Stiller's mom, comedian Anne Meara, died on May 24 at the age of 85
Credit: Bruce Glikas/FilmMagic

Ben Stiller is opening up about the 2015 death of his mother, and how he uses his comedic roots to stay connected to her.

Stiller’s mom, comedian Anne Meara, died on May 24 at the age of 85. Nearly 10 months since her passing, the actor admits he’s still coming to terms with the loss.

“Honestly, it happened so recently that I’m still processing it,” he told Parade. “It affects me constantly. You know, you’re going through your life, everything is great and then like, Pow! She’s not here. It’s hard for me.”

And while the actor, 50, was born into comedy having both Meara and comedian Jerry Stiller as parents, he says it’s his mother who he credits with his own humor and inspiration for his work in roles such as Meet the Parents and his latest turn in Zoolander 2.

“Obviously, my dad is a huge person in my life. I love him,” he said. “But my mom was the person that I most looked up to for her point of view, her humor.”

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Stiller said he admired his mother’s ability to keep her spirits high and keep laughing even in her final days.

“To the end, my mother never lost her sense of humor,” he explained.

As Stiller continues to grieve, he said humor was the greatest gift he could have received from his mother.

“I feel a connection as deeply to my mom now as I did when she was here,” he said. “I really felt with her that she wasn’t just going away, because she believed, as I do, that after we die there is something more.”