If multi-tasking is an art, Benjamin Stiller is the Picasso of it. The Hollywood industry remains in awe of Ben Stiller’s splendid career that spans acting, production, direction, screenwriting, and hosting.
Today’s Rise to Fame is about a man that left no stone unturned from Television to the Big Screen. It’s about a man who made his television debut at the age of 9 and went on to become one of the biggest success stories in Hollywood later on. Today, we talk about Benjamin Edward Meara Stiller.
Born to comedian Jerry Stiller and actress Anne Meara on the 30th of November, 1965, Ben Stiller was accustomed to the world of showbiz right from an early age. Ben Stiller also has an elder sister named Amy. She is a regular name in many of his projects such as Reality Bites and Zoolander.
His father Jerry Stiller came from a Jewish family that immigrated from Central Europe back in the days and his mother was an Irish-Catholic who later converted when she married Jerry. Today, the Stiller family celebrates both Hanukka and Christmas.
Ben Stiller has been a student of The Cathedral School of St. John the Divine. He holds a graduate degree from the Calhoun School in New York in 1983. In addition, Ben had also joined the University of California where he studied film making and acting but left the studies after nine months.
Ben Stiller believes that his childhood was inclined towards a ‘show-business upbringing’ because his parents often took him along to the sets of their movies. He says that he traveled a lot during his childhood due to the profession of his father and mother. He was just six when he visited the set of The Mike Douglas Show and was fascinated by the ambiance there.
Fun Fact, by the time he was nine, he had already made his television debut. Isn’t that amazing? It was a guest role that Ben was assigned to play in his mother’s show titled Kate McShane.
Early Days As An Artist
It was during the 1970s in his youth that Ben Stiller found himself truly enjoying the world of entertainment. While in high school, Ben watched the TV show Second City Television and instantly got catapulted into sketchy comics. Ben would also perform at NYC’s First All Children’s Theater where he portrayed the roles of Clever Jack and the Magic Beanstalk.
A post-punk band named Capital Punishment admitted Ben Stiller with them when he was in high school. The Capital Punishment band reunited three years ago to publish a new EP titled This Is Capital Punishment.
Even though he had landed a guest role in a show when he was 9, it was the famous soap opera Guiding Light that can really be called Ben Stiller’s television debut. This is because Ben Stiller found his way all by himself this time, without any silver spoon from his mother in his mouth.
He was 15 years old now and it was a one-liner scene that Ben Stiller was given in the show and Ben later reveals that he was not really happy with the performance he had put up that day. But this little role in the Guiding Light soap opera had opened the gates of more projects for the little kid.
He was later seen in John Guare’s The House of Blue Leaves revival in 1986, alongside English-born American actor John Mahoney. This project of Ben Stiller went on to fetch four Tony Awards.
Steven Spielberg’s Empire of the Sun had also cast Ben for a short role later on.
The Ben Stiller Show
Ben Stiller also tried his luck in screenwriting. He was seen on Saturday Night Live in 1989 as a writer and featured performer. However, the SNL chapter did not last long enough as Ben was asked to leave after four episodes.
He continued writing and came up with a short fiction film titled Elvis Stories. Elvis Stories went on to become a considerably good project of Ben Stiller and he ended up developing another short film called Going Back to Brooklyn that aired on MTV. Little did he know things were about to blow up this time.
The MTV executive team realized the talent Ben Stiller had and decided to offer him a 13-episode show of his own. The Ben Stiller Show revolved around a mashup of comedy sketches, music videos, films, parodies, and celebrities.
His show was discontinued after a single season on MTV but Fox Network came to the rescue. They later ran 12 episodes of The Ben Stiller Show on Fox with the final episode being aired on Comedy Central.
Actor Ben Stiller Becomes Film Director
Up until now, Ben Stiller was a comedian and an actor. He had done roles in TV and in movies as well. But now things were changing.
It was in 1992 when Ben Stiller was offered to be the director of the American romantic-comedy drama Reality Bites. He took up the challenge and spent close to 12 months working on improvising the script, raising funds, and building a team. In 1994, Reality Bites was released with Ben Stiller as its director and co-star. It became the highest-grossing film in its opening weekend at that time.
In 1996, Ben Stiller directed his next project titled The Cable Guy. It was an American black comedy movie featuring Jim Carrey and Matthew Broderick. After The Cable Guy, Ben’s directorial momentum came to a slow-down, and he shifted towards acting again.
Ben Stiller was seen in several popular dramas such as Zero Effect, Your Friends & Neighbors, and Permanent Midnight in 1998. He also played the well-received character of Mr. Furious in the 1999 movie Mystery Men.
After a good run as an actor, when he returned to directing films, he met with an unfortunate fate. Ben Stiller had developed a TV series called Heat Vision and Jack for Fox but it was canceled after the first pilot episode was shown.
In 2001, Stiller directed his third feature film named Zoolander. It featured him as Derek Zoolander. The film also got popular for featuring a host of special appearances from a variety of celebrities, including former President of The United States Donald Trump, Paris Hilton, Lenny Kravitz, Heidi Klum, and David Bowie, among others.
Best Works Of Ben’s Career
Some of the best works of Ben Stiller came in 2004. He appeared in six movies that year such as Starsky & Hutch, Envy, DodgeBall: A True Underdog Story, Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, Along Came Polly, and Meet the Fockers.
Out of these, Meet The Fockers grossed over $500 Million worldwide being the most successful film of Ben that year. Starsky & Hutch also gained a spot in the year’s top-grossing films.
Hi Television Show, The Ben Stiller show fetched him an Emmy Award as well. He has been nominated twelve times for the Teen Choice Awards, and won once, for “Choice Hissy Fit” for his work in Zoolander.
Love Life And Relationships
Talking about Ben Stiller’s love life, he had been romantically associated with actresses Jeanne Tripplehorn, Calista Flockhart, and Amanda Peet during his early career. He married Christine Taylor in Hawaii in the year 2000. They separated 17 years later in 2017. Their marriage produced two children, one daughter named Ella Olivia and a son Quinlin Stiller.
Christine Taylor had been seen with Ben Stiller in movies like Zoolander, Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story, Tropic Thunder, and in the TV series Arrested Development and Curb Your Enthusiasm.