Actress and comedian Anne Meara died on Saturday at the age of 85. While most people today knew her as the mother of Ben Stiller, she was a famous star in her own right for years before her son made it big.
There is still no word as to the cause of death.
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Meara was married to fellow thespian Jerry Stiller for 61 years. Born Roman Catholic, she converted to Judaism 6 years after marrying Stiller.
Her son Ben was fond of recounting stories about the Passover Seder night in his home when he was growing up. The younger Stiller said that as a convert his mother took the Jewish traditions much more seriously than the rest of their family.
The family released a statement which said, “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.”
Celebrities, Jewish and not, have taken to Twitter to honor Meara.
David Krumholtz posted, “Anne Meara was real and too quick for the room. Ahead of her time and essential to comedy.”
Gilbert Gottfried said, “Goodbye to half of the terrific comedy team Stiller and Meara . R.I.P. Anne Meara.”
Natasha Lyonne wrote, “The world lost a great one. Anne Meara, thank you for always being so hilarious & so much fun to go swimming with.”
And Steve Martin said, “Stiller and Meara have been a wonderful presence in comedy my whole life. Now Anne Meara is gone, and I salute her.”