‘The Tonight Show’: Ben Stiller Shares Jerry Stiller Memorial Plans

Jerry Stiller passed away on May 11 at the age of 92. His son, Ben, has taken some time during mourning to share memories of his father, and both his parents really. Jerry married Anne Meara and their son went into the family business, show business. 

Ben Stiller and Jerry Stiller
L-R: Ben Stiller and Jerry Stiller | Charles Eshelman/FilmMagic

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Ben Stiller appeared on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon on May 20 to discuss his father and parents. One of the things he addressed was plans for a memorial service for the late Jerry Stiller. 

Ben Stiller is touched by the outpouring of condolences for his father Jerry Stiller

In the week and a half since Jerry passed away, Ben has been hearing from all the people his father touched. That outpouring has resonated with Ben.

A lot of people have reached out which has been really nice, just to feel how much he touched people, how much enjoyment he gave people. I know that he would have felt good about all this. If you had asked him, ‘Do you care about all the show business aspect of things?’ and he really did. He’d always say, ‘But I really care about my kids and my kids being happy.’ He’d be so happy watching us do our thing, or his grandkids do their thing.

Ben Stiller, The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, 5/20/2020

Ben Stiller’s ‘Tonight Show’ appearance is a virtual Jerry Stiller memorial

Unfortunately, the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic means the Stiller family cannot hold a group service for Jerry. Ben wanted to appear on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon so that viewers would have a chance to memorialize his father.

The Tonight Show: Stiller Family
L-R: Jerry Stiller, Ben Stiller, Anne Meara and Jimmy Fallon | Lloyd Bishop/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images via Getty Images

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“I figured it would be good to do it because it would be a chance to talk about my dad a little bit,” Stiller told Fallon. “I thought it would be nice to be able to have a moment to celebrate him a little bit.”

A Jerry Stiller memorial will have to wait until after the pandemic

California still has stay-at-home orders, which the state is slowly relaxing for essential businesses. Ben said there are plans to have a memorial for people to attend once it is safe to gather in large groups again.

Jerry Stiller and Anne Meara | Gabriel Buoys/AFP via Getty Images

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“It’s a weird time now,” Stiller said. “People can’t really gather together. I think somewhere down the line we’ll do a memorial for him when everyone can get together because there are so many people who loved him and he worked with.”

Ben Stiller was with Jerry Stiller when he passed away

Ben shared that he realized he had the privilege to be with his father when he passed away. Due to COVID-19 restrictions at hospitals a lot of people are forced to say goodbye remotely, if at all. Ben extends his condolences to those families. 

Ben Stiller
Ben Stiller | Frederic J. Brown / AFP via Getty Images

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“I feel really fortunate at this time just to say it, but there are so many people dealing with so much in terms of what’s going on with COVID, losing people and not being able to be together,” Stiller said. “My heart goes out to all those people. I feel very fortunate that I was able to be with my dad. It’s not like that for so many people right now. My heart goes out to those people who are losing people.”