Ben Stiller

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Ben Stiller
Born
Benjamin Edward Stiller
Spouse(s)Christine Taylor

Benjamin Edward Stiller (born November 30, 1965) is an Emmy-winning American comedian, actor, film producer and director. He is also the son of Jerry Stiller and Anne Meara, both of whom are veteran comedians and actors themselves.[1] Ben Stiller's most recent role was in the film Night at the Museum and his next upcoming film is The Heartbreak Kid.

Stiller has a total gross of $1.38 billion throughout his film career[2] and is a core member of the Frat Pack. With multiple cameos in music videos, televison shows, and films, he may be best known for his roles in films such as: There's Something About Mary, Zoolander, Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story, Mystery Men, Along Came Polly, Meet the Parents, and its sequel, Meet the Fockers.

Early life

Stiller was born in New York City and grew up in Manhattan, the second child of his famous comedy parents Jerry Stiller and Anne Meara, who frequently took him on the sets of their appearances, including an appearance on The Mike Douglas Show when he was six.[3] He admitted in an interview that he considered his childhood unusual: "In some ways, it was a show-business upbringing—a lot of traveling, a lot of late nights—not what you'd call traditional."[4] His older sister, Amy Stiller, was also an actress.[5] He displayed an early interest in film making, making Super 8 movies with his sister and friends.[3] At ten years old, he made his acting debut as a guest on his mother's television series Kate McShane. After being inspired by the television show Second City Television while in high school, Stiller realized that he wanted to get involved with sketch comedy.[6]

In 1983, after graduating from The Calhoun School in New York, he enrolled as a film student at the University of California, Los Angeles. Stiller lasted nine months before dropping out to relocate back to New York City as he made his way through acting classes, auditioning and trying to find an agent.[7]

Beginning career

He landed a role in the Broadway revival of John Guare's The House of Blue Leaves, alongside John Mahoney, a play which later garnered four Tonys.[7] During its run, Stiller produced a satirical mockumentary whose principal was fellow actor Mahoney. His comedic work was so well received by the cast and crew of the play that he followed up with a 10 minute short called "The Hustler of Money," a parody of the Martin Scorsese film The Color of Money. The film featured him in a send-up of Tom Cruise's Vince character and Mahoney in the Paul Newman role--only this time as a bowling hustler instead of a pool shark. The short got the attention of Saturday Night Live, which aired it in 1987, and two years later offered him a spot as a writer.[7] In the meantime, he also had a bit part in Steven Spielberg's Empire of the Sun.

In 1989, Stiller wrote and appeared on a season of Saturday Night Live as a featured performer. However, since the show did not want him to make any more short films for the show, he left after five shows.[7] He then put together Elvis Stories, a short film about a fictitious tabloid focused on recent sightings of Elvis Presley. The film starred fellow friends and co-stars John Cusack, Jeremy Piven, Mike Myers, Andy Dick, and Jeff Kahn. The film was considered a success, and led him to develop another film entitled Back to Brooklyn for MTV. MTV was so impressed with the film that they offered Stiller a weekly show where he would show behind-the-scenes footage of comedy television shows. The show parodied various television shows, music stars, and films. The show also starred (and launched the careers of) his frequent collaborators Andy Dick, Janeane Garofalo, and Bob Odenkirk. Although the show was canceled after its first season, it would lead to The Ben Stiller Show on the Fox Network in 1992. The show lasted 12 episodes on FOX--with a thirteenth unaired episode broadcast by Comedy Central in a later revival. Throughout its short run, The Ben Stiller Show frequently appeared at the bottom of the ratings, even as it garnered critical acclaim, eventually winning the Emmy for "Outstanding Individual Achievement in Writing in a Variety or Music Program" after it was cancelled.[8]

