Ben Stiller

Ben Stiller in Tropic Thunder

Ben Stiller in “Tropic Thunder”

The comic mastermind behind some of the funniest films of the past decade, Ben Stiller has fought his way to the top of the pyramid with his own, unique brand of humor. Constantly approached to direct, write and appear in a number of risky comedies, Ben has become one of the most highly sought-after comics in the business. As the son of comic legends Jerry Stiller and Anne Meara, Ben was already emerged in the world of comedy before he ever said his first swear word, but he followed aspirations of becoming a director after working with Steven Spielberg on “Empire of the Sun” as a young kid. Producing his own short films using a Super 8 camera in his spare time, Ben finally went off to UCLA’s esteemed film school in 1983, only to return home to New York the same year.

Recognized as a smart and funny youngster, Ben was given the chance to appear as a regular cast member on the sketch-comedy show “SNL,” though he only lasted for one season before creating his own, ingenious series called “The Ben Stiller Show.” Originally signed by MTV to air his show in 1992, FOX eventually took over the rights and cancelled it after only one year. The network was publicly embarrassed when Stiller’s show won an Emmy for Comedy Writing that same year. Frustrated with the politics of TV, Ben changed his attention towards film, directing and appearing in the 1994 MTV-generation film, “Reality Bites.” Generating plenty of buzz from critics and studios alike, Ben’s Hollywood career was forged with one quick hit, and after comedic big shot Jim Carrey took notice, the pair joined forces on the underrated flop, “The Cable Guy.” Although Ben’s first introduction of his off-kilter humor wasn’t welcomed with open hands (or minds), he soon became praised for his later work on blockbuster hits like “There’s Something About Mary” and “Meet the Parents.” In 2000, Ben married fellow actress Christine “Marsha Brady” Taylor and has continued to collaborate on some of Hollywood’s funniest films. Ben’s career is far from over, but it will be interesting to see how his comedy evolves while he matures as an artist.

Ben on the Screen

Ben has been a notable face in film for quite a while, appearing in cameos like “Happy Gilmore” for friends and front-running his own projects, but his latest films have also included directorial duties and more dramatic roles. Making a short, one-year stint on “SNL” in 1989, Ben wasn’t able to keep his job on the famous sketch-comedy show, but he managed to make enough friends to last a lifetime in the business. He quickly snapped back with the short-lived “Ben Stiller Show,” a horrendous canceling mistake on FOX’s part, and his directing debut with the insanely popular, cult hit “Reality Bites.” Ben has never looked back since he first stepped foot into Hollywood, releasing a grab bag of comedic flops and blockbusters during his equally shaky career. Along with hits like “Meet the Parents,” “Starsky and Hutch” and “There’s Something About Mary,” and flops like “Along Came Polly” and “Envy,” Ben has also offered up a handful of quirky comedies like “Mystery Men” and the much underrated “Zoolander” and “The Cable Guy.” Here and there, Ben has also delivered some serious performances with “Permanent Midnight” and “The Royal Tenenbaums.”

Along Came Polly” (2004)
It may not have been a big hit, but Ben has some good chemistry with the beautiful Jennifer Aniston in this funny romantic comedy. The film also stars Debra Messing as the bride who cheats on him and Phillip Seymour Hoffman who delivers his epic “let it rain” scene.

“Tower Heist” (2011)
This movie really sucks, but Ben does a fine job opposite Eddie Murphy and the beautiful Téa Leoni. .

Ben Says

On his gaydar:
“I have no problem with straight actors playing gay, but I always feel like I can tell. Does that sound horrible?”

On his career:
“If my parents were like, plumbers, who knows what I would be doing!”

On ‘”Tenenbaums” director, Wes Anderson:
“Wes Anderson doesn’t care about satisfying all of America. He is an artist. I am trying to satisfy all of America. I will fail miserably.”

On success:
“The last thing I want is to be a 5-foot-2 guy walking down the street with a 6-foot-2 model. Like, ‘Look at me! Look what I can get now I got my dick caught in a zipper.”

On sex scenes:
“I’ve done a couple of sex scenes, and they’re not fun. Everybody gets stressed out. You’re in a room with lots of people, trying to pretend you’re alone — and you’re naked! I’ve never met an actor who says, ‘Yeah, let’s have fun and do some love scenes.”’