Monday, June 23, 2008
Born Benjamin Edward Stiller on November 30, 1965 in New York City, Ben Stiller is a hugely popular comedic actor known for a string of box-office hits, such as Zoolander, There’s Something About Mary, Meet the Parents, and Starsky and Hutch.
Born to Jewish parents, Ben Stiller’s parents are both veteran comedians and actors, and as a child, he was frequently taken to sets of their appearances. He grew up to a lot of traveling and late nights. When he was 10 years old, he made his acting debut as a guest on his mother’s television series Kate McShane. He also performed with New York City’s First All Children’s Theater. It was around this time that he decided he wanted to do sketch comedy. After graduation, he moved back to New York City to attend classes, audition, and find an agent.
Stiller’s first major work was in the Broadway revival of The House of Blue Leaves, a play which would later garner four Tony’s. He made mockumentaries and parodies that got the attention of Saturday Night Live. Two years later, he was offered a spot as a writer. He left SNL to continue doing short films. He produced a film called Back to Brooklyn for MTV. The cable network was so impressed that he was given The Ben Stiller Show, where Stiller developed his style as a comedian. Although languishing at the bottom of the ratings, The Ben Stiller Show was critically acclaimed, winning an Emmy for Outstanding Individual Achievement in Writing in a Variety or Music Program.
Before mainstream acting, Ben Stiller directed Reality Bites and The Cable Guy starring Jim Carrey. He left directing in 1998 to star in There’s Something About Mary, which single-handedly catapulted him to mainstream popularity. In 2000, he played one of his more recognizable roles in Meet the Parents. After Meet the Parents, he would star in a string of moderately successful movies, while hosting the MTV Movie Awards several times, and appearing in several television shows. His other memorable movies include Along Came Polly, Starsky and Hutch, Meet the Fockers and the animated film Madagascar.