Rock star Geddy Lee is paying tribute to comedy legend Jerry Stiller following his death at age 92. The Rush frontman used Instagram to share memories of working with Stiller for intros for his band’s “R30: 30th Anniversary World Tour” in 2004 and the subsequent “Snakes & Arrows” tour.
Lee posted photos of him and late bandmate Neil Peart posing with Stiller at a 2009 movie premiere, as well as a series of pics from the late comedian’s cameos in Rush tour films. Stiller wears a blond mullet wig and a Rush T-shirt as he plays a superfan in the pics.
In the caption of the photomontage, the Canadian rocker remembered Stiller as being “generous” with his time and always a “good sport” as he played the “nutty” role. At the time he worked with Rush, Stiller was in his late 70s and working full time on the CBS sitcom The King of Queens.
In comments to the post, fans recalled Stiller’s iconic contribution to Rush history.
“His ‘R30’ intro was priceless,” one fan wrote. “I may have to go play ‘A Passage To Bangkok’ in his honor.”
“Rush is the greatest band ever and when I saw that they are hilarious too it made me love them even more!” another wrote. “The video shorts with Jerry were amazing! He will be missed and so is the greatest trio of musicians to ever pick up instruments.”
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“We were all saddened to hear the news today of Jerry Stiller's passing. We had the singular pleasure of knowing and working with him on a couple of Rush's tour films…He was always so generous with his time and such a good sport to co-operate with our nutty roles for him. He remains a giant in show business and one of the best loved comic actors that ever graced the screen. Pictured here with Neil and myself at the Los Angeles Premiere of "I Love You Man" in March of 2009 and some clips of his cameo appearances in Rush tour films. RIP Jerry and thanks for the memories…you will be missed.” – Geddy Lee #StopcallingmeHeidi #Whatdidyouputinmytea #nahtheyNEVERplayBangkok #ripjerrystiller
Diehard fans of the Canadian band remember Stiller’s sequences well. The famous “R30” tour intro starts with animation based on Rush album covers as a sleeping Stiller is shown. After he wakes up from his dream, the comedy legend wonders if he missed the band. Stiller calls out the band members by description. After which, realizing he slept through the show, he famously says, “I hope they play Bangkok. Nah, they never play Bangkok!”
Stiller also shot intro scenes for Rush’s “Snakes & Arrows” tour in 2007, in which he wore the blond wig and clutched a meat cleaver.
While he morphed perfectly into Rush’s worlds, Stiller was the first to admit that he didn’t know a lot about rock music. In a 2002 interview with the Daily Texan (via Moveablefest.com), Stiller said even though he didn’t understand all pop culture genres, it never stopped him from trying new things.
“I am so much aware of the fact that I don’t know anything about hard rock music,” Stiller said. ” I don’t know the names of the artists, but I respect the fact these people are out there.”
The actor also said that he and his wife and comedy partner Anne Meara’s mantra was, “Let’s give everything a shot.”