Anne Meara, wife of Jerry Stiller and mother of Ben, dies


(JTA) — Anne Meara, the wife and comedy partner of Jerry Stiller and the mother of actor and director Ben Stiller, has died.

Meara died Saturday in Manhattan at the age of 85.

Meara and Stiller were married for 61 years. Born and raised as Roman Catholic, Meara converted to Judaism in 1962, according to the New York Times.

The couple’s relationship was the basis for their best-known comedy routine about Hershey Horowitz and Mary Elizabeth Doyle, a short Jewish man and a tall Catholic woman who had nothing in common but loved each other deeply.  The couple appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show 36 times.

In addition to her longtime comedy pairing with Jerry Stiller, Meara maintained her career as an actress, receiving an Obie Award, Golden Globe, four Emmy Award nominations and a Tony Award nomination.

She appeared on several television series, including “Rhoda,” “Archie Bunker’s Place,”  “Sex and the City” and “Oz.”  She also appeared on the soap opera “All My Children.”

She had a memorable role as teacher Mrs. Sherwood in the 1980 movie “Fame,” and also shared the screen with her son Ben in “The Night at the Museum.”

“Anne’s memory lives on in the hearts of daughter Amy, son Ben, her grandchildren, her extended family and friends, and the millions she entertained as an actress, writer and comedienne,” a statement from the family said.

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