Leah Remini is reminiscing on fond memories with her late King of Queens costar Jerry Stiller.
Following the news of Stiller’s sudden passing earlier this week – which was confirmed by his actor son Ben Stiller on Monday, May 11 – several stars publicly mourned the beloved comedian, including Remini herself.
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Remini and Jerry starred in the hit sitcom together for nine seasons, in which she portrayed Stiller’s daughter.
While the actress remembers Jerry as being a “comedy legend,” she told PEOPLE that the late actor 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,” Remini said.
From the first moment she met Jerry and his late wife Anne Meara, Remini remembered feeling like a part of their 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,” the actress added. “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.”
“They just don’t make ‘em like Jerry. He is, to me, the last of his kind,” Remini continued. “He will be sadly missed not only by the cast and crew of the King of Queens, but by the many he entertained.”
She also went on to send her best wishes to Jerry’s family, who she is “sure are feeling the absence of this very big loving, soul.”
On Monday, Remini also shared her own emotional tribute in honor of Jerry, noting how “lucky” she was to work with him and get to know the late actor 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,” Remini captioned her post.
Ben announced on Monday that Jerry passed away due to “natural causes” at age 92.
“I’m sad to say that my father, Jerry Stiller, passed away from natural causes,” Ben said in a tweet. “He was a great dad and grandfather, and the most dedicated husband to Anne for about 62 years. He will be greatly missed. Love you Dad.”
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I was lucky enough to work with Jerry Stiller, playing his daughter for 9 years on The King Of Queens, but even luckier to know him, the man, the husband, the father, the grandfather. I am only comforted knowing that Anne & Jerry, the great comedy duo of Stiller & Meara are back together. 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. Our thoughts and prayers are with you Amy & Ben. #JerryStiller #stillerandmeara