Jerry Stiller starred on the hit sitcom The King of Queens alongside Leah Remini for nine seasons

By Georgia Slater
May 12, 2020 09:19 AM
Credit: Allen Berezovsky/Getty Images;

Leah Remini is looking back on fond memories with her late costar Jerry Stiller.

Following news of Stiller's death this week — which was confirmed by his actor son Ben Stiller on Monday — several stars publicly mourned the beloved comedian, including fellow King of Queens actor, Remini.

The two starred in the hit sitcom together for nine seasons, in which Remini, 49, played Jerry's daughter.

While Remini remembers Jerry as being a "comedy legend," she tells PEOPLE he was "so much more" than that.

"Yes, he was the guy who screamed his lines like only Jerry could, he made things funny and come alive that weren’t on the page. Yes, Jerry was a star, a legend, that is true, but he never acted like it — no matter who you were, your background, your past, your occupation ... Jerry had time for you in a very real way," she says.

From the moment she met Jerry and his late wife Anne Meara, Remini remembers feeling like part of the family.

"So often people meet their favorite stars and are disappointed, not so with Jerry and Anne, who were a team on and off the stage and screen.  If you met Jerry or Anne, you felt important and you felt loved and you felt like family," she adds. "He was always free with a hug, a compliment, a story — and wanting to know your story — advice ... and made everyone around him feel that they mattered."

Credit: Tony Esparza/CBS via Getty Images

"They just don’t make ‘em like Jerry. He is, to me, the last of his kind," she continues. "He will be sadly missed not only by the cast and crew of the King of Queens, but by the many he entertained."

The actress also went on to send her best wishes to his family, who she is "sure are feeling the absence of this very big loving, soul."

Remini also shared a loving tribute on Instagram on Monday in honor of Jerry, noting how "lucky" she was to work with the comedy giant and get to know him personally.

"I will be forever grateful for the memories, the fatherly talks off-screen and for the many years of laughter, the kindness he had shown to me and my family ... You will be so very missed Jerry," she wrote.

Ben announced Monday that his father died of "natural causes" at age 92.

"I’m sad to say that my father, Jerry Stiller, passed away from natural causes," Ben, 54, said in a tweet. "He was a great dad and grandfather, and the most dedicated husband to Anne for about 62 years."

He concluded, "He will be greatly missed. Love you Dad."

Jerry's death comes after he suffered a medical scare early last year, PEOPLE reported at the time.

Jerry — famous for playing George Costanza’s dad in Seinfeld — lost his wife, Meara, in 2015 after she had suffered multiple strokes. She was 85 at the time of her death.