A laugh track is a separate soundtrack for a recorded comedy show containing the sound of audience laughter. In some productions, the laughter is a live audience response instead; this was invented by American sound engineer Charles "Charley" Douglass. The Douglass laugh track became a standard in mainstream television in the U. S. dominating most prime-time sitcoms from the late 1950s to the late 1970s. Usage of the Douglass laughter decreased by the 1980s when stereophonic laughter was provided by rival sound companies as well as the overall practice of single-camera sitcoms eliminating audiences altogether. Before radio and television, audiences experienced live comedy performances in the presence of other audience members. Radio and early television producers used recordings of live shows and studio-only shows attempted to recreate this atmosphere by introducing the sound of laughter or other crowd reactions into the soundtrack. Jack Dadswell, former owner of WWJB in Florida, created the first "laughing record".
In 1946, Jack Mullin brought a Magnetophon magnetic tape recorder back from Radio Frankfurt, along with 50 reels of tape. The 6.5 mm tape could record 20 minutes per reel of high-quality analog audio sound. Bing Crosby adopted the technology to pre-record his radio show, scheduled for a certain time every week, to avoid having to perform the show live, as well as having to perform it a second time for West Coast audiences. With the introduction of this recording method, it became possible to add sounds during post-production. Longtime engineer and recording pioneer Jack Mullin explained how the laugh track was invented on Crosby's show: "The hillbilly comic Bob Burns was on the show one time, threw a few of his then-extremely racy and off-color folksy farm stories into the show. We recorded it live, they all got enormous laughs, which just went on and on, but we couldn't use the jokes. Today those stories would seem tame by comparison, but things were different in radio so scriptwriter Bill Morrow asked us to save the laughs.
A couple of weeks he had a show that wasn't funny, he insisted that we put in the salvaged laughs. Thus the laugh-track was born." In early television, most shows that were not broadcast live used the single-camera filmmaking technique, where a show was created by filming each scene several times from different camera angles. Whereas the performances of the actors and crew could be controlled, live audiences could not be relied upon to laugh at the "correct" moments. CBS sound engineer Charley Douglass noticed these inconsistencies, took it upon himself to remedy the situation. If a joke did not get the desired chuckle, Douglass inserted additional laughter; this editing technique became known as sweetening, in which recorded laughter is used to augment the response of the real studio audience if they did not react as as desired. Conversely, the process could be used to "desweeten" audience reactions, toning down unwanted loud laughter or removing inappropriate applause, thus making the laughter more in line with the producer's preferred method of telling the story.
While still working for CBS, Douglass built a prototype laugh machine that consisted of a large, wooden wheel 28 inches in diameter with a reel of tape glued to the outer edge of it containing recordings of mild laughs. The machine was operated by a key that played until it hit another detent on the wheel, thus playing a complete laugh; because it was constructed on company time, CBS demanded possession of the machine when Douglass decided to terminate his time with them. The prototype machine fell apart within months of use. Douglass developed an expansion of his technique in 1953 when he began to extract laughter and applause from live soundtracks recorded, placed the recorded sounds into a huge tape machine; this basic concept was reworked as the Chamberlin Music Master, succeeded by the Mellotron. These recorded laughs could be added to single-camera filmed programs; the first American television show to incorporate a laugh track was the sitcom The Hank McCune Show in 1950. Other single-camera filmed shows, like The Pride of the Family, soon followed suit, though several, like The Trouble with Father, The Beulah Show and The Goldbergs, did not feature an audience or a laugh-track.
Four Star Playhouse, an anthology series, did not utilize a laugh-track or audience on its occasional comedy episodes, with co-producer David Niven calling the laugh track "wild indiscriminate mirth" and stating that "I shall blackball the notion if it comes up. Not that it will. We shall carry on without mechanical tricks". Soon after the rise of the laugh track, Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz devised a method of filming with a live audience using a setup of multiple film cameras; this process was employed for their sitcom I Love Lucy, which used a live studio audience and no laugh track. Multi-camera shows with live audiences sometimes used recorded laughs to supplement responses. Sketch comedy and variety shows migrated from li
All in the Family
All in the Family is an American sitcom TV-series, broadcast on the CBS television network for nine seasons, from January 12, 1971 to April 8, 1979. The following September, it was continued with the spin-off series Archie Bunker's Place, which picked up where All in the Family had ended and ran for four more seasons. All in the Family was produced by Bud Yorkin, it starred Carroll O'Connor, Jean Stapleton, Sally Struthers, Rob Reiner. The show revolves around the life of his family; the show broke ground in its depiction of issues considered unsuitable for a U. S. network television comedy, such as racism, infidelity, women's liberation, religion, abortion, breast cancer, the Vietnam War and impotence. Through depicting these controversial issues, the series became arguably one of television's most influential comedic programs, as it injected the sitcom format with more dramatic moments and realistic, topical conflicts; the show was an American version of an earlier British show, the BBC sitcom Till Death Us Do Part, with Archie Bunker modeled after his British counterpart, Alf Garnett.
