Anne Meara was an actress, comedian and writer who first rose to fame with her husband, Jerry Stiller, as the comedy team Stiller and Meara. Both went on to enjoy thriving acting careers of their own, and Meara earned four Emmy nominations over the course of a career that spanned more than 60 years.
Born in Brooklyn in 1929, Meara grew up on Long Island. She studied at the Dramatic Workshop at the New School in New York City and began performing in summer stock in 1948.
She met Stiller in 1953 when they were both performers in the Compass Players, the renowned troupe that later became Second City, and they married the following year. Although she had worked primarily as a dramatic actress, Stiller proposed that they join forces as a comedy duo.
During the 1960s, Stiller and Meara were a popular act in nightclubs and on television programs like The Ed Sullivan Show, The Merv Griffin Show, The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson and many others. By the ’70s they had begun working widely on their own, though they occasionally re-teamed for TV appearances.
She and Stiller had two children, both of whom also achieved show-business success: actor-filmmaker Ben Stiller and actress-comedian Amy Stiller.
Over the years, Meara had guest roles on numerous series, including The Courtship of Eddie's Father, Medical Center, Love American Style, The Love Boat, Murphy Brown, Homicide: Life on the Street, Ed, Oz, Will & Grace and more. She had recurring roles on many other shows, such as Rhoda, ALF, Archie Bunker's Place, Sex and the City, All My Children and The King of Queens. On the latter, her character married the character played by Stiller, one of the show's co-stars.
In 1975 she starred in the title role of the short-lived legal drama Kate McShane, for which she received her first Emmy nomination in 1976. She was also nominated in 1981 and 1982 for Archie Bunker's Place and in 1997 for Homicide: Life on the Streets.
Meara also appeared in many feature films, with credits that included Lovers and Other Strangers, The Boys from Brazil, Fame, Awakenings, Reality Bites, The Daytrippers, Southie and Night at the Museum.
Throughout her her career she continued to work in the theater, and she was nominated for a Tony Award for a 1993 production of Annie Christie.
In addition to her work as a performer, Meara wrote for television and the theater. In 1983 she was nominated for a Writers Guild of America Award for the TV movie The Other Woman, and in 1995 her comedy After-Play was produced on Broadway. Five years later another play, Down the Garden Paths, was produced Off Broadway.
In 2007, she and Stiller received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Meara died on May 23, 2015, in New York City. She was 85.