Sunday, May 24, 2015

Anne Meara (1929-2015)


Stiller and Meara -- Jerry and Anne in 2012

"Anne's memory lives on in the hearts of daughter Amy, son Ben, her grandchildren, her extended family and friends, and the millions she entertained as an actress, writer and comedienne."
-- from a statement released by the family

by Ken

Of course I can't speak for the family and friends, but speaking as one of the millions Anne Meara (who died yesterday) entertained as an actress, writer, and comedienne for all those decades, I'd say this statement gets it just right.

Like the great Stan Freberg, whom we were remembering just recently, Stiller and Meara discovered that their deep comedic gifts could be channeled into what I suspect accounted for a major portion of their livelihood, writing and performing in advertising, and they regularly produced commercials that linger in memory long after the products they were selling have faded from memory, if not existence.

At the same time, they never stopped making their abilities to entertain available to producers smart enough to find ways to take advantage of them. Credit the Seinfeld team with turning Jerry loose in the character of Frank "Serenity Now!" Costanza, which among other invaluable achievements made the mystery that was George Costanza less mysterious.

A 1985 publicity photo
Anne had lovely stints as Rhoda's airline-hostess friend Sally on Rhoda and as the wisecracking cook Veronica on Archie Bunker's Place, maybe the happiest features of that life-support-ish extension of All in the Family. And then there was her sometimes funny but more often heartbreaking stint as Miranda's mother-in-law (i.e., Steve's mother, Mary Brady) sliding into the dark place of lost memory.

I wish I had something more insightful to say about Anne, but I'm sure there will be lots of people filling that gap. All I can say is that I always talk the comedy of Stiller and Meara personally, in the sense that comedy always seemed personal to them -- they always seemed to feel a personal need to entertain us and make us feel better about, well, stuff. They made the world a better place, and how many people can say that?

Thanks, Anne, and thanks, Jerry.





At 3:30 PM, Anonymous ap215 said...

Anne was one of a kind i enjoyed watching her as Peggy Moody on AMC a true Brooklyn'ite may she RIP.


Post a Comment

<< Home