All in the Family is regarded in the United States as one of the greatest television series of all time. Following a lackluster first season, the show soon became the most watched show in the United States during summer reruns and afterwards ranked number one in the yearly Nielsen ratings from 1971 to 1976, it became the first television series to reach the milestone of having topped the Nielsen ratings for five consecutive years. The episode "Sammy's Visit" was ranked number 13 on TV Guide's 100 Greatest Episodes of All Time. TV Guide's 50 Greatest TV Shows of All Time ranked All in the Family as number four. Bravo named the show's protagonist, Archie Bunker, TV's greatest character of all time. In 2013, the Writers Guild of America ranked All in the Family the fourth-best written TV series and TV Guide ranked it as the fourth-greatest show of all time. All in the Family is about a typical working-class Caucasian family living in New York, its patriarch is Archie Bunker, an outspoken, narrow-minded man prejudiced against everyone, not like him or his idea of how people should be.
Archie's wife Edith is understanding, though somewhat naïve and uneducated. Their one child, Gloria, is kind and good-natured like her mother, but displays traces of her father's stubbornness and temper. Gloria is married to college student Michael Stivic – referred to as "Meathead" by Archie – whose values are influenced and shaped by the counterculture of the 1960s; the two couples represent the real-life clash of values between the Greatest Generation and Baby Boomers. For much of the series, the Stivics live in the Bunkers' home to save money, providing abundant opportunity for them to irritate each other; the show is set in the Astoria section of Queens, with the vast majority of scenes taking place in the Bunkers' home at 704 Hauser Street. Occasional scenes take place in other locations during seasons, such as Kelsey's Bar, a neighborhood tavern where Archie spends a good deal of time and purchases, the Stivics' home after Mike and Gloria move to the house next door; the house seen in the opening is at 89-70 Cooper Avenue near the junction of the Glendale, Forest Hills, Rego Park sections of Queens.
Supporting characters represent the demographics of the neighborhood the Jeffersons, a black family, who live in the house next door in the early seasons. Carroll O'Connor as Archie Bunker: Frequently called a "lovable bigot", Archie was an assertively prejudiced blue-collar worker. A World War II veteran, Archie longs for better times when people sharing his viewpoint were in charge, as evidenced by the nostalgic theme song "Those Were the Days". Despite his bigotry, he is portrayed as loving and decent, as well as a man, struggling to adapt to the changing world, rather than someone motivated by hateful racism or prejudice, his ignorance and stubbornness seem to cause his malapropism-filled arguments to self-destruct. He rejects uncomfortable truths by blowing a raspberry. Former child actor Mickey Rooney was Lear's first choice to play Archie, but Rooney declined the offer because of the strong potential for controversy, in Rooney's opinion, a poor chance for success. Scott Brady of the Western series Shotgun Slade declined the role of Archie Bunker, but appeared four times on the series in 1976 in the role of Joe Foley.
