Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Anne Meara, Gifted Comedian, Actress and Playwright, Is Dead at 85

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Anne Meara died today at age 85. She’d been living in the Hebrew Home for the Aged in Riverdale for some time, after a serious stroke a couple of years ago. She was the other half of the celebrated comedy team Stiller and Meara with husband Jerry; they were an absolutely brilliant and legendary. Meara was also a gifted playwright and director, as well as writer of Stiller and Meara’s many beloved (and kooky) commercials. She leaves her son Ben, the actor, and daughter Amy, who’d been taking care of her on a daily basis according to sources.

Here they are from the Ed Sullivan show, where they were the contemporaries of Joan Rivers, Alan King and so many legends:

Their Blue Nun radio commercials are burned into my head:

Here they are from “What’s My Line”:

Jerry Stiller, of course, is still alive. During more recent years he became famous in a whole new way thanks to “Seinfeld,” where played George Costanza’s father, and “The King of Queens.” But before that Anne Meara had countless roles in TV and film including playing a pal of “Rhoda” and “Archie Bunker,” appearing in key movies like “Lovers and Others Strangers,” “The Out of Towners” and “Fame.”

She also wrote a hit off Broadway play titled “After-Play.” Vincent Canby, in The New York Times, wrote that it was “the perfect New York comedy to attend before going out to dine with dear old friends from Los Angeles.”

As well, from 1992-99 Meara had a recurring role on “All My Children.”

I was lucky enough to know Anne; we talked a lot over the years. She was so funny, and had such a big heart. She was one of a kind. This is one of those times when you saw someone will be sorely missed, and it’s really true. Condolences to her family and friends.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedmanhttps://www.showbiz411.com
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.
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