Jerry Stiller Loved Filming His Son Ben Stiller And It Got Him In Trouble With The Cops

Mar 14, 2023 by apost team

Legendary comedian and actor Jerry Stiller once got into trouble with the cops in New York because he loved filming his family so much and followed his son, Ben Stiller, around with his camera. The footage he captured over decades inspired Ben to create a documentary centered on his late dad and mom, Anne Meara Stiller, a prominent actress and comedian. 

Jerry and Anne were married for 61 years and had one of the most enduring partnerships in Hollywood, both in their personal and professional lives. As a comedic duo, Jerry and Anne were highly in demand for comedy live performances at packed nightclubs and frequently appeared in TV variety programs, especially "The Ed Sullivan Show" and "The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson."  

However, after nearly two decades of performing together, Jerry and Anne decided to break up their act, focus on their marriage, and spend more time with their two children, Amy and Ben. They made enough money to move to the Upper East Side and live comfortably but they still did radio, TV, Broadway and film work separately.

In the 1990s, when their kids were grown, Jerry had a career resurgence after he was cast in the recurring role of Frank Constanza on the hit sitcom "Seinfeld" and earned an Emmy nomination for his performance. He was on his way to planning his retirement when he was asked by Kevin James to star as his cranky old father-in-law Arthur Spooner in the sitcom "The King of Queens." The show succeeded to stay on the air for nine seasons. 

Jerry Stiller, Ben Stiller (1978), (Ron Galella/Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images

In 1973, when Ben was in third grade and went to school by himself for the first time, his father secretly filmed him as a way to keep watch and protect his son as well. Speaking with Jimmy Kimmel on his late-night show in September 2022, Ben showed the exact footage of his father following him around with a camera. 

The "Zoolander" star said that his dad's obsession with the camera bordered on criminal to a New York cop who saw him filming. The cop apparently stopped Jerry to ask him why he was taking shots of the child. 

Ben also said that his dad was always recording and filming everything at home and gave his son his first Super 8 camera. Jerry had footage of Ben's arguments with his sister. He also filmed a lot of the rehearsals he did with his wife for their comedy act. Over the years, Jerry was able to record enough material, which later inspired Ben to make a documentary about his parents.

Jerry passed away in 2020 at 92 years old, five years after Anne's death. Ben was able to spend the last week or two with his father before he died peacefully. 

In an exclusive interview with the New Yorker shortly after Jerry's death, Ben said that his father was always "overprotective" of him and his sister, especially when they showed interest in joining show business. While their mom gave them space to figure things out, Jerry's approach to supporting his kids was the opposite. 

"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," Ben said.

Ben Stiller, Jerry Stiller (1994), (Ron Galella/Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images)

Jerry Stiller is best remembered for his cranky TV persona, but he was actually a loving and devoted dad. What do you think of Ben Stiller's anecdote about his father? Do you know a Jerry Stiller fan? Tell them about this tale!

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