Born June 8, 1927, Mr. Stiller grew up in Manhattan's Lower East Side and in Brooklyn; according to his Playbill bio, his career officially launched at age eight when he performed "Waterboy" in front of his Brooklyn classmates. A lover of the theatre from early on, he studied drama at Syracuse University and returned to New York to start a career on the stage.
Mr. Stiller made his Broadway debut in 1954's The Golden Apple. He went on to act on Broadway a total of nine times, including roles in Terrence McNally's The Ritz (1975), Albert Innaurato's Passione (1980), David Rabe's Hurlyburly (1984), Donald Margulies' What's Wrong With This Picture? (1994), and a 1997 revival of Anton Chekhov's The Three Sisters, translated by Lanford Wilson and directed by Scott Elliott. He played the doctor Chebutykin.
An Emmy nominee, Mr. Stiller had a robust television career. With his wife and fellow comedian Anne Meara, who passed away in 2015, the two made up the 1960s comedy duo Stiller and Meara. They began performing in New York's nightclubs, which led to over 30 appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show.
In the '90s, Mr. Stiller became a TV fixture once again through his portrayal of Frank Costanza (father to Jason Alexander's George Costanza) in the hit series Seinfeld. The role, which he played from 1993 through 1998, saw him nominated for a Primetime Emmy for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series. Other film and TV credits included the Zoolander films with son Ben Stiller, Joe and Sons, Teacher's Pet, The King of Queens, and Fish Hooks.
Mr. Stiller was also an author. He penned the 2000 memoir, Married to Laughter: A Love Story Featuring Anne Meara, about his marriage and collaboration with Ms. Meara, as well as a lifetime in show business. He also wrote the forward to the book Festivus: The Holiday for the Rest of Us.