Ben Stiller says his family hopes to have a memorial service for his late father, Jerry Stiller, in the future. The comedy legend passed away last week at age 92, but the Stiller family can’t host a public memorial due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Ben appeared from his home for a remote interview on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. When Fallon admitted he wasn’t sure if Ben would still want to make the late-night appearance so soon after his father’s death, the 54-year-old actor said he wanted to take a moment to celebrate his late dad.
“It’s a weird time now,” Ben said.
“People can’t really gather together. I think somewhere down the line we’ll do a memorial service for him when everybody can get together. There’s just so many people that loved him and who he worked with.”
The actor also revealed that he has received an outputting of love from fans and celebrity friends.
“There’s a lot of people who have reached out, which has been really nice,” Ben said.
“I mean, just to feel how much he touched people, how much enjoyment he gave people, because I know that he would have felt good about all this.”
With a seven-decade career in the entertainment industry, Jerry had many famous friends in the business. The late actor and comedian worked with everyone from Jerry Seinfeld to Leah Remini to Rush frontman Geddy Lee, and many of them posted poignant tributes to him following the news of his death.
Ben previously revealed that the Stiller family had a “small” private service for his father a few days after his death. The Meet the Parents star told The New Yorker that the rabbi for the service even mentioned Jerry’s outrageous Seinfeld character, Frank Costanza, when talking about him.
When talking to Fallon, Ben also recounted some sweet stories about his dad. While Jerry’s characters on Seinfeld and The King of Queens were loud and boisterous, Ben said his dad was the total opposite of that in real life, and that that side of him just “came out” when he was performing.
The There’s Something About Mary star also recalled his father’s hilarious critique of his daughter’s Ella’s fourth-grade play; Jerry gave the kiddie play two thumbs down, except for his granddaughter’s performance.
In addition, he shared a story of how when he was 11 years old, his father once chased a kid down the street who stole his bike. After catching up with the thief, Jerry determined, “We’re gonna let him keep the bike. He needs it.”
Ben also said Jerry was a “very very, very supportive dad” and always came to watch all of his performances.