Anne Meara was an American actress best known as one half of the industry’s most renowned comedy duo ‘Stiller and Meara’, the other half being her real-life husband, Jerry Stiller. Both of them were part of Compass Players, an improvisational company which later was renamed The Second City Theater. The couple also appeared on the show ‘The Ed Sullivan Show’. Talking about Meara’s solo acting career, she did numerous projects on television, stage and the big screen. She was featured on the series ‘Rhoda’, ‘ALF’, ‘Sex and the City’ and ‘The King of Queens’. She also appeared on her own series titled ‘Kate McShane’. The American actress was one of the main protagonists of the show ‘The Stiller and Meara Show’. Coming to her big screen performances, Meara had acted in a handful of movies. She appeared in ‘Fame’, ‘The Boys From Brazil’, ‘Crooked Lines’, ‘Awakenings’, ‘Sex and the City: The Movie’ and ‘Zoolander’. Very few people know that Meara was also a playwright. She wrote the hit off-Broadway play titled ‘After-Play’. Besides this, she co-wrote the television movie ‘The Other Woman’. She was also writer of the online blog ‘Mr. Beller's Neighborhood- New York City Stories’. During her career, Meara was honored with many awards and accolades. She was nominated for Emmy Awards four times. She won the Obie Award for her Broadway production titled ‘Mädchen in Uniform’. She also won a Writers Guild Award for her contribution to ‘The Other Woman.’
Childhood & Early Life
Anne Meara was born on September 20, 1929 in Brooklyn, New York, to parents Mary and Edward Joseph Meara. As the only child of her parents, Meara was nurtured in Rockville Centre of New York. When she was 12, her mother Mary committed suicide.
At the age of 18, Meara learnt acting from Dramatic Workshop at The New School (Manhattan).
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Anne Meara began her acting career in 1948 through the summer stock theatre. Then after marrying Jerry Stiller in 1954, she joined The Compass Players (later renamed to The Second City) and formed the comedy team ‘Stiller and Meara’ along with him.
In 1961, Meara and her husband performed in many nightclubs of New York. After this, the couple joined ‘The Ed Sullivan Show’ as the show’s regulars. Later on, they did many other television programs including Johnny Carson’s ‘The Tonight Show’.
Meara then had a recurring role on the series ‘Rhoda’. She also had a small role in ‘The Boys from Brazil’. In 1975, she appeared in her own series titled ‘Kate McShane’ that happened to be aired on CBS.
Meara then costarred with Martin Balsam and Carroll O'Connor and in the series ‘Archie Bunker's Place’. This show was a continuation of the 1970s sitcom ‘All in the Family’. The actress portrayed the character of Veronica Rooney in the series’ first three seasons.
In 1980, Meara acted in the flick ‘Fame’. In the late 1980s, she got featured in the television series titled ‘ALF’.
In 1986, the actress along with her husband starred in their own show ‘The Stiller and Meara Show’. In this show, Stiller played the role of a deputy mayor while Meara portrayed his wife.
In 1995, she wrote the comedy ‘After-Play’ that became an Off-Broadway production. From 1999 to 2007, Anne Meara guest-starred on the show ‘The King of Queens’. She played a recurring role on ‘Sex and the City’ as well. She also acted in an episode of the series ‘Law & Order: Special Victims Unit’.
In the year 2009, she wrote the online blog ‘Mr. Beller's Neighborhood—New York City Stories’. In this blog, she shared her personal life stories including her childhood experiences at her boarding school, her mother’s death, and other happenings.
In 2010, Meara and Stiller started starring in the Yahoo! web series ‘Stiller & Meara’. The American actress then got the offer to play a role in the Off-Broadway play titled ‘Love, Loss, and What I Wore’. She was also the consulting director of The Jewish American Princesses (J.A.P) of Comedy, an off-Broadway production.
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Anne Meara acted in a handful of films such as ‘The Boys From Brazil’, ‘Crooked Lines’, ‘Awakenings’, ‘Sex and the City: The Movie’ and ‘Zoolander’. She has also acted in short videos like ‘Brooklyn Thrill Killers’, ‘The Yard Sale’, ‘The Queen of Greenwich Village’ and ‘Simpler Times’.
She released her first LP with her husband in 1963 which became a hit. During the 1970s, she and her husband wrote and performed several radio advertisements together for Blue Nun Wine.
Meara had lent her voice to characters in many films. Her last voice role was in the 2014 movie ‘Planes: Fire & Rescue’ in which she provided her voice to the character of Winnie.
Awards & Achievements
Anne Meara was nominated for the Emmy Awards four times in her career. She was also nominated for a Tony Award for her featured role in a play.
In 1977, she was nominated for the Golden Globe Award under the category ‘Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in Series/ Miniseries/Motion Picture Made for Television’.
The American star was awarded with a Writers Guild Award for her writing work in the TV film ‘The Other Woman’.
She was awarded with an Obie Award for her contribution to the play ‘Mädchen in Uniform’.
Anne Meara was the only child of her parents Edward Joseph Meara and Mary T. Meara.
She married actor Jerry Stiller in 1954. After her marriage, she converted to Judaism. She had two kids with Stiller, daughter Amy Stiller who was born in 1961 and son Ben Stiller who was born in 1965.
Meara died of natural causes at her home in Manhattan on May 23, 2015. She was 85.
Anne Meara learnt drama from the HB Studio of New York City.
She was the mother-in-law of Hollywood actress Christine Taylor.
On February 9, 2007, the actress and her husband were awarded a Star on Hollywood Walk of Fame at the 7018 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood.