Ben Stiller is opening up about his iconic later father Jerry Stiller, and their last days together. In an interview with The New Yorker, the 54-year-old said that he and his 58-year-old sister Amy treasured their final days with their 92-year-old father.
He said: “Just due to the fact that he didn’t have a coronavirus-related illness, and he had been ailing for a while, we were able to be with him, which I’m very, very grateful for.”
Ben also reflected on how he felt about his father Jerry and late mother Anne Meara as comedians when he was a kid: “I don’t ever remember a moment of thinking, Oh, they’re funny. I remember watching them onstage and seeing them perform and get laughs, and do their act. I remember, as a kid, enjoying watching that and thinking, Oh, this is kind of cool that everybody thinks my parents are funny. And it was exciting.”
He recalls Jerry’s support when he turned to comedy himself, saying: “If my dad could have been there with us every step of the way, he would pull every string that he could possibly pull, and open every door he could possibly open. And, again, he was like that with anybody. If you met somebody on the street and they said they were a fan and they were interested in acting, he’d talk to them for twenty minutes about it. For real. He was that guy.”
Ben also says he knows where he stands in comparison to his parents: “What I’ve always felt over the years is I wanted to do my thing, and my dad and mom did their thing — and were so good at it. And it’s, like, my dad is so funny. Like, I’ve never, ever thought I was funny like my dad. Or as funny as my dad. I’ve never really felt a competition, because I would lose, hands down.”