Is Anne Meara Jewish?

Anne Meara was Jewish through conversion. She was known as an American actress and comedian. Along with her husband, Jerry Stiller, she was one-half of a prominent 1960s comedy team, Stiller and Meara. She was also featured on stage, television, in numerous films, and later became a playwright. Her son, Ben Stiller, is a famous comedian and actor. While Meara was raised a Roman Catholic, she converted to Reform Judaism six years after marrying Stiller. She claimed she did not convert at Stiller's request, but because "Catholicism was dead to me."

Anne Meara was born in Brooklyn, New York, the daughter of parents of Irish descent, Mary (née Dempsey) and Edward Joseph Meara, a lawyer. She was raised in Rockville Centre in Long Island, New York and was an only child. Her mother committed suicide when she was 11. When she was 18, Meara spent a year studying acting at the Dramatic Workshop at The New School in Manhattan. The following year, 1948, she began her career as an actress in summer stock.

During her career, Meara was nominated for four Emmy Awards and won a Writers Guild Award as a co-writer for the TV movie, The Other Woman. In addition to being the mother of actor and filmmaker Ben Stiller, she was also the mother of actress Amy Stiller.

Meara took her conversion seriously and studied the Jewish faith in such depth that her Jewish-born husband quipped, "Being married to Anne has made me more Jewish." They discussed how they met and their early career during a guest appearance on the TV game show, What's My Line? in 1968.

Anne Meara died on May 23, 2015, at the age of 85. She is survived by her husband, children, and two grandchildren.

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