Ben Stiller was born and raised in New York City in a Jewish family of entertainers. His father is famous comedian Jerry Stiller.
Stiller’s mother, Anne Meara, was raised Irish Catholic, but converted to the Jewish faith. As a result, Stiller considers himself both Jewish and Catholic, saying:
I’m Jewish and Catholic. Oh yeah, a lot of guilt.
Stiller had a bar mitzvah, but his family celebrated both Christian and Jewish holidays growing up, though his upbringing was admittedly more Jewish. and now that Stiller is married to a Catholic woman, actress Christina Taylor, he is raising his family the same way.
Of course, the Jewish comedian has become a real-life cliche, so it wouldn’t be right to not end with a bit of funny stuff. Stiller recounts performing with his father at a Jewish function:
We covered ‘Hey, Jude.’ My father panicked, misunderstanding the lyrics and thinking our lead singer was belting out ‘Hey, Jew’ to a roomful of Holocaust survivors.
Stiller is a major supporter of the Democratic Party, having contributed nearly $50,000 to various Democratic candidates and causes since 2002. He donated to both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama in 2008, but forked over a whopping $25,000 to Obama, putting to shame his $4,600 to Clinton.
In 2012, Stiller expressed some disappointment in Obama’s first four years, saying:
I’m disappointed that we haven’t seen more bold decisions from him and a willingness, I think, to maybe stick to more of what he had, in his campaign, had said in terms of what he was willing to do.
But in a classic “he’s better than the other guy” moment, Stiller still showed up at a New York City party/fundraiser hosted by first lady Michelle Obama.
He’s pretty liberal, at least in terms of the animal rights issue. Stiller joined a slew of celebrities pals in a public service announcement designed to raise awareness about the killing of dolphins off the coast of Japan.