Jerry Stiller

Actor / Comedian


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

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About
About this interview

In his three-and-a-half hour Archive interview, Jerry Stiller is interviewed for two hours solo, and for over one hour with his wife and comedy partner Anne Meara. He chronicles his notable work in the long form production Seize the Day, and details the role for which he is most associated, that of "Frank Costanza" on Seinfeld. He explains working with the regular cast members and recalls memorable Seinfeld episodes "The Doorman," "The Fusilli Jerry," and "The Strike." He also recounts his regular appearances as "Arthur Spooner" on The King of Queens. Stiller and Meara describe how they met as working actors in New York City and talk about getting together as an act. They discuss their many appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show, outline their comedy routines, and talk of the interactions that they had with Ed Sullivan himself. Gary J. Rutkowski conducted the interview on December 12, 2005 in Los Angeles, CA.

"I'll never forget, on the first day of the shoot in front of the audience, Julia Louis, Larry, Michael Richards, and the whole cast surrounded me, wishing me well. They were rooting for me. They were protecting me from the fear, 'cause this was something. From that day on, those were the best years of my life as an actor."

Highlights
Jerry Stiller on his Seinfeld character "Frank Costanza"
02:59
Jerry Stiller on working with Jason Alexander and Michael Richards on Seinfeld
02:36
Jerry Stiller and Anne Meara on their rapport
03:52
Jerry Stiller and Anne Meara on collaborating on projects with their children, Ben and Amy Stiller
00:55
Full Interview

Chapter 1

On his childhood and early influences; on growing up in Brooklyn and his start in acting
On attending Syracuse University and being one of the first drama majors; on looking for acting jobs and trying to get an agent

Chapter 2

On his comedic influences, including Eddie Cantor; on his early television roles and working in nightclubs
On creating an act with his wife Anne Meara; on his recollections of the Hollywood Blacklist; on his appearances in 1970's movies

Chapter 3

On the series Joe and Sons; on his role in the film "Seize the Day"
On getting cast as "Frank Costanza" on Seinfeld; on the generosity of the actors on the show

Chapter 4

On the creative freedom and support he felt on Seinfeld
On his Seinfeld character "Frank Costanza"; on the makeup, hair, and costumes for "Frank Costanza"
On working with the cast of Seinfeld; on memorable episodes of the show
On the Seinfeld finale; on some of his favorite Seinfeld moments

Chapter 6

On a typical work week on The King of Queens; on the popularity of the show
On how he'd like to be remembered
START OF JOINT INTERVIEW WITH ANN MEARA: On how they met
On becoming a comedy team; on their television debut as a comedy team on The Ed Sullivan Show; on creating their alter egos; on having children

Chapter 7

On rehearsals and material for The Ed Sullivan Show; on Ed Sullivan
On the commercial parodies in their act; on the legacy of The Ed Sullivan Show
On their Blue Nun radio commercials

Chapter 8

On the difficulties of raising a family while they both worked; on their children, Ben and Amy Stiller, being interested in show business
On fighting for the Cobra bill to extend health insurance for actors; on speaking out politically; on their favorite stories about each other
Shows

Colgate Comedy Hour, The

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Jerry Stiller on his first job in television - on The Colgate Comedy Hour as an extra
02:16

Ed Sullivan Show, The aka Toast of the Town

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Jerry Stiller and Anne Meara on appearing on The Ed Sullivan Show
01:09
Jerry Stiller and Anne Meara on rehearsals for The Ed Sullivan Show
01:16
Jerry Stiller and Anne Meara on rehearsals and material for The Ed Sullivan Show
15:35
Jerry Stiller and Anne Meara on their last appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show and the legacy of the show
05:30

Joe and Sons

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Jerry Stiller on the series Joe and Sons
03:41

King of Queens, The

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Jerry Stiller on working with the lead actors on The King of Queens
02:51
Jerry Stiller on a typical work week on The King of Queens
02:00
Jerry Stiller on his family members appearing on The King of Queens
00:30
Jerry Stiller on the popularity of The King of Queens
01:45

Merv Griffin Show, The

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Jerry Stiller and Anne Meara on their television debut as a comedy team on The Merv Griffin Show
01:21

Seinfeld

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Jerry Stiller on getting cast as "Frank Costanza" on Seinfeld
04:41
Jerry Stiller on working with Jason Alexander and Michael Richards on Seinfeld
02:36
Jerry Stiller on the creative freedom and support he felt on Seinfeld
02:53
Jerry Stiller on his Seinfeld character "Frank Costanza" and his on-screen wife, played by Estelle Harris
04:42
Jerry Stiller on working with the cast of Seinfeld and the lack of rehearsal time on the show
05:29
Jerry Stiller on the coin trick he perfected on Seinfeld and the relationship between "Frank and George Costanza"
02:33
Jerry Stiller on the makeup, hair, and costumes for his Seinfeld character "Frank Costanza"
03:44
Jerry Stiller on his contract on Seinfeld
01:54
Jerry Stiller on the Seinfeld episode "The Doorman" in which he and "Kramer" make the "manssiere"
04:04
Jerry Stiller on the Seinfeld finale
02:30
Jerry Stiller on some of his favorite Seinfeld moments
01:06

