Anne Meara Dead at 85; Recurred on 'All My Children' in the 1990s, Starred in 'The Greatest Gift'

Anne Meara
Anne Meara died at 85 on Saturday, her family said. Meara and her husband, Jerry Stiller, were married for 61 years and worked together almost as long, the family said in a statement. In addition to her husband, she is survived by her children, comic actor Ben Stiller, daughter Amy Stiller and grandchildren.

"Anne's memory lives on in the hearts of daughter Amy, son Ben, her grandchildren, her extended family and friends, and the millions she entertained as an actress, writer and comedienne," the family statement said.

Meara was born in 1929 in Brooklyn, New York, to parents of Irish-Catholic descent. She studied under acting teacher Uta Hagen and aspired to become a "serious" actor in the tradition of Maureen Stapleton and Kim Stanley. Then she met Stiller, a Jewish boy from Brooklyn, and turned to comedy even though she "disdained" comedians, she said in a 2005 interview.

"I was glad he got us to be a comedy team because then we weren't just waiting for the agent to call," she said. "We traveled with our own stuff."

Anne Meara on All My Children in 1995.
The couple made their name as "Stiller & Meara" in the 1960s with frequent performances on variety shows, including the The Ed Sullivan Show.

The couple met at a New York casting call in 1953. They married in 1954 and she converted to Judaism, according to The Hollywood Reporter. After years of struggling to stardom, they eventually teamed up for a comedy act playing exaggerated versions of themselves in New York's Greenwich Village coffeehouses.

In 1954 she joined the cast of short-lived NBC soap opera The Greatest Gift as Harriet.

Meara became a regular on the game show circuit and before landing the role of Sally Gallagher on Rhoda. She went on to play hundreds of TV roles in the 1980s and 1990s in shows like Archie Bunker's Place, The Love Boat, ALF, Sex and the City and The King of Queens.

Meara recurred as Peggy Moody on ABC soap opera All My Children from 1993 to 1998. Watch Meara's Peggy interact with Brooke (Julia Barr) and Edmund (John Callahan) in the clip below:


  1. Remembering her as the news broke yesterday:

  2. God Bless You, Anne Meara. Make Them Belly Laugh In Heaven!

    Brian :-D