The son of veteran comic actors Jerry Stiller and Anne Meara, Ben Stiller took any acting work he could find in his early twenties---stage, small or big screen, comedy or drama---in an effort to jump-start his career. A brief writing-performing stint on Saturday Night Live in 1989 helped him land his own eponymous sketch-comedy series on MTV later that year. While the show quickly fizzled, it laid the groundwork for his 1992 Fox series of the same name costarring Andy Dick and Janeane Garofalo. Although The Ben Stiller Show---which he wrote, produced, directed and starred in---only lasted one season, his skewed sensibility and pop-culture-infused humor turned him into a Gen-X darling. In 1994, he made his feature directing debut with Reality Bites, a slacker comedy in which he also costarred. From then on Stiller was omnipresent, tackling supporting and leading movie roles, TV guest spots, even appearing as himself in music videos. He tended to alternate between three comic characterizations---nebbishy underdog (Meet the Parents, There's Something About Mary, Night at the Museum), testosterone-heavy villain (Dodgeball, Heavy Weights), and likeable but dim-witted celebrity (Zoolander, Tropic Thunder)---with a few notable exceptions (an overprotective widowed father in The Royal Tenenbaums, a junkie in Permanent Midnight) that proved, if given the chance, he could be versatile. Still, audiences seemed to prefer his stereotypical shtick. Off screen, he dated a bevy of beauties (Jeanne Tripplehorn, Amanda Peet, Claire Forlani) before marrying actress Christine Taylor.
- Began shooting Super-8 movies when he was 10.
- Earliest forays into show business included working as an intern in 1983 on Alan Thicke's Thicke of the Night and producing a short parody of the 1986 film The Color of Money. That got him noticed by Saturday Night Live producer Lorne Michaels, who offered him a writing gig in 1989.
- Created a skit for the 2000 MTV Movie Awards where he plays Tom Cruise's stunt double, Tom Crooze.
- Penned an article about Diane Keaton for Premiere magazine in 1997.
- Coauthored a mock self-help book along with Janeane Garofalo in 1999 titled Feel This Book: An Essential Guide to Self-Empowerment, Spiritual Supremacy and Sexual Satisfaction.
- Began his own production company, Red Hour Productions (named for a Star Trek reference), with Stuart Cornfeld.
- Gave his mother, comedian Anne Meara, cameo roles in several of his films, including Reality Bites (1994), Zoolander (2001) and Night at the Museum (2006).
- 2006, Emmy — Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series: Nominee
- 1993, Emmy — Outstanding Individual Achievement in Writing in a Variety or Music Program: Winner
- 2013, Emmy — Outstanding Special Class - Short-Format Live-Action Entertainment Programs: Nominee
- 2002, Critics' Choice Awards — Best Acting Ensemble: Nominee
- 2011, Independent Spirit Awards — Best Male Lead: Nominee
- Jerry Stiller — Father
- Anne Meara — Mother
- Jeanne Tripplehorn — Ex-fiancée
- Christine Taylor — Wife (separated)
- Ella Olivia Stiller — Daughter
- Amy Stiller — Sister
- Quinlin Dempsey Stiller — Son
- Attended University of California, Los Angeles, California, United States
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