Comedy Icon and Loyal Upper West Sider Jerry Stiller Dies at 92

Jerry Stiller, a comedy legend who was a fixture on the Upper West Side, has died at the age of 92. His son Ben Stiller announced the news on Monday.

Jerry first gained fame in the 1960’s and 70’s as part of the comedy duo Stiller & Meara with his wife Anne Meara.

He was also a successful Broadway actor before becoming a TV star again as Frank Costanza on Seinfeld. Stiller’s character was so iconic that people he saw on the Upper West Side would ask him about his son George, Jerry told us in an interview in 2016.

In that interview, we asked Jerry how he got his apartment on the UWS. “I started by shtupping all the janitors on Riverside Drive. I did this every time I saw a janitor who looked like he might come through for me. And the further down Riverside you went, the more you had to shtup.”

R.I.P. Jerry Stiller, thanks for so so many laughs.

NEWS | 36 comments | permalink
    1. UWSHebrew says:

      His portrayal of Frank Costanza has to be one of the best television comedic performances in history, I re-watch Seinfeld episodes just to get to his part. Seemed to have a wonderful marriage to Ann Meara. RIP!

    2. lynn says:

      Such sad news, my condolences to the family. I grew up watching Stiller and Meara, and still enjoy seeing them both on The King of Queens reruns. RIP. 🙁

    3. George Costanza says:

      “You sayin’… you want a piece of me?”

      Comedy legend, Jerry will be missed.

    4. JL says:

      I have a soft spot for people who bring laughter into world. Jerry’s was a life well lived.

      My condolences to his loved ones, especially his sons, Ben, George, Jerry, Larry, and Elain…

      You want a piece of me ??? They did.

    5. S. Hayes says:

      I met Jerry during a CBS promotional tour.
      He was kind, classy and a total professional. Jerry had a way of making you feel lucky that you crossed his path. Now angels smile. RIP.

    6. Sherman says:

      Jerry was a hilarious comedian and he was also a very nice man.

      When my son was a baby my wife and I took him to a baby event in the lobby of the JCC. Jerry walked thru the lobby on his way out the door (he was apparently at the gym).

      A bunch of parents spotted him and said hi. He came over to us and schmoozed and joked and posed for pictures. He was classy and a real gentleman.

    7. NYCcas says:

      I was celebrating my birthday at the boat basin 16 years ago. As he was leaving, I stopped him and asked if he would take a picture with me for my birthday. He did and was so fun and kind. He insisted on taking a picture with my friend, as well.
      Definitely a loss for the UWS. I hope he and his wife are back together, yukking it up.

    8. Beth G. says:

      My Jerry Stiller story: I was in the theater district with my parents in the ‘90s. My mom, who was good at spotting celebrities and not quite 5 feet tall, notice him walking toward us. She called out, “ooh, Jerry Stiller, you’re so cute!” He said back to her, “you’re cute, too!” We all laughed and on we all went. He was a very funny man and brought joy to so many.

    9. Chip says:

      He was a funny, and yet kind and sincere, person. Will be greatly missed.

    10. Neal H. says:

      Jerry was only a passing presence in my life — at the JCC pool and locker room, where we nodded greetings, at Westside Markets, where I reached for a jar of CoffeeMate [ugh!] for him, at the corner of 84th and Riverside, where he would read the paper on a park bench with his coffee, and I would wait for the alternate-side clock to run. Once, a young woman stop him and asked if she could take a selfie with him. He graciously obliged. She thanked him, he nodded and smiled at her, then entered his building.

      Small things; but it’s what makes our neighborhood special.

      He was a very funny and enduring talent.

    11. Janis says:

      I booked Jerry and Anne Meara on my husband’s all night radio show talk show, in the mid 70’s. They were supposed to stay for about an hour. They stayed for three. Then I took them across the street to the Marriott which had a 24 hour restaurant, for a bite to eat. Jerry was regaling us with jokes, which garnered a crowd around the booth we were sitting in. To this day I remember him telling the story of the wrestler and the Bavarian Pretzel Hold joke. If you know it, think of Jerry, and smile.
      RIP, Jerry. Keep ’em laughing.

    12. Susan says:

      Will always remember him at the JCC, swimming,
      talking with people. Very funny, very sweet.

    13. DMH says:

      Jerry Stiller and my father traded Yiddish jokes for years and years. They lived across the street from us on West End Ave. My brother was in Ben’s class at Calhoun, After graduation we went to Windows on the World to celebrate, and Jerry and family were a few tables away. Jerry sent us a bottle of wine. He was such a mensch and so hilarious.Sincere condolences to Ben and Amy. Both your parents are/will be sorely missed and never forgotten.

    14. Ellen Jacobs says:

      Sincere condolences to Ben, and all the family. I saw Jerry and Ann Meara together with their then young son and daughter, walking on Broadway. A gracious and wonderful couple. May the memory of Ben and Ann be a blessing to all who knew and love them.