Seinfeld: "The Finale"

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Jerry Stiller on the Seinfeld finale
02:30

Studio One

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Jerry Stiller on working on Studio One with Margaret Sullivan
03:36
Topics

Characters & Catchphrases

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Jerry Stiller on his Seinfeld character "Frank Costanza"
02:59

Creative Influences and Inspiration

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Jerry Stiller on being influenced by Eddie Cantor, Jack Benny, George Burns
04:22

Hollywood Blacklist

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Jerry Stiller on his memories of the Hollywood Blacklist
06:31

Industry Crossroads

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Jerry Stiller on his memories of the Hollywood Blacklist
06:31

Memorable Moments on Television

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Jerry Stiller on working with Michael Richards on the Festivus episode of Seinfeld
01:52

Pop Culture

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Jerry Stiller on his Seinfeld character "Frank Costanza"
02:59

Technological Innovation

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Jerry Stiller on first seeing TV at the World's Fair in 1939
01:40

Television Industry

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Jerry Stiller on his memories of the Hollywood Blacklist
06:31

War

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Jerry Stiller on serving in World War II
02:47

We Laughed

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Jerry Stiller on working with Michael Richards on the Festivus episode of Seinfeld
01:52

World War II

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Jerry Stiller on serving in World War II
02:47
Professions

Actor

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Jerry Stiller on the creative freedom and support he felt on Seinfeld
02:53

Comedian

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Jerry Stiller on considering himself a comedian
04:34
Jerry Stiller and Anne Meara on how they became a comedy team
01:23

Performers

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Jerry Stiller on considering himself a comedian
04:34
Jerry Stiller on the creative freedom and support he felt on Seinfeld
02:53
Jerry Stiller and Anne Meara on how they became a comedy team
01:23
Genres

Comedy Series

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Jerry Stiller on getting cast as "Frank Costanza" on Seinfeld
07:17
Jerry Stiller on his Seinfeld character "Frank Costanza"
15:46
Jerry Stiller on working with the cast of Seinfeld and memorable episodes of the show
13:09

Commercials

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Jerry Stiller and Anne Meara on their Blue Nun radio commercials
04:50

Music Shows & Variety Shows/Specials

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Jerry Stiller and Anne Meara on rehearsals and material for The Ed Sullivan Show
15:35
People

Andy Ackerman

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Jerry Stiller on working with director Andy Ackerman on Seinfeld
00:31

Jason Alexander

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Jerry Stiller on meeting with Larry David for the role of "Frank Costanza" on Seinfeld
03:13
Jerry Stiller on working with Jason Alexander on Seinfeld
00:44
Jerry Stiller on working with Jason Alexander on Seinfeld 
01:39

Eddie Cantor

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Jerry Stiller on being influenced by Eddie Cantor, Jack Benny, and George Burns and watching Eddie Cantor's live radio program
04:22

Larry David

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Jerry Stiller on meeting with Larry David for the role of "Frank Costanza" on Seinfeld
03:13
Jerry Stiller on notes from Larry David on Seinfeld 
01:06

Kevin James

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Jerry Stiller on working with Kevin James on The King of Queens
01:31

Julia Louis-Dreyfus

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Jerry Stiller on working with Julia Louis-Dreyfus on Seinfeld
01:06

Elaine May

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Jerry Stiller on creating an act with his wife Anne Meara, getting into improv, and watching Elaine May and Mike Nichols develop as a team
05:27

Anne Meara

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Jerry Stiller on creating an act with his wife Anne Meara and getting into improv
05:27

Mike Nichols

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Jerry Stiller on creating an act with his wife Anne Meara, getting into improv, and watching Elaine May and Mike Nichols develop as a team
05:27

Joseph Papp

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Jerry Stiller and Anne Meara on working together for Joseph Papp
00:47

John Randolph

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Jerry Stiller on his memories of the Hollywood Blacklist and how it affected friend John Randolph
03:58
Jerry Stiller on a later-in-life encounter with blacklisted actor John Randolph
01:11

Michael Richards

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Jerry Stiller on working with Michael Richards on Seinfeld
01:52
Jerry Stiller on working with Michael Richards on Seinfeld
00:29
Jerry Stiller on the Seinfeld episode "The Doorman" in which he and "Kramer" make the "manssiere"
04:05

Jerry Seinfeld

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Jerry Stiller on working with Jerry Seinfeld
01:44

Ed Sullivan

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Jerry Stiller and Anne Meara on Ed Sullivan
13:43
Jerry Stiller and Anne Meara on Ed Sullivan mispronouncing Anne Meara's name
00:35

Robin Williams

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Jerry Stiller on his role in the film "Seize the Day" and acting with Robin Williams
01:10

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