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• Anne Meara, who with her husband Jerry Stiller created one of the most successful male-female comedy teams in history, passed away over the weekend. She was 85.

Stiller and Meara were not just fixtures in clubs and on television, but also did commercials for products such as Blue Nun wine; they also produced a son, Ben Stiller, who has forged a successful career in films such as Zoolander, Meet The Parents, and Tropic Thunder. Anne Meara also was an accomplished actor in her own right, appearing in everything from "Rhoda" to Reality Bites to "Macbeth," and had forged a late-in-life career as a playwright.
KC's View:
I actually met Stiller and Meara in 1973, when they appeared on a television talk show where I was working as a production assistant. Afterwards, I went to see them in a summer stock production of Neil Simon's "The Prisoner of Second Avenue," brought my parents with me, and then took them backstage to chat with the couple. (My parents were a little amazed by this.)

Somewhere in the basement I have a scrapbook in which there is a note from Anne Meara. At the time, I envisioned myself as having an acting career, and she was offering me advice ... and she said something that I thought was incredibly wise. You'll be an actor if you need to be an actor, she wrote. Just wanting