Shared a house in Flatbush with her father and her father's sister after her mother's suicide in 1940.
Studied acting under Uta Hagan and at the New School's Dramatic Workshop before beginning her career in summer stock in 1948.
Met comedy partner and husband Jerry Stiller in 1953, after both were turned down by the same theatrical agent. They got married 2 months after meeting and stayed married for 61 years.
Born Catholic but converted to Judaism after the birth of her daughter Amy.
Jerry Stiller had to convince her to move away from dramatic acting in favor of comedy. Their duo Stiller & Meara developed while at Chicago's The Compass Players, a cabaret that preceded The Second City improv troupe.
Much of the humor in Stiller & Meara's act came from the difference in their ethnic backgrounds and heights (Meara was taller).
Performed with Jerry Stiller on The Ed Sullivan Show 36 times, even though Ed Sullivan terrified her.
Appeared in cameos in many of son Ben Stiller's films.
After developing stage fright later in life, she became a playwright and garnered positive reviews for her Off-Broadway plays After-Play and Down The Garden Paths.
1976, Emmy — Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series: Nominee
1993, Tony — Actress (Featured Role--Play): Nominee
1981, Emmy — Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy or Variety or Music Series: Nominee
1997, Emmy — Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series: Nominee
1982, Emmy — Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy or Variety or Music Series: Nominee
1977, Golden Globe — Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Series, Miniseries or Motion Picture Made for Television: Nominee