Famous birthdays this week: Ben Stiller
30/11/1965 - current (52 years old).
"I grew up wanting to make movies, and along the way I suddenly found that I had a career doing it".
1965: Benjamin Edward Meara Stiller was born in New York City, NY and is an American actor, comedian, director, producer, voice actor and filmmaker. He is the son of veteran comedians and actors Jerry Stiller and Anne Meara. His most well known films include Starsky & Hutch, Heavyweights, There's Something About Mary, Zoolander, Meet the Parents, Tropic Thunder, and the Night at the Museum series. He also voices the character Alex in the Madagascar films.
1975: He made his acting debut at age ten in a guest role on his mother's show, Kate McShane. He later acted in plays and wrote mockumentaries.
1978: In the late 1970s, he performed with the New York City troupe NYC's First All Children's Theater, playing several roles, including the title role in Clever Jack and the Magic Beanstalk.
1980: When he was approximately 15, Stiller obtained a small part with one line on the television soap opera Guiding Light, although in an interview he characterised his performance as poor.
1982: During his high school years, he was also the drummer of the punk band Capital Punishment, which released a studio album named Roadkill.
1983: Stiller attended The Cathedral School of St. John the Divine and graduated from the Calhoun school in New York.
1989: Stiller wrote and appeared on Saturday Night Live as a featured performer. However, since the show did not want him to make more short films, he left after four episodes. He then put together Elvis Stories, a short film about a fictitious tabloid focused on recent sightings of Elvis Presley. The film starred friends and co-stars John Cusack, Jeremy Piven, Mike Myers, Andy Dick, and Jeff Kahn. The film was considered a success, and led him to develop the short film Going Back to Brooklyn for MTV; it was a music video starring comedian Colin Quinn that parodied LL Cool J's recent hit "Going Back to Cali".
1990's: Stiller had a few minor roles in films such as Stella, Highway to Hell and in a cameo, The Nutt House. In 1992, Stiller was approached to direct the film Reality Bites, based on a script by Helen Childress. Stiller devoted the next year and a half to rewriting the script with Childress, fundraising and recruiting cast members for the film.
1995: Stiller joined his parents in the family film Heavyweights in which he played two roles, and had an uncredited supporting role in Adam Sandler's Happy Gilmore.
1996: He had lead roles in If Lucy Fell and Flirting with Disaster, before tackling his next directorial effort with The Cable Guy, which starred Jim Carrey. Stiller once again was featured in his own film, as twins. The film received mixed reviews, but was noted for paying the highest salary for an actor up to that point, as Carrey received $20 million for his work in the film. The film also connected Stiller with future Frat Pack members Jack Black and Owen Wilson.
1998: Stiller put aside his directing ambitions to star in a surprise hit with a long-lasting cult following, the Farrelly Brothers' There's Something About Mary, alongside Cameron Diaz, which accelerated Stiller's acting career. That year, he also starred in several dramas, including Zero Effect, Your Friends & Neighbors, and Permanent Midnight.
1999: Stiller starred in three films, including Mystery Men, where he played a superhero wannabe called Mr. Furious. He returned to directing with a new television series for Fox titled Heat Vision and Jack, starring Jack Black; however, the show was not picked up by Fox after its pilot episode and the series was cancelled.
2000: He married actress Christine Taylor in May of that year and had a son named Quinlin and a daughter named Ella. He starred in three more films, including one of his most recognizable roles, a male nurse named Gaylord "Greg" Focker in Meet the Parents, opposite Robert De Niro. The film was well received by critics, grossed over $330 million worldwide, and spawned two sequels. Also in 2000, MTV again invited Stiller to make another short film, and he developed Mission: Improbable, a spoof of Tom Cruise's role in Mission: Impossible 2 and other films.
2001: Stiller directed his third feature film, Zoolander, starring himself as Derek Zoolander. The film featured multiple cameos from a variety of celebrities, including Donald Trump, Paris Hilton, Lenny Kravitz, Heidi Klum, and David Bowie, among others. The film was banned in Malaysia (as the plot centered on an assassination attempt of a Malaysian prime minister), while shots of the World Trade Center were digitally removed and hidden for the film's release after the September 11 terrorist attacks.
2004: Stiller appeared in six different films, all of which were comedies, and include some of his highest-grossing films: Starsky & Hutch, Envy, DodgeBall: A True Underdog Story, Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy (in which he had an uncredited cameo), Along Came Polly and Meet the Fockers with Robert De Niro.
2008: This was the year of the release of Tropic Thunder, a film Stiller directed, co-wrote and co-produced, and in which he starred with Robert Downey, Jr. and Jack Black; Stiller had originally conceived of the film's premise while filming Empire of the Sun in 1987.
2011: Stiller starred with Eddie Murphy and Alan Alda in Tower Heist, about a group of maintenance workers planning a heist in a residential skyscraper.
2016: In October of this year, Stiller revealed that he had been diagnosed with prostate cancer in June 2014. Following surgery, he received a cancer-free status in September 2014.
2017: In May, Stiller and Taylor announced their separation after 17 years of marriage. In June, Stiller held a dodgeball charity event to raise money for the Foundation. Those who donated money and entered the competition had the chance to play dodgeball with some of the cast from the film, including Ben Stiller.
Stiller has been described as the "acknowledged leader" of the Frat Pack, a core group of actors that have worked together in multiple films. The group includes Jack Black, Will Ferrell, Vince Vaughn, Owen Wilson, Luke Wilson, and Steve Carell.