Ben Stiller was born in in New York City and grew up in
Manhattan, the second child of his famous comedy parents, who
frequently took him on the sets of their appearances. Stiller
displayed an early interest in film making, making Super 8
movies with his sister and friends. At ten years old, he made
his acting debut as a guest on his mother's series Kate McShane.
In 1983, Ben Stiller enrolled as a film student at the University of California, Los Angeles. Ben lasted nine months before dropping out to relocate back to New York City as he made his way through acting classes, auditioning and trying to find an agent.
Ben Stiller landed a role in the Broadway revival of John Guare's The House of Blue Leaves, alongside John Mahoney, a play which later garnered four Tonys. During its run, Ben Stiller produced a satirical mockumentary whose principal was fellow actor Mahoney. His comedic work was so well received that he followed up with a 10 minute short called "The Hustler of Money," a parody of the Martin Scorsese film The Color of Money featuring him in a send-up of Tom Cruise's Vince character and Mahoney in the Paul Newman role--only this time as a bowling hustler instead of a pool shark. The short got the attention of Saturday Night Live, which aired it in 1987, and two years later offered him a spot as a writer. In the meantime, he also had a bit part in Steven Spielberg's Empire of the Sun.
In 1989, Ben Stiller wrote and appeared on a season of Saturday Night Live as a featured performer. He was offered his own vehicle on MTV as host and performer in a self-titled comedy sketch show, which led to The Ben Stiller Show on the Fox Network in 1992. The show lasted 12 episodes on FOX-- with a thirteenth unaired episode broadcast by Comedy Central in a later revival. Throughout its short run, the Ben Stiller Show frequently appeared at the bottom of the ratings, even as it garnered critical acclaim, eventually winning the Emmy for "Outstanding Individual Achievement in Writing in a Variety or Music Program" after it was cancelled. The show also starred (and launched the careers of) his frequent collaborators Andy Dick, Janeane Garofalo, and Bob Odenkirk.
Ben Stiller directed both Reality Bites and The Cable Guy, to generally mixed reviews. Stiller put aside his directing ambitions to star in There's Something About Mary, which launched Ben's career into the stratosphere. Another directorial effort, 2001's Zoolander was well-received, showing he could be a bankable star both behind the camera as well as in front of it.
In the parody self-help book they co-authored, Feel This Book, he and frequent co-star Janeane Garofalo wrote about, as they put it, their "train wreck of a relationship", but it was done with a tongue-in-cheek style. During much of the 1990s, he was involved with actress Jeanne Tripplehorn.
Although Ben Stiller is best known for his film roles, Ben has appeared in many sitcoms, the earliest being the 1997 Friends episode The One With the Screamer playing Rachel's angry boyfriend 'Tommy'. In recent years he has made notable cameos in groundbreaking shows such as Arrested Development and Curb Your Enthusiasm, as well as the British sitcom Extras. In the latter two programs, Stiller appeared as a twisted version of himself: a Hollywood hotshot who is pithy, childish, and hot-tempered. In Arrested Development Ben Stiller took on the role of "Tony Wonder," a "cool" magician.
Ben Stiller's film credits include a tyrannical nursing home employee in Happy Gilmore (his appearance in that film was uncredited), an evil fitness instructor named Tony Perkis in Heavyweights, a put upon attorney in Zero Effect and a second rate superhero in Mystery Men. Ben also appeared in dramatic roles as a slimy detective in Black and White and as drug-addicted writer Jerry Stahl in the film version of Stahl's Permanent Midnight.
In July 2006, Ben announced he would be directing a comedy starring his wife as the lead role. The show will be featured on CBS and will use a single-camera format. Ben Stiller will make several cameos as husband to his wife's character.
In May 2000, Ben Stiller married Christine Taylor, whom he met while filming a never-broadcast television pilot for the FOX network called Heat Vision and Jack, starring Jack Black. Stiller and Taylor have a daughter, Ella Olivia, born April 10, 2002, and a son, Quinlin Dempsey, born July 10, 2005.
Amy Stiller, Ben's older sister, is also an actress.
Princeton University's Class of 2005 inducted Ben Stiller as an honorary member of the class during its "Senior Week" in April 2005.
In 2005, Ben Stiller revealed that he has bipolar disorder, an illness he says runs in his family.
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