O'Connor appears in all but seven episodes of the series' run. Jean Stapleton as Edith Bunker, née Baines: Edith is Archie's kind-hearted wife. Archie tells her to "stifle" herself and calls her a "dingbat", although Edith defers to her husband's authority and endures his insults, on the rare occasions when Edith takes a stand, she proves to have a simple but profound wisdom. Despite their different personalities, they love each other deeply. Stapleton developed Edith's distinctive voice. Stapleton decided to leave at that time. During the first season of Archie Bunker's Place, Edith was seen in five of the first 14 episodes in guest appearances. After that point, Edith was written out as having suffered a stroke and died off-camera, leaving Archie to deal with the death of his beloved "dingbat". Stapleton appeared in all but four episodes of All in the Family. In the series' first episode, Edith is portrayed as being less of a ding
Elizabeth Allen (actress)
Elizabeth Allen was an American theatre and film actress and singer whose forty-year career lasted from the mid-1950s through the mid-1990s and included scores of TV episodes as well as six theatrical features, two of which were directed by John Ford. She was a cast member in five TV series: The Jackie Gleason Show, Bracken's World, The Paul Lynde Show, CPO Sharkey and the daytime drama Texas while maintaining a thriving theatrical career as a musical comedy star and receiving two Tony nominations, in 1962 for The Gay Life and in 1965 for Do I Hear a Waltz?. Born in Jersey City, New Jersey, Allen began her career as a Ford Agency high-fashion model. Allen landed the television role of the “Away We Go!” Girl on The Jackie Gleason Show in the 1950s. She made numerous television appearances in guest starring roles on such programs as The Fugitive and Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, she was a regular cast member on TV's Bracken's World, The Paul Lynde Show, C. P. O. Sharkey, Another World and its spin-off, Texas.
Her television and stage career spanned three decades. She was featured with William Shatner in "The Hungry Glass", the 16th episode in the first season of Boris Karloff's Thriller in 1961. In 1962, she played a leading role in the first season of Combat!, in the episode "No Hallelujahs for Glory" as a persistent war correspondent. Allen is best known on TV for her role as the creepy saleslady in the first-season episode of Rod Serling's original version of The Twilight Zone, entitled "The After Hours", where actress Anne Francis realizes that she is a mannequin and that her month of freedom and living among the humans is over. Allen's saleslady character is the mannequin whose turn in the outside world is up next and has been delayed by one full day, thus explaining her peeved attitude. In 1963, Allen starred with John Wayne, Dorothy Lamour and Lee Marvin in the John Ford film Donovan's Reef, she starred in Diamond Head with Charlton Heston and Yvette Mimieux. Both movies were filmed on location in Hawaii.
Allen appeared with James Stewart in Cheyenne Autumn and won a Laurel Award in 1963 as the year's most promising film actress. Allen honed her stage skills by joining and performing with the Helen Hayes Repertory Group before expanding into the big and small screens. Allen was twice nominated for Tony Awards for her performances on Broadway in The Gay Life, as Actress, Supporting or Featured and Do I Hear a Waltz?, as Best Actress in a Musical. She can be heard singing throughout the original cast album of Waltz, available on CD, her other notable stage productions on the Great White Way and beyond included Romanoff and Juliet, Lend an Ear, Sherry!, California Suite, The Pajama Game, The Tender Trap, Show Boat, South Pacific, culminating in the 1980s Broadway musical 42nd Street, as fading star Dorothy Brock. In 1983 she appeared as Dr. Gwen Harding on the CBS soap opera Guiding Light. Allen retired from show business in 1996, after touring numerous cities throughout the world for over a decade with her 42nd Street role from Broadway.
This was her last, significant acting job after appearing in the 1980s TV series Texas for two seasons. In the late 1970s, Allen ventured into retail business as she operated a dress store in a San Fernando Valley shopping mall. Entertainment columnist Dick Kleiner reported: "She found, she does all her own buying and delivering... and a lot of the selling." She told Kleiner that she thought it wise "for an actress to have something going for her when there is nothing doing on the acting front." She was married to Baron Karl von Vietinghoff-Scheel, but they divorced and she never remarried. Allen died from kidney disease, aged 77, in New York, she was predeceased by her only sibling, brother Joseph L. Gillease, survived by her sister-in-law, Marion Gillease, her nephew and godson, Patrick J. Gillease, her niece, Erin Gillease Phelan, two grand-nieces, Alicia Phelan and Alexandria Phelan. 1957 Romanoff and Juliet as Juliet 1962 The Gay Life as Magda 1965 Do I Hear a Waltz? as Leona Samish 1967 Sherry! as Maggie Cutler 1983 42nd Street as Dorothy Brock 1960 The Twilight Zone Episode 34 S1 "The after hours", as a mannequin girl.
