Ben Stiller was born on November 30, 1965, in New York City to comedians and actors Jerry Stiller and Anne Meara. His parents frequently took him on the sets of their appearances, including The Mike Douglas Show when he was a kid. His older sister, Amy Stiller, has appeared in many of his productions, including Highway to Hell, Reality Bites, DodgeBall: A True Underdog Story, and Zoolander. Growing up, Ben showed an early interest in filmmaking and made Super 8 movies with his sister and friends. By nine years old, Stiller made his acting debut on his mother’s short-lived television series, Kate McShane.
Stiller’s Early Life and Career
In the late ’70s, Stiller performed with the New York City troupe NYC’s First All Children’s Theater. After being inspired by the television show Second City Television in high school, Stiller realized that he wanted to get involved with sketch comedy. As a teenager, Stiller dabbled in music and was even the drummer of the post-punk band Capital Punishment. The band released the studio album Roadkill in 1982. Stiller briefly enrolled as a film student at the University of California before leaving school to move back to NYC. In 1986, Stiller was cast in the Tony Award-winning Broadway revival of John Guare’s The House of Blue Leaves.
After Stiller created a parody of Martin Scorsese’s The Color of Money with a 10-minute short titled The Hustler of Money, his work got the attention of Saturday Night Live, which aired it in 1987. Two years later, SNL offered Stiller a spot as a writer. However, since the comedy sketch show didn’t want him to make more short films, he left after four episodes. Despite things not working out long-term at SNL, Stiller had his own show titled The Ben Stiller Show, which went from MTV to Fox to Comedy Central. Among the principal writers on the show were Stiller and Judd Apatow, with the show featuring the ensemble cast of Stiller, Janeane Garofalo, Andy Dick, and Bob Odenkirk.
With an impressive 135 acting credits beneath his belt, Stiller also produced 51 projects for film and television and directed 20 projects. Take a look below at our ranking of Ben Stiller’s six funniest movies: