Ben Stiller

Stiller in 2011, photo by carrie-nelson /

Birth Name: Benjamin Edward Meara Stiller

Place of Birth: New York City, New York, U.S.

Date of Birth: November 30, 1965

*father – Ashkenazi Jewish
*mother – Irish [converted to Judaism]

Ben Stiller is an American actor, comedian, and filmmaker. He is the son of comedians and actors Jerry Stiller and Anne Meara. His sister is actress Amy Stiller. He has starred in the films There’s Something About Mary, Meet the Parents, and Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story, among others. Ben has two children with his wife, actress and comedian Christine Taylor.

Ben’s father’s family were Jewish. They emigrated from Austria and Poland. Ben’s mother’s family were of Irish Catholic background. Ben’s mother converted to Judaism before Ben was born, around 1961.

Ben’s paternal grandfather was William “Willie” Stiller (the son of Samuel/Sam Stiller and Anna Intel/Tietel/Teitel). William was born in New York, to Jewish emigrants, from Chijika, in Galicia. Samuel was born in Khodoriv, Zhydachivs’kyi district, Lviv Oblast, Ukraine. Anna was the daughter of Abraham Teitel and Ray Schiffman.

Ben’s paternal grandmother was named Bella Cytrynbaum/Citrin (the daughter of Yussef/Yosif/Joseph Itshak Cytrynbaum/Citron and Devorah). Bella was a Jewish emigrant, from Frampol, Poland.

Ben’s maternal grandfather was Edward Joseph Meara (the son of James Meara and Annie Breslin). Edward was born in New York, to Irish parents.

Ben’s maternal grandmother was Mary T. Dempsey (the daughter of John Joseph Dempsey and Mary Elizabeth Shine). Ben’s grandmother Mary, and her parents, were born in New York. John was the son of Cornelius Dempsey and Ellen Driscoll, who were Irish immigrants. Ben’s great-grandmother Mary Elizabeth Shine was the daughter of an Irish father, Timothy Shine, and of a mother, Mary Reilley/Reilly/Riley, who herself was born in New York, to Irish-born parents, Michael Reilley/Reilly/Riley and Catherine Garrity/Gerety. Thus, Ben’s maternal great-great-grandmother, Mary, born, c. 1847, in New York, was Ben’s first American-born ancestor.

Sources: Genealogy of Ben Stiller –

Ben’s father on the 1930 U.S. Census –

Marriage record of Ben’s paternal grandparents, William “Willie” Stiller and Bella Cytrynbaum/Citrin –

Family history of Ben’s mother, by Megan Smolenyak Smolenyak, at The Huffington Post –

Ben’s maternal grandfather, Edward Joseph Meara, on the 1910 U.S. Census –

Ben’s maternal grandmother, Mary T. Dempsey, on the 1920 U.S. Census –


Curious about ethnicity

18 Responses

  1. passingtime85 says:

    Yet he barely looks like his father, except for maybe the ears.

  2. bearboy says:

    Was William Stiller’s other spouse Helen Stiller (Restler) or Ben Stiller’s paternal step grandmother Jewish as well?

  3. andrew says:


  4. levangelista36 says:

    I’ve always known Ben Stiller was Jewish.

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