Anne Meara

A brief appreciation of Anne Meara, who died on the 24th. Meara in 1975:

From the NYT obit by Peter Keepnews on the 25th:

Anne Meara, who became famous as half of one of the most successful male-female comedy teams of all time and went on to enjoy a long and diverse career as an actress and, late in life, a playwright, died on Saturday in Manhattan. She was 85.

… Ms. Meara was an experienced but relatively unknown stage actress when she joined forces with Jerry Stiller, as members of the Compass Players, an improvisational theater troupe that evolved into Second City (where another male-female team, Mike Nichols and Elaine May, had gotten their start), and later on their own as Stiller and Meara. The duo began performing in New York nightclubs in 1961 and within a year had become a national phenomenon.

… A tall redhead with a brassy voice and a self-confident demeanor, Ms. Meara was a natural for comedy but frequently played dramatic parts as well. “Comedy, drama, it’s the same deal,” she said in an interview for the Archive of American Television in 2008. “You don’t really act differently; you just make adjustments.”

… Ms. Meara and Mr. Stiller’s relationship was the basis for their best-known comedy routines, which told the continuing story of Hershey Horowitz and Mary Elizabeth Doyle, a short Jewish man [also decidedly crotchety] and a tall Catholic woman [also brash and expansive] who had virtually nothing in common except their love for each other.

Meara was, as they say, a real pro.

A bit more, from Wikipedia:

Anne Meara (September 20, 1929 – May 24, 2015) was an American actress and comedienne. She and Jerry Stiller were a prominent 1960s comedy team, appearing as Stiller and Meara, and are the parents of actor and comedian Ben and actress Amy Stiller.

… Meara was raised as a member of the Catholic Church, and converted to Reform Judaism six years after marrying Jerry Stiller. She has long stressed that she did not convert at Stiller’s request, but because “Catholicism was dead to me.” She took the conversion seriously and studied the faith in such depth that her Jewish-born husband quipped, “Being married to Anne has made me more Jewish.”

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