    15. Ellen Jacobs says:

      Sincere condolences to Ben, and all the family. I saw Jerry and Ann Meara together with their then young son and daughter, walking on Broadway. A gracious and wonderful couple. May the memory of Ben and Ann be a blessing to all who knew and love them.

    16. I met Jerry and Anne in 1972 and we became neighbors and friends. The world will remember Jerry as a comedy legend but i will mourn the passing of a friend. Jerry please give my regards to Anne.

    17. Judy Glassman says:

      Worked with him and Anne in the 70’s at HBO, a brilliant talent and a sensitive and caring human being. No one deserved success as much as he did!
      Condolences to Ben and Amy and their extended families.

    18. Sheila says:

      Did i love this man, i watch Seinfeld literally every night just for him. RIP,m you brought such laughter into my house

    19. Penny S says:

      I live on the same block as Jerry did. Used to see him sitting in front of his building or on a park bench on Riverside. He loved to pet my little dog & chat about him. He always made me smile! I will miss him.

    20. Christine E says:

      What a joy I had, watching Jerry Stiller on Seinfeld, bumping into him at Viand, sharing a swim lane at the JCC. What a loss for the neighborhood and the world.

    21. Nelson says:

      The mensch of the neighborhood! A lovely man and the first fellow to welcome me when I moved on to the block. He will be sorely missed on both sides of the screen, but I’d like to think “Stiller & Meara” are now making the Angels laugh. ❤️

    22. Harriet says:

      About 10 years ago I was on the number 7 bus going up Amsterdam ; as was Jerry.

      As he was exiting , the bus driver said to him ” I like your work” to which he responded, ” I like yours too”

      We all laughed and he waved to us.

    23. AC says:

      My encounter with Jerry was memorable.

      It was about 10 years ago and I was shopping at the Westside Supermarket that existed on 77 street and B’way. It was a late night and I decided to grocery shop. As I am pushing my cart up the aisle, I come across what looked like an abandoned food cart. So I pushed it out of the way, so I could get by. ALL of a sudden, and out of nowhere, this loud cantankerous voice takes over the aisle, “HEY!, HEY!, HEY!” Low and behold I shriek in embarrassment. It was Frank Costanza! For that quick second, I felt like George. I’ll never forget that moment. I apologized and quickly moved on.

      • NNN says:

        I also had a run-in with Mr. Stiller a”h at a market but this was at Broadway Farms, outside. I said “Hi Mr. Stiller!” and he looked at me and since I knew his name, he asked: “do I know you?!” Instead of saying “no, but I know you…because you’re famous”, I tried to be funny and said, “you don’t remember me?!” He said “no, where did we meet?!” At this point I couldn’t backtrack so I said “at that party in LA! At whathisname’s house!” He of course couldn’t remember and I said “well it was nice to see you again and stay well” and I went inside with my fruit to get in that long line and pay. Not two minutes later, in walks Mr. Stiller, he walks right up to me and with everybody in the store staring he says loudly: “It’s killing me!! How do I know you?!?” To this day I can’t walk into that place without thinking of Jerry and what a putz I was…

    24. Maryann E Siciliano says:

      Always made me laugh will remember you and your wife on Ed Sullivan almost every Sunday night. God bless and lets all celebrate Festivus.

    25. Christine E says:

      I wish there was a “like” button for all of these comments.

      Also, our household has been rewatching Seinfeld episodes for the nth time, as a comforting antidote to our pandemic anxiety. Mr. Stiller, you are helping us more than you know.

    26. Valentino V. Oliveri says:

      What a wonderful family man of impeccable character and a consummate actor,the likes of which are becoming increasingly rarer in a society where mediocrity has become the norm. Thank you for all the many countless laughs Jerry,may you find eternal joy with your maker and in the sweet company of your beloved Anne whom you loved so dearly. May we honor your memory by striving to emulate you and by incorporating your values in our daily lives! RIP Mr. Jerry Stiller,you will be missed.

    27. LEN FRANCAVILLA says:

      MET HIM WHILE IN THE JCC GYM STEAM ROOM. HE WAS STANDING REAL CLOSE TO A STEAM JET AND HAD TO WARN HIM (ONE OLD TIMER TO ANOTHER) TO MOVE. HE HAPPILY DID SO WITH A THANK YOU. THAT WAS ABOUT THE THIRD TIME I RAN INTO HIM DURING MY 35 YEARS ON THE UPW.. R.I.P. JERRY

    28. Betty Samuels says:

      I saw Jerry and Anne one night in the Shakespeare book company on the west side.Got many a laugh from him and Anne.

    29. Abe says:

      RIP Jerry, I was looking forward to seeing you this summer on Riverside Drive and throwing some Yiddish around.RIP

    30. Krystyna says:

      You are missed. RIP. My condolences to the family.

    31. Simcha Siegel says:

      A real mensch. I will miss him.

    32. Alfonse says:

      Amazing stories here. Late to the honoring, but my memory was walking past Artie’s one day and seeing him in that enclosed outdoor area they had, eating a bowl of Matzoh ball soup, just like any other good upper west-sider. I couldn’t bring myself to go in and interrupt his meal to say what a talent I thought he was.