We will miss Anne Meara, comedy pioneer and amazing lady
This weekend we lost Anne Meara, a great comedian and a great lady, who passed away at the age of 85.
Meara was born in Brooklyn in 1929 and grew up in Long Island. She started her performing career in 1948 doing summer stock. In 1953, she met the great love of her life, comedian Jerry Stiller, and the two married soon after. (You may be familiar with this dream team’s son, the talented and fantastic Ben Stiller.) The two joined the improv company The Compass Players, which later became Second City, one of the most revered improv companies in the world. In 1961, Meara and Stiller started performing their comedy routine together in New York City nightclubs, and in 1962 the New York Times called the team “a national phenomenon.”
The two drew on their relationship for material, particularly the fact that Stiller was Jewish and Meara was Catholic. By the late 1960’s, with several Ed Sullivan and Johnny Carson appearances under their belt, Meara and Stiller were the number one couple comedy team in America. In 1970, the two stopped performing publicly as a team because it was taking a toll on their marriage. (Yup: They picked each other.)
Over the course of her life, Meara was a beloved fixture in the entertainment industry. She was a Tony-nominated actress and a Broadway playwright, and when it came to TV and Film, she brought so many great roles to life so beautifully, including Mrs. Sherwood in the movie Fame and Mary Brady in Sex and the City.
In 2010, Meara and her husband reunited as a comedy team for their Yahoo webseries “Stiller and Meara,” produced and directed by Ben Stiller.
Here’s an awesome bit Meara and Stiller did in the 60’s about online dating (because they were hilarious AND prescient).
And you can catch their webseries over here on Hulu.
Goodbye, Ms. Meara, and thank you again for all the laughs, the best medicine and the best gift.