The son of comedians Jerry and Anne Stiller, Ben grew up in a celebrity-fillled world. His father Jerry is best known for playing George’s father, Frank Costanza, on Seinfeld.
Ben has always been a performer. When he was just a boy, he used to wear his older sister’s tights and perform Shakespeare for the family. At 10 years old, he got his first Super 8 camera and began making short films. They all had the same plot: a young boy, when pushed around by bullies, takes his revenge.
The young comic caught the eye of Saturday Night Live producers when he created a short film parody of The Color of Money entitled The Hustler of Money. SNL bought the rights to it, aired it, and hired Ben for the show.
In 1992, he produced and hosted The Ben Stiller Show. Although the program didn’t make the ratings, it did win over critics. After the show was debunked, Ben picked up an Emmy for Best Writing in a Variety Program.
Ben collaborated on a book with fellow comedian Janeane Garofalo called “Feel This Book : An Essential Guide to Self-Empowerment, Spiritual Supremacy, and Sexual Satisfaction.” In the book, he refers to his fans as PHANTOMs (People wHo Are Nice TO Me).
Not content to be just a movie star, Ben also enjoys working behind the camera. He directed himself and Winona Ryder in Reality Bites as well as Jim Carrey in the dark comedy The Cable Guy.
Overheard: “I’ve never really felt like a funny, funny guy. I’ve never really felt like Mr. Life of the Party. People who know me know that I’m not the most gregarious person. I’m trying to open myself up more.”