1960 From the Terrace as Sage Remmington 1963 Donovan's Reef as Ameilia Sarah Dedham. She developed a bond with John Ford, who directed that film and he cast her as a beautiful saloon lady, Guinevieve Plantagenet in Cheyenne Autumn. 1963 Diamond Head as Laura Beckett 1963 Stoney Burke Season 1 Episode 27 "Kelly's Place" as Kelly 1964 Cheyenne Autumn as Guinevere Plantagenet 1966 The Fugitive Episode 102 1971 Star Spangled Girl as Mrs. MacKaninee, the landlady 1972 The Carey Treatment as Evelyn Randall 1979 No Other Love as Jean Michaels Elizabeth Allen on IMDb Elizabeth Allen at the Internet Broadway Database Elizabeth Allen at Internet Off-Broadway Database Elizabeth Allen at AllMovie
James Gregory (actor)
James Gregory was an American character actor known for his deep, gravelly voice and playing brash roles such as the McCarthy-like Sen. John Iselin in The Manchurian Candidate, the audacious General Ursus in Beneath the Planet of the Apes, crusty Inspector Frank Luger in the television sitcom Barney Miller. Gregory was born in the Bronx in New York City, raised in New Rochelle, just north of New York City. In high school he was president of the Drama Club, he worked on Wall Street as a runner in 1929 and thought of being a stockbroker, but, by 1935, had become a professional actor instead. In 1939, he made his Broadway debut in a production of Key Largo and worked in about twenty-five more Broadway productions over the next sixteen years, he served three years in the United States Navy and United States Marine Corps during World War II. His early acting work included Army training films, he played the irascible Naval Commander C. R. Ritchie in the movie P. T. 109 that chronicled the U. S. Naval experience of Lt. John F. Kennedy.
Gregory was the lead in The Lawless Years, a 1920s crime drama which aired forty-five episodes on NBC. In the series, which ran from 1959–61, he played NYPD Detective Barney Ruditsky. After his appearance as the McCarthyistic Senator Iselin in The Manchurian Candidate, Gregory starred in the film PT 109 with Cliff Robertson, he played Dean Martin's spy boss MacDonald, in the Matt Helm film series. In the pilot movie for the Hawaii Five-O, Gregory became the first actor to portray State Department official Jonathan Kaye, a recurring character on the series. Gregory was a semi-regular on the TV series Barney Miller as Deputy Inspector Frank Luger, his final acting credit was in a 1986 episode of Mr. Belvedere. Gregory died of natural causes in Sedona, Arizona in 2002, aged 90, he and his wife, Anne Miltner, are interred at the Sedona Community Cemetery. Official website James Gregory at Memory Alpha James Gregory on IMDb James Gregory at the Internet Broadway Database James Gregory at Find a Grave
Paul Edward Lynde was an American comedian, voice artist, game show panelist and actor. A character actor with a distinctively campy and snarky persona that poked fun at his in-the-closet homosexuality, Lynde was well known for his roles as Uncle Arthur on Bewitched and the befuddled father Harry MacAfee in Bye Bye Birdie, he was the regular "center square" panelist on the game show Hollywood Squares from 1968 to 1981, he voiced four Hanna-Barbera productions: he was Templeton the gluttonous rat in Charlotte's Web, Mildew Wolf from It's the Wolf, neighbor Claude Pertwee on Where's Huddles? and Sylvester Sneekly/The Hooded Claw in The Perils of Penelope Pitstop. Paul Lynde was born in Mount Vernon, the son of Hoy Coradon and Sylvia Bell Lynde, he graduated from Mount Vernon High School in 1944, studied drama at Northwestern University in Evanston, where his fellow students included Cloris Leachman, Charlotte Rae, Patricia Neal, Jeffrey Hunter and Claude Akins. At Northwestern, he joined the Upsilon chapter of Phi Kappa Sigma and is listed among the more famous members of the fraternity.
He graduated in 1948 and moved to New York City, where he worked as a stand-up comic. Lynde made his Broadway debut in the hit revue New Faces of 1952 in which he co-starred with fellow newcomers Eartha Kitt, Robert Clary, Alice Ghostley, Carol Lawrence. In his monologue from that revue, the "Trip of the Month Club," Lynde portrayed a man on crutches recounting his misadventures on the African safari he took with his late wife; the show was filmed and released as New Faces in 1954. After the revue's run, Lynde co-starred in the short-lived 1956 sitcom Stanley opposite Buddy Hackett and Carol Burnett, both of whom were starting their careers in show business; that year, he guest starred on NBC's The Martha Raye Show. Lynde returned to Broadway in 1960 when he was cast as the father in Bye Bye Birdie, he played the role in the 1963 film adaptation. That year, he recorded. All six tracks were written by him. Once he could afford writers, he used his own material until his tenure on Hollywood Squares years later.
Lynde was in great demand in the 1960s. During the 1961-62 television season he was a regular on NBC's The Perry Como Show as part of the Kraft Music Hall players with Don Adams, Kaye Ballard and Sandy Stewart, he was a familiar face on many sitcoms, including The Phil Silvers Show, The Patty Duke Show, The Munsters, The Flying Nun, Gidget, I Dream of Jeannie, F Troop, variety shows such as The Ed Sullivan Show and The Dean Martin Show. He was featured in a number of 1960s films, including Send Me No Flowers and The Glass Bottom Boat, both starring Doris Day. Lynde's best known sitcom role was on Bewitched, where he made his debut appearance in the first-season episode "Driving Is the Only Way to Fly." His role as Samantha Stephens' nervous driving instructor Harold Harold was well received by viewers, as well as series star Elizabeth Montgomery and her husband, director/producer William Asher, with whom Lynde became good friends. Asher created the recurring role of Endora's practical-joking brother Uncle Arthur.
Lynde made 10 appearances on Bewitched as the beloved character, was seen with Montgomery and Asher off the set as well. Lynde did extensive voice work on animated cartoons those of Hanna-Barbera Productions, his most notable roles included The Hooded Claw in The Perils of Penelope Pitstop, Mildew Wolf from It's the Wolf, Pertwee from Where's Huddles?. He voiced gluttonous rat Templeton in the animated feature Charlotte's Web. Lynde's sardonic inflections added a dimension to such lines as the sly, drawn-out whine, "What's in it for meeee?" His distinctive voice remains popular among impressionists. Although it is sometimes assumed that actress Alice Ghostley based her speech patterns and mannerisms on Lynde's, according to actress Kaye Ballard "it was Paul, influenced by Alice". In 1966, Lynde debuted on the fledgling game show Hollywood Squares and became its iconic guest star, he assumed a permanent spot as the "center square," a move which ensured that he would be called upon by contestants at least once in every round.
Despite an urban legend to the contrary, Lynde remained in the center at the producers' discretion. On Hollywood Squares Lynde was best able to showcase his comedic talents with short, salty one-liners, spoken in his signature sniggering delivery. Many gags were thinly veiled allusions to his homosexuality. Asked, "You're the world's most popular fruit. What are you?" Lynde replied, "Humble." Asked how many men on a hockey team, Lynde said, "Oh, about half." Asked, "Who's better looking, a fairy or a pixie?," he objected, "Looks aren't everything!" and after a pause, quipped, "I think I'll take the fairy." Asked whether it was against the law in Texas to call a Marine a "sissy," Lynde quipped, "I guess I'll have to take the law into my own hands."Other jokes relied on double entendre, an alleged fondness for deviant behaviors, or dealt with touchy subject matter for 1970s television. Examples include: Q: "What unusual thing do you do if you have something called'the gift of tongues'?" Lynde: "I wouldn't tell the grand jury.
Why should I tell you?"Q: "The great writer George Bernard Shaw once wrote,'It's such a wonderful thing, what a crime to waste it on children.' What is it?" Lynde: "A whipping."Q: "Paul, any good boat enthusiast should know that when a man falls out of your boat and into the water, you should yell'Man overboard!' Now what should you yell if a woman falls overboard?" Lynde: "Full speed ahead!"Lynd
Bye Bye Birdie
Bye Bye Birdie is a stage musical with a book by Michael Stewart, lyrics by Lee Adams and music by Charles Strouse. Titled Let's Go Steady, Bye Bye Birdie is set in 1958; the story was inspired by the phenomenon of popular singer Elvis Presley and his draft notice into the Army in 1957. The rock star character's name, "Conrad Birdie", is word play on the name of Conway Twitty. Twitty is best remembered today for his long career as a country music star, but in the late 1950s, he was one of Presley's rock'n' roll rivals; the original 1960–1961 Broadway production was a Tony Award–winning success. It spawned a London production and several major revivals, a sequel, a 1963 film, a 1995 television production; the show became a popular choice for high school and college productions. The producer Edward Padula had the idea for a musical titled Let's Go Steady, a "happy teenage musical with a difference". Padula contracted with two writers, Charles Strouse and Lee Adams wrote seven songs for their libretto.
Padula and Adams sought Gower Champion as director/choreographer, who until that time had choreographed only a few musicals.. However, Champion did not like the book and the writers were fired, with Michael Stewart hired. Stewart wrote an early version titled Love and Kisses, which focused on a couple thinking of divorce, but whose children persuade them to stay together. Champion wanted "something more". "The'something more' had been right there in the newspaper. Rock-and-roll idol Elvis Presley was drafted into the army in September 1957 and soon left the US for eighteen months in Germany, provoking a media circus that included Elvis giving a specially selected member of the Women's Army Corps'one last kiss'. After brainstorming and Adams "came up with the idea of a rock-and-roll singer going off to the army and its effect on a group of teenagers in a small town in Ohio; the name of the singer was'Ellsworth', soon changed to'Conway Twitty' before we discovered there was a Conway Twitty, threatening to sue us, finally,'Conrad Birdie'".
New York–based songwriter Albert Peterson finds himself in trouble when his client, hip-thrusting rock and roll superstar and teen idol Conrad Birdie, is drafted into the Army, leaving his indebted firm in jeopardy. Albert's secretary, Rose "Rosie" Alvarez, comes up with a last-ditch publicity stunt to have Conrad Birdie record and perform a song before he is sent overseas. Having long been stuck in a sort of romantic limbo for eight years, she longs for the Albert she once knew, an aspiring English teacher, before he wrote Conrad Birdie's first hit and abandoned those plans to pursue the seedier music industry. Rose's plan is to have Birdie sing "One Last Kiss" and give one lucky girl, chosen randomly from his fan club, a real "last kiss" on The Ed Sullivan Show before going into the Army. In Sweet Apple, all the teenagers are catching in on the latest gossip about 15-year-old Kim MacAfee and Hugo Peabody going steady. Kim reflects on how happy she is with her maturity, believing at 15 she has reached adulthood.
She quits the Conrad Birdie fan club over the phone because of the new milestone happening in her life. Her best friend Ursula is shocked. Kim reconsiders when, after a lengthy phone conversation with Ursula, she receives the phone call telling her she has been chosen to be Birdie's last kiss before going into the armed forces. Meanwhile, Conrad and Rosie prepare to go to Sweet Apple. A crowd of teenage girls sees them off at the New York City train station, although one girl is sad because she thinks that by the time Conrad gets out of the army, she will be too old for him. Albert advises her to be optimistic. Soon, tabloid reporters arrive with questions about the seedy details of Conrad's personal life, but Rosie and the girls answer for him, hoping to protect his reputation and bankability. Conrad receives a hero's welcome in Sweet Apple, Hugo worries that Kim likes Conrad more than she likes him, but Kim assures Hugo that he is the only one she loves. Conrad shocks the town's parents and drives the teenage girls crazy with his performance of "Honestly Sincere", which causes all of the girls to faint.
Conrad becomes a guest in the MacAfee house and irritates Kim's father, Harry, by being rude and selfish. Harry does not want Kim to kiss Conrad, until Albert tells him their whole family will be on The Ed Sullivan Show. Kim, Kim's mother and younger brother, Randolph sing Sullivan's praises. Albert's overbearing mother, comes to Sweet Apple to break up her son's relationship with Rosie, she introduces Albert to Gloria Rasputin, a curvy blonde she met on the bus who could replace Rosie as his secretary. Gloria, a tap dancer, secretly hopes that a connection with Albert could be her way into show business. Mae sings "Swanee River" as Gloria tap-dances. Albert gives Gloria a typing job. Rosie is furious and fantasizes about violent ways to murder Albert, but instead comes up with a better idea: she convinces Hugo to sabotage the last kiss. Since both Rosie and Hugo are jealous and angry, they plot to ruin Conrad's appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show. On the broadcast, Conrad sings "One Last Kiss" and as he leans in to kiss Kim, Hugo runs onstage and punches him in the face, knocking Conrad unconscious.
Rosie dumps Albert, Albert, trying to cover for the mishap
Gerald Isaac Stiller is an American comedian and actor. He spent many years in Meara with his wife, Anne Meara, he played Frank Costanza on the NBC sitcom Seinfeld and Arthur Spooner on the CBS comedy series The King of Queens. Stiller and Meara are the parents of actor Ben Stiller, with whom Stiller co-starred in the films Zoolander, Hot Pursuit, The Heartbreak Kid and Zoolander 2. Stiller is known for his yelling acting style; the eldest of four children, Stiller was born at Unity Hospital in Brooklyn, New York, to Bella and William Stiller, a bus driver. His family is Jewish, his paternal grandparents immigrated from Galicia, his mother was born in Poland. He lived in the Williamsburg and East New York neighborhoods before his family moved to the Lower East Side, where he attended Seward Park High School. Upon his return from service in World War II, Stiller attended Syracuse University, earning a bachelor's degree in Speech and Drama in 1950. In the 1953 Phoenix Theater production of Coriolanus, Stiller formed "the best trio of Shakespearian clowns that had seen on any stage".
In 1953, Stiller met actor-comedian Anne Meara, they married in 1955. Until Stiller suggested it, Meara had never thought of doing comedy. "Jerry started us being a comedy team," she said. "He always thought I would be a great comedy partner." They joined the Chicago improvisational company The Compass Players, after leaving, began performing together. In 1961, they were performing in nightclubs in New York, by the following year were considered a "national phenomenon", said the New York Times; the comedy team Stiller and Meara, composed of Stiller and wife, Anne Meara, was successful in the 1960s and 1970s, with numerous appearances on television variety programs on The Ed Sullivan Show. Their career declined as variety series disappeared, but they subsequently forged a career in radio commercials, notably the campaign for Blue Nun wine, they starred in their own syndicated five-minute sketch comedy show, Take Five with Stiller and Meara. From 1979 to 1982, Stiller and Meara hosted HBO Sneak Previews, a half-hour show produced monthly on which they described the movies and programs to be featured in the coming month.
They did some comedy sketches between show discussions. The duo's own 1986 TV sitcom, The Stiller and Meara Show, in which Stiller played the deputy mayor of New York City and Meara portrayed his wife, a TV commercial actress, was not successful. Stiller played the short-tempered Frank Costanza, the father of George Costanza in the sitcom Seinfeld from 1993 to 1998, he was nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series in 1997, won the American Comedy Award for Funniest Male Guest Appearance in a TV Series for his portrayal of Frank Costanza. After Seinfeld's run ended, Stiller had planned on retiring, but Kevin James asked him to join the cast of The King of Queens. James, who played the leading role of Doug Heffernan, had told Stiller that he needed him in order to have a successful show. Stiller obliged, played the role of Arthur Spooner, the father of Carrie Heffernan, in the sitcom from 1998 until 2007. Stiller said this role tested his acting ability more than any others have and that, before being a part of The King of Queens, he only saw himself as a "decent actor".
Stiller played himself in filmed skits and closing Canadian rock band Rush's 30th Anniversary Tour concerts in 2004. These appearances are seen on the band's DVD R30: 30th Anniversary World Tour, released in 2005. Stiller appeared in cameos in in-concert films for the band's 2007-2008 Snakes & Arrows Tour. Stiller appeared on Dick Clark's $10,000 Pyramid show in the 1970s, footage of the appearance was edited into an episode of The King of Queens to assist the storyline about his character being a contestant on the show, but that after losing, he was bitter about the experience as he never received his parting gift, a lifetime supply of "Rice-A-Roni, the San Francisco Treat", he made several appearances on the game show Tattletales with his wife Anne. In the late 1990s, Stiller appeared in a series of Nike television commercials as the ghost of deceased Green Bay Packers head coach Vince Lombardi. Stiller has appeared in various motion pictures, most notably Secret of the Andes. On February 9, 2007, Stiller and Meara were honored with a joint star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
On October 28, 2010, the couple appeared on an episode of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. Stiller voiced the announcer on the children's educational show Crashbox. Starting in October 2010, Stiller and Meara began starring in a Yahoo web series, Stiller & Meara from Red Hour Digital, in which they discussed current topics; each episode was about two minutes long. As of 2012, Stiller has been a spokesman for Xfinity. Stiller wrote the foreword to the book Festivus: The Holiday for the Rest of Us by Allen Salkin, released on October 26, 2005. Stiller's memoir, Married to Laughter: A Love Story Featuring Anne Meara, was published by Simon & Schuster © 2000. Stiller was married to Anne Meara from 1954 until her death on May 23, 2015; the two met in an agent's office. Anne was upset about an interaction with the casting agent, so Jerry took her out for coffee and they were together since, their son is actor-comedian their daughter is actress Amy Stiller. He has two grandchildren through Ben. Jerry Stiller on IMDb The Stiller and Meara Show at Internet Movie Database