The Life and Career of Ben Stiller: From Zoolander to Tower Heist

Benjamin Edward Stiller was born on November 30th, 1965 in New York City. He was exposed to the Hollywood lifestyle early on as the son of legendary comedy duo Jerry Stiller and Anne Meara, and he often visited production sets and met various stars. Starting out in Broadway, Stiller was soon hired by Saturday Night Live as a writer and featured cast member in 1989. However, he decided to leave after only five episodes to produce short films, leading to MTV giving him his own experimental comedy series. Following this, he began making and starring in Hollywood films, often showcasing his outrageous sense of humor. Join WatchMojo.com as take a look at the career of Ben Stiller.
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The Life and Career of Ben Stiller: From Zoolander to Tower Heist

He was born into show business, but became famous for his sense of humor. Welcome to WatchMojo.com and today we’ll be taking a look at the career of Ben Stiller.

Benjamin Edward Stiller was born on November 30th, 1965 in New York City. He was exposed to the Hollywood lifestyle early on as the son of legendary comedy duo Jerry Stiller and Anne Meara, and he often visited production sets and meeting various stars. As a result, he was inspired to shoot Super 8 movies with his sister and their friends.

The young Stiller got his first taste of acting as a member of New York’s “First All Children’s Theater,” and he eventually studied film at the University of California. However, he soon dropped out to take acting classes, find an agent and hunt for auditions.

Stiller then earned himself a role on Broadway, and began producing his own short comedy films. He also landed a bit part in Steven Spielberg’s 1987 coming-of-age war film “Empire of the Sun.”

Due to word-of-mouth, Stiller was hired by Saturday Night Live as a writer and featured cast member in 1989. He decided to leave after only five episodes to produce short films with fellow cast-members, like John Cusack.

As luck would have it, one such film was picked up by MTV. The channel even gave Stiller his own experimental comedy series called “The Ben Stiller Show.” Despite the fact that it only lasted one season, the show won him an Emmy Award for best comedic writing.

1994 marked Stiller’s debut as a film director. That year he spearheaded and starred in the romantic comedy-drama “Reality Bites” alongside Winona Ryder and Ethan Hawke. The film’s success allowed him to direct the dark Jim Carrey comedy “The Cable Guy.”

Unfortunately, that movie turned out to be a disaster with critics and audiences. So Stiller then took on the small part of an abusive nursing home orderly in Adam Sandler’s “Happy Gilmore.” His career rebounded even further when he starred in 1996’s cross-country drama “Flirting with Disaster.”

However, it was 1998 when Stiller achieved instant fame when he starred opposite Cameron Diaz in the gross-out comedy “There’s Something About Mary.”

He continued to make audiences laugh as superhero wannabe Mr. Furious in 1999’s “Mystery Men,” and as a rabbi who was battling with a priest for a woman’s affection in 2000’s “Keeping the Faith.”

While all these were major successes, Stiller’s biggest splash at the box-office came when he played the soon-to-be son-in-law of a nutty Robert De Niro in “Meet the Parents.”

He followed that by reviving his earlier MTV Music Awards creation in the outrageously dim-witted and incredibly popular male-model comedy “Zoolander.”

Soon after, Stiller starred as the estranged son of Gene Hackman and Anjelica Huston in “The Royal Tenenbaums.” Unfortunately, he also became tied to a string of box-office duds that included the comedies “Duplex,” “Along Came Polly,” and “Envy.”

His career rebounded slightly in 2004 when he starred in a re-make of the ‘70s hit “Starsky and Hutch,” and took on the role of manic fitness guru White Goodman in “Dodgeball: An Underdog Story.” He truly returned to the limelight when he voiced Alex the lion in 2005’s “Madagascar” and when he appeared in 2006’s holiday fantasy film “A Night at the Museum.”

Afterward, Stiller starred in “The Heartbreak Kid,” produced “Blades of Glory,” featuring Will Ferell, and wrote, directed and starred in 2008’s smash hit “Tropic Thunder.”

In 2011, Stiller and Eddie Murphy starred as victims of a Ponzi scheme who decided to rob the man who double-crossed them in “Tower Heist." He then joined the “Neighborhood Watch” in 2012’s film of the same name.

With so many outrageous and memorable roles behind him, Stiller regularly returned to several blockbuster franchises. These included various sequels to “Meet the Parents,” Madagascar,” and “A Night at the Museum.” He was also given the green light to bring Derek Zoolander to the silver screen once again.

Over the course of his career, Ben Stiller proved himself to be a one-of-a-kind comedian and filmmaker. Today, he continues to bring his flair for humor to his film projects, both on and off the screen.
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