Directional debut

After a few film roles in the early 1990s such as Stella, Highway To Hell, and a cameo in The Nutt House, Stiller devoted his time on writing, raising funds, recruiting cast members, and directing Reality Bites.[7] The film was produced by Danny DeVito (who would later direct Stiller's 2003 film Duplex and produce the 2004 film Along Came Polly) and Stiller also acted in the film, which would be praised by multiple critics. He joined his parents in the family film Heavyweights, where he played two different roles, and then had a brief uncredited role in Adam Sandler's Happy Gilmore. Next, he had lead roles in If Lucy Fell and Flirting with Disaster before he would continue with his next directional effort, The Cable Guy starring Jim Carrey. Stiller once again starred in his own film as a pair of twins. The film would receive mixed reviews and perform poorly at the box office, but the film was deemed notable for issuing the highest paycheck for any actor at the time by paying Jim Carrey $20 million for the film.[9] The film would also connect Stiller with future Frat Pack members Jack Black and Owen Wilson. Also in 1996, Stiller was invited by MTV to host the VH1 Fashion Awards and along with SNL writer Drake Sather, developed a short film for the awards about a male model known as Derek Zoolander. It was so well received that Stiller developed another short film about the character for the 1997 VH1 Fashion Awards.[7]

Comedy career

File:Meettheparentsinter.jpg
Stiller as Gaylord Focker in Meet the Parents

In 1998, Stiller put aside his directing ambitions to star in There's Something About Mary alongside Cameron Diaz, which skyrocketed Stiller's career. In that same year he also starred in several dramas including Zero Effect, Your Friends & Neighbors, and Permanent Midnight. Stiller was invited to take part in hosting the Music Video awards, for which he developed a parody of the Backstreet Boys and performed a sketch with his father commenting on his now booming career. In 1999, he starred in three films, including Mystery Men where he played a superhero wannabe called Mr. Furious. He returned to directing with a new spoof television series for FOX entitled Heat Vision and Jack, starring Jack Black. However, the show was not picked up by FOX after its pilot episode and the series was cancelled. 2000 would be a better year for Stiller as he starred in four more films including one of his most recognizable roles, as a male nurse named Gaylord Focker in Meet the Parents. MTV again invited him to make another short film and he developed Mission: Improbable, a spoof of Tom Cruise's roles in the films Risky Business, Magnolia, Cocktail, and Mission: Impossible.

In 2001, Stiller would direct his most well-received film, Zoolander, which focused on the character Derek Zoolander (which was also played by Stiller) that he developed for the VH1 Fashion Awards. The film featured multiple cameos from a variety of celebrities including Donald Trump, Paris Hilton, Lenny Kravitz, Heidi Klum, and David Bowie among others. The film was banned in Malaysia (as the plot centered on an assassination attempt of a Malaysian prime minister)[10] and shots of the World Trade Center had to be digitally removed and hidden for the film's release after the September 11 terrorist attacks.[11][12]

After Stiller invited Owen Wilson to star in Zoolander, Wilson returned the favor and invited Stiller to play Chas Tenenbaum in The Royal Tenenbaums. Over the next two years, Stiller continued on with the lackluster box office film Duplex and several cameos in Orange County and Nobody Knows Anything!. He also guest-starred on several television shows, including an appearance in an episode of the television series King Of Queens as Arthur's father (Stiller's father Jerry Stiller) in a flashback. He also made a special guest appearance on World Wrestling Entertainment's WWE RAW.[13]

File:DodgeballBenStiller.jpg
Stiller as White Goodman in Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story

2004 would be Stiller's busiest year as he acted in six different films. All six of the films were comedies, and include some of his highest grossing films. They include Starsky & Hutch, Envy, Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story, Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, Along Came Polly, and Meet the Fockers. Although Envy only grossed $14.5 million worldwide[14], his most successful film of the year was Meet the Fockers, which grossed over $516.5 million worldwide.[15] In 2005, Stiller would begin his first attempt at a computer-animated film with Madagascar, which performed so well at the box office that it resulted in a sequel due in 2008.

In 2006, Stiller had two cameos, one in School for Scoundrels, and Tenacious D in: The Pick of Destiny, a film which he was the executive producer for. In December, Stiller starred in the lead role of Night at the Museum. Although the film received many poor reviews, the film earned over $115 million in ten days.[16]

Upcoming work

In July 2006, Stiller announced he would be directing a comedic television show starring his wife. The show will be featured on CBS and will use a single-camera format. Stiller will make several cameos as husband to his wife's character.[17] Stiller also currently has three upcoming films in 2007 and 2008, including The Mirror, The Heartbreak Kid, and Madagascar 2: The Lost Island. Stiller will also produce Blades of Glory and Date School.

Personal

Stiller is 5 ft 8 in tall[4] and left-handed.[18] Stiller dated several actresses during his early television and film career including Jeanne Tripplehorn, Janeane Garofalo, Calista Flockhart, and Amanda Peet.[19][20] In May 2000, Stiller married Christine Taylor, whom he met while filming a never-broadcast television pilot for the FOX network called Heat Vision and Jack, starring Jack Black.[21] Christine has also appeared alongside Ben Stiller in Zoolander and Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story. He and Taylor currently reside in Hollywood Hills[4] and have a daughter, Ella Olivia, born April 10, 2002, and a son, Quinlin Dempsey, born July 10, 2005.[22]

Stiller is a supporter of the Democratic Party and donated money to John Kerry's 2004 U.S. Presidential campaign.[23] He is also a supporter of several charities including Declare Yourself, the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation, and the Starlight Starbright Children's Foundation.[24]

In 2005, Stiller revealed that he has bipolar disorder, an illness he says runs in his family.[25]

Stiller frequently does impersonations of many of his favorite performers, including U2's Bono, Tom Cruise (which he portrayed in an SNL short film from the late 1980s and in a Celebrity Jeopardy sketch when he came back to host Saturday Night Live in the late-1990s), Bruce Springsteen, and David Blaine.

On the December 18, 2006 broadcast of The Late Show with David Letterman, Stiller revealed that he is a big fan of the original Star Trek television series and enjoys the M&M's brand chocolate candies. He admitted in an interview with Parade magazine that Robert Klein, George Carlin, and Jimmie Walker were inspirations for his comedy career.[4]

Selected filmography

Acting in film

Year Title Role Other notes
2008 Madagascar 2: The Lost Island Alex (voice; filming)
2007 The Mirror --- (in production)
The Heartbreak Kid Eddie Cantrow (post-production)
2006
Night at the Museum Larry Daley
In Search of Ted Demme Himself
Tenacious D in: The Pick of Destiny Guitar Store Dude cameo
School for Scoundrels Lonnie cameo
2005 Danny Roane: First Time Director Himself
Madagascar Alex voice only
Sledge: The Untold Story Commander
2004 Meet the Fockers Gaylord 'Greg' Focker
Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy Arturo Mendes cameo
Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story White Goodman
Envy Tim Dingman
Starsky & Hutch David Starsky
Along Came Polly Reuben Feffer
2003 Nobody Knows Anything! Peach Expert cameo
Duplex Alex Rose
Pauly Shore Is Dead Himself cameo
2002 Orange County The Firefighter
Run Ronnie Run Himself
2001 The Royal Tenenbaums Chas Tenenbaum
Zoolander Derek Zoolander earned salary of $2,500,000[26]
2000 Meet the Parents Gaylord 'Greg' Focker
Keeping the Faith Rabbi Jake Schram
The Independent Cop
1999 Black and White Mark Clear
Mystery Men Mr. Furious
The Suburbans Jay Rose
1998 Permanent Midnight Jerry Stahl
Your Friends & Neighbors Jerry
There's Something About Mary Ted Stroehmann earned salary of $3,000,000[26]
Zero Effect Steve Arlo
1996 The Cable Guy Sam Sweet/Stan Sweet
Flirting with Disaster Mel
If Lucy Fell Bwick Elias
Happy Gilmore Nursing Home Orderly uncredited
1995 Heavyweights Tony Perkis/Tony Perkis Sr.
2 stupid dogs Tony Robbins-style character
1994 Reality Bites Michael Grates
1992 The Nutt House Pie Thrower cameo
Highway to Hell Pluto's Cook/Attila the Hun
1990 Stella Jim Uptegrove
1989 Next of Kin Lawrence Isabella
Elvis Stories Bruce
That's Adequate Chip Lane
1988 Fresh Horses Tipton
1987 Empire of the Sun Dainty
Hot Pursuit Chris Honeywell
Shoeshine

Directing and producing in film

Year Title Other notes
2008 Date School producer
2007 Blades of Glory producer
2006 Tenacious D in: The Pick of Destiny executive producer
2004 Starsky & Hutch executive producer
Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story producer
2003 Duplex producer
Crooked Lines executive producer
2001 Zoolander director, producer, and writer
1996 The Cable Guy director
1994 Reality Bites director
1989 Elvis Stories director and writer

Television work

Year Title Role Other notes
2004-2006 Arrested Development Tony Wonder four episodes
2002 The Simpsons Garth Motherloving voice only; single episode
The King of Queens Jerry single episode
1999 Heat Vision and Jack Strip Club DJ director and executive producer
1997 Friends Tommy single episode
1992 The Ben Stiller Show Himself director, producer, and writer
1990 The Ben Stiller Show Himself director and writer
Working Trash Freddy Novak television film
1987 Miami Vice Fast Eddie Felcher single episode

Awards and honors

  • For his work in The Ben Stiller Show, he was awarded an Emmy for "Outstanding Individual Achievement in Writing in a Variety or Music Program".[8]
  • Stiller has the unique honor of being the only actor to be nominated by the Golden Raspberry Awards for Worst Actor for five films in one year.[27] He released six films in 2004 and Meet the Fockers was the only film he was not nominated for.
  • He has been nominated twelve times for the Teen Choice Awards and won once for "Choice Hissy Fit" for his work in Zoolander. He also was nominated by the MTV Movie Awards thirteen times and won three times for "Best Fight" in There's Something About Mary, "Best Comedic Performance" in Meet the Parents, and "Best Villain" in Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story.[28]
  • Princeton University's Class of 2005 inducted Stiller as an honorary member of the class during its "Senior Week" in April 2005.[29]

Music video involvement

Stiller has joined multiple artists for cameos in their music videos, including:

  • Smash Mouth's video for their song All Star as it shows scenes of him being portrayed as Mr. Furious from the film Mystery Men.
  • Limp Bizkit's video for their hit song "Rollin'," in which he gives the keys to friend Fred Durst and tells him "Don't scratch the car." He also appeared in the hidden track at the end of their album, Chocolate Starfish and the Hot Dog Flavored Water.
  • Tenacious D's video "Tribute", in which he merely walks across the shot in the mall during the climax of the song.
  • P.Diddy's "Bad Boy for Life" video as P. Diddy's neighbor.
  • Jack Johnson's music video, "Taylor," in which he runs over a chicken. An extended version of the video features Ben as a pedantic director, frequently interrupting and instructing Jack.
  • Beastie Boys' 2006 in-concert movie Awesome: I Fuckin' Shot That!, when Stiller and his wife appear among the audience members caught on amateur camera footage. Stiller is shown rapping along to three songs, then in a brief vox pops-style interview during the closing credits.

Frat Pack involvement

Stiller is the leader[30] of the Frat Pack, a core group of actors that have worked together in multiple films. The group includes actors Jack Black, Will Ferrell, Vince Vaughn, Owen Wilson, Luke Wilson, and Steve Carell. Stiller has been acknowledged as the leader of the group due to his multiple cameos and for his offering the other members movie roles in films he is involved with while producing and directing.[30] He has co-starred the most with member Owen Wilson, in nine different films including: The Cable Guy (1996), Permanent Midnight (1998), Heat Vision and Jack (1999) (TV), Meet the Parents (2000), Zoolander (2001), The Royal Tenenbaums (2001), Starsky & Hutch (2004), Meet the Fockers (2004), and Night at the Museum (2006). Of the twenty-five main films, Stiller has been involved with seventeen of these films, in either acting, writing, producing, or directing.

See also

References

  1. ^ "San Bernardino Sun". The Ben Stiller Show. Retrieved December 18. Unknown parameter |accessyear= ignored (|access-date= suggested) (help); Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  2. ^ "USAToday". "Museum" exhibits funny pals. Retrieved December 12. Unknown parameter |accessyear= ignored (|access-date= suggested) (help); Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  3. ^ a b "New York Daily News". A Natural selection. Retrieved December 18. Unknown parameter |accessyear= ignored (|access-date= suggested) (help); Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  4. ^ a b c d "Parade". What makes Ben Stiller funny?. Retrieved January 6. Unknown parameter |accessyear= ignored (|access-date= suggested) (help); Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  5. ^ "Movies.com". Ben Stiller Bio. Retrieved December 18. Unknown parameter |accessyear= ignored (|access-date= suggested) (help); Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  6. ^ "Journal Gazette". Stiller scrambles for laughs At the movies. Retrieved December 23. Unknown parameter |accessyear= ignored (|access-date= suggested) (help); Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  7. ^ a b c d e f "Tiscali.Film & TV". Ben Stiller Biography. Retrieved December 20. Unknown parameter |accessyear= ignored (|access-date= suggested) (help); Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  8. ^ a b "TV.com". The Ben Stiller Show. Retrieved December 20. Unknown parameter |accessyear= ignored (|access-date= suggested) (help); Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  9. ^ "Channel 4 Film". 100 Greatest Movie Stars. Retrieved January 6. Unknown parameter |accessyear= ignored (|access-date= suggested) (help); Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  10. ^ "Guardian Unlimited". Zoolander faces Malaysian censorship controversy. Retrieved January 6. Unknown parameter |accessyear= ignored (|access-date= suggested) (help); Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  11. ^ "September Terror". MOVIES AND THE SECOND DAY OF INFAMY. Retrieved January 6. Unknown parameter |accessyear= ignored (|access-date= suggested) (help); Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  12. ^ "Yahoo! Movies". Zoolander (2001). Retrieved January 6. Unknown parameter |accessyear= ignored (|access-date= suggested) (help); Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  13. ^ "FindArticles.com". PPV's Cure for the Summertime Blues. Retrieved January 2. Unknown parameter |accessyear= ignored (|access-date= suggested) (help); Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  14. ^ "Box Office Mojo". ENVY. Retrieved January 6. Unknown parameter |accessyear= ignored (|access-date= suggested) (help); Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  15. ^ "Box Office Mojo". MEET THE FOCKERS. Retrieved January 6. Unknown parameter |accessyear= ignored (|access-date= suggested) (help); Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  16. ^ "Box Office Mojo". NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM. Retrieved January 6. Unknown parameter |accessyear= ignored (|access-date= suggested) (help); Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  17. ^ "Yahoo!". Stiller, CBS down home for Taylor-tailored comedy. Retrieved July 5. Unknown parameter |accessyear= ignored (|access-date= suggested) (help); Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  18. ^ "MondoStars.com". Ben Stiller. Retrieved January 2. Unknown parameter |accessyear= ignored (|access-date= suggested) (help); Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  19. ^ "Yahoo!". Ben Stiller. Retrieved December 20. Unknown parameter |accessyear= ignored (|access-date= suggested) (help); Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  20. ^ "Monsters & Critics". Ben Stiller's funny charms. Retrieved December 18. Unknown parameter |accessyear= ignored (|access-date= suggested) (help); Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  21. ^ "Buzzle.com". Ben Stiller, Christine Taylor Welcome a Girl. Retrieved December 18. Unknown parameter |accessyear= ignored (|access-date= suggested) (help); Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  22. ^ "National Post". Group Outing. Retrieved December 18. Unknown parameter |accessyear= ignored (|access-date= suggested) (help); Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  23. ^ "Newsmeat". Ben Stiller's Federal Campaign Contribution Report. Retrieved December 18. Unknown parameter |accessyear= ignored (|access-date= suggested) (help); Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  24. ^ "Look to the Stars". Ben Stiller Charity Information. Retrieved January 6. Unknown parameter |accessyear= ignored (|access-date= suggested) (help); Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  25. ^ "About:Bipolar Disorder". Ben Stiller - Actor/Comedian. Retrieved December 18. Unknown parameter |accessyear= ignored (|access-date= suggested) (help); Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  26. ^ a b "Movie Times". Ben Stiller. Retrieved December 17. Unknown parameter |accessyear= ignored (|access-date= suggested) (help); Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  27. ^ "The Official Razzies Forum". Our Complete History, Year-by-Year. Retrieved January 6. Unknown parameter |accessyear= ignored (|access-date= suggested) (help); Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  28. ^ "Internet Movie Database". Awards for Ben Stiller. Retrieved January 6. Unknown parameter |accessyear= ignored (|access-date= suggested) (help); line feed character in |work= at position 11 (help); Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  29. ^ "Daily Princetonian". Comedian Stiller performs at Class of 2005 event. Retrieved December 18. Unknown parameter |accessyear= ignored (|access-date= suggested) (help); Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  30. ^ a b "Frat Pack Tribute". Who are the Frat Pack?. Retrieved December 29. Unknown parameter |accessyear= ignored (|access-date= suggested) (help); Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)

External links