"I've never really felt like a funny, funny guy. I've never really felt like Mr. Life of the Party... I've realized in the last few years that my state of mind affects how I live my life." Ben Stiller
Hollywood actor, comedian and director Ben Stiller recently gained notice for playing White Goodman in the comedy film Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story (2004), in which he won a MTV Movie Award. He received even more recognition for portraying stupendously dim, but temptingly good-looking, catwalk legend Derek Zoolander in Zoolander (2001). Due to his significant acting, Stiller nabbed the 2002 Teen Choice Award.
In the new millennium, Stiller received widespread acclaimed and appreciation for his starring role, opposite Robert De Niro and Blythe Danner, in the box-office smash Meet the Parents (2000). He was honored with an American Comedy Award and a MTV Movie for his bravura performance. Stiller scored another hit with the 1998 hit comedy There's Something About Mary, in which he won a MTV Movie Award.
As a director, Stiller made a name for himself with his directorial effort in the never broadcasted television film Heat Vision and Jack (1999). He took home a San Francisco International Film Festival Award in 2000. Formerly, Stiller earned an Emmy for his brilliant work in The Ben Stiller Show (1992), which he also produced and starred.
Off screen, Ben Stiller was listed as the 78th of Premiere's annual Power 100 List in 2003, ranked number 68 in 2002 and number 80 in 2001. Stiller lives outside of the spotlight with his wife, actress Christine Taylor, and their two children, daughter Ella Olivia and son Quinlin Dempsey. He was once romantically involved with actress Claire Forlani (dated 1998-1999), Amanda Peet Jeanne (dated briefly in 1998), Jeanne Tripplehorn (engaged in 1993) and Janeane Garofalo (had brief relationship in the early 1990s).
Childhood and Family:
In New York, New York, Benjamin Stiller was born on November 30, 1965. His father is Jerry Stiller, an actor and a comedian (born on June 8, 1927), and his mother is Anne Meara, an actress and screenwriter (born on September 20, 1929). Raised by such legendary comic parents, young Ben soon discovered his love for comedy and acting.
As a child, Ben and his sister Amy Stiller (actress; born in 1963) performed plays at home. By the time he was ten, Ben had appeared as a guest star in his mother's series "Kate McShane," and had begun making Super 8 films. After graduating high school, Ben attended UCLA where he studied film. Bored with campus life, he decided to drop out of collage after nine months and moved back to his hometown. Ben next became involved in a few plays, found roles in films, and produced short films.
While on the set of the never-aired Fox's television pilot Heat Vision and Jack, Ben met actress Christine Taylor (born on July 30, 1971) and they became engaged in November 1999. The couple decided to tie the knot in May 13, 2000, in Kauai, Hawaii. Ben and his wife had their first child, daughter Ella Olivia, on April 10, 2002, and welcomed their son, Quinlin Dempsey, on July 10, 2005.
Growing up in a comedic family, Ben Stiller followed in his parents' footsteps. Ten-year-old Stiller kicked off his acting career when he landed a guest spot in his mother's show "Kate McShane" (1975). A year later, he tried his hand working behind the camera by making short films with a Super 8 camera. He went on to enter film school, but left his studies to pursue a career in entertainment. In 1985, Stiller debuted on Broadway in the Lincoln Center revival of John Guare's "The House of Blue Leaves," featuring John Mahoney. He next was involved in writer/director Tom Abrams' short film Shoeshine (1987), appeared in Hot Pursuit (1987), and made his TV film debut in PBS' American Playhouse production of The House of Blue Leaves (1987).
The same year, Stiller received his first wide screen role as Dainty in Steven Spielberg's Empire of the Sun (1987).
Stiller produced a short film spoof of Martin Scorsesee's The Color of Money, The Hustler of Money (1988, TV), with John Mahoney as the original Paul Newman character and Stiller as Tom Cruise's.
Surprisingly, the film was a hit and Stiller received notice. Stiller next starred opposite aging Brat Pack members Molly Ringwald and Andrew McCarthy in Fresh Horses (1988), appeared in That's Adequate (1989), played Bruce in a short film parody about obsessive Elvis fans titled Elvis Stories (1989, also featured John Cusack) and Lawrence Isabella in Next of Kin (1989).
Stiller's fine work in The Hustler of Money caught the eye of the Saturday Night Live staff and Stiller became a player and writer on the show in 1989. His one-year tenure on Saturday Night Live was so impressive that MTV gave Stiller the opportunity to produce and star in his own show, "The Ben Stiller Show" (1990), before it was picked up by Fox in 1992. Though The Ben Stiller Show was axed after only 13 episodes, Stiller gained attention. He won an Emmy for Outstanding Individual Achievement in Writing in a Variety or Music Program in 1993.
