which were shortly after WWII, gave the audience a sense of the struggle that he and his wife had endured in their quest to entertain. Anne dropped acting for a while to bear and raise two children: a daughter Amy who teaches Bikrim yoga and a son Ben who has also become a famous comedic actor [Meet The Fockers / Something About Mary]. Nonetheless, Anne continued acting after raising the children and recently starred opposite Jerry in a couple of episodes on The King Of Queens.
Jerry Stiller On Seinfeld & King Of Queens At Queens Theatre In The Park
The tale of Jerry’s life begins to wind down after he won the steady part as Frank Costanza in the long running series Seinfeld. After Seinfeld, he continued his winning streak by taking the role of Arthur in The King Of Queens. He has also appeared in shows alongside his son Ben.
Friends of the couple were in the crowd and I left the performance contemplating the sense of a lasting marriage, a family that struggled throughout the years and a couple who laughed and argued on television as well as on that great stage we call life. As I said at the outset, the act was named well, as it was truly An Evening With Jerry Stiller.
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