Dissatisfied with television, Stiller moved on to big screen projects by making his first feature-film directorial debut in 1994 with the comedy Reality Bites. Not only directing, Stiller also played the role of brazen yuppie Michael Grates, opposite Ethan Hawke and Winona Ryder. After embarking in roles in Heavy Weights (1995), Adam Sandler's Happy Gilmore (1996), and the disappointing If Lucy Fell (1996), Stiller scored another hit with David O. Russell's Flirting with Disaster (1996), portraying young father Mel Coplin who is searching for his birth parents. He then appeared and directed the unsatisfactory dark comedy The Cable Guy (1996), starring Jim Carrey and Matthew Broderick, before working on several television movies, including Derek Zoolander: Male Model (1996), Derek Zoolander University (1997) and Backstreet Boyz (1998).
In 1998, Stiller found fame with a starring role opposite Cameron Diaz and Matt Dillon in the smash comedy There's Something About Mary (1998). His bright acting netted the MTV Movie award for Best Fight.
That same year, he also portrayed philandering theater coach Jerry in Neil LaBute's Your Friends and Neighbors (1998) and showed off his dramatic talent as heroin addict Jerry Stahl in Permanent Midnight (1998, with Elizabeth Hurley).
Stiller again drew attention with his behind the screen effort in the made-for-TV movie Heat Vision and Jack (1999), featuring Jack Black. Though the comedy film was never broadcast, the director won a San Francisco International Film Festival award for Silver Spire - Television - Comedy in 2000.
After a string of big screen duds in 1999, including The Suburbans (1999), the superhero comedy Mystery Men (1999, with Janeane Garofalo) and Black and White (1999), Stiller starred with Edward Norton and Jenna Elfman in the hit movie Keeping the Faith (2000), portraying a rabbi in love with the same woman as his priest pal. He also had a short film on TV titled Mission: Improbable (2000) and appeared as a Cop in The Independent (2000).
Ben Stiller turned heads again with his comedic skill when he was cast as Gaylord 'Greg' Focker in the blockbuster hit Meet the Parents (2000). His brilliant performance handed Stiller an American Comedy for Funniest Actor in a Motion Picture (Leading Role) and a MTV Movie award for Best Comedic Performance. The comedy also starred Hollywood veterans Robert De Niro and Blythe Danner.
He continued to attract attention in 2001 when he starred and co-wrote the comedy Zoolander (2001), a film based on an unintelligent male model character he introduced on VH-1. Portraying catwalk legend Derek Zoolander, with Owen Wilson as a rival male model, Stiller took home the 2002 Teen Choice Award.
Following his triumph in Zoolander, Stiller worked with director Wes Anderson in the Golden globe nominated The Royal Tenenbaums (2001, opposite Gene Hackman and Anjelica Huston). In the widely praised comedy drama, he played Chas Tenenbaum, the separated son of genius parents who returns home after receiving news that his father is dying. He next had an unaccredited part as a firefighter in director Jake Kasdan's comedy Orange County (2002) and returned to TV to provide his voice for "Liberty's Kids: Est. 1776" (2002), "Prehistoric Planet" (2002) and Legend of the Lost Tribe (2002).
After a year off from films, Stiller was back on the silver screen with the 2003 comedy Duplex, costarring Drew Barrymore. The film was not well received at the box-office. He then made a cameo as a peach expert in Nobody Knows Anything (2003).
In 2004, Stiller starred as the risk-averse Reuben Feffer in the romantic comedy Along Came Polly (2004, costarring Jennifer Anniston), worked again with Owen Wilson for an update of the classic TV action comedy Starsky & Hutch (2004), costarred with Jack Black in Barry Levinson's comedy Envy (2004), played a small role in Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy (2004, starring Will Ferrel and Christina Applegate) and rejoined Robert De Niro in the sequel to Meet the Parents, Meet the Fockers (2004). In Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story (2004), Stiller drew in the fans as White Goodman. His fine acting garnered him a MTV Movie award for Best Villain.
The comedic actor continues to keep busy. Stiller had an unaccredited role in Sledge: The Untold Story (2005) and lent his voice for the lion named Alex in the animated film Madagascar (2005).
He has also five films in production including the comedy The Mirror (2006, opposite Bryant Carroll and Angelina Jolie), The Pick of Destiny (2006), Andy Dick's comedy Danny Roane: First Time Director (2005, starring Jacob Allen, Bob Bancroft and Jack Black), Tropic Thunder (2006, also starring Justin Theroux) and the adventure comedy The Persuaders (2007, with Steve Coogan).
- MTV Movie: Best Villain, Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story, 2005
Teen Choice: Film - Choice Hissy Fit, Zoolander, 2002
American Comedy: Funniest Actor in a Motion Picture (Leading Role), Meet the Parents, 2001
MTV Movie: Best Comedic Performance, Meet the Parents, 2001
San Francisco International Film Festival: Silver Spire - Television - Comedy, Heat Vision and Jack, 2000
MTV Movie: Best Fight, There's Something About Mary, 1999
Emmy: Outstanding Individual Achievement in Writing in a Variety or Music Program, The Ben Stiller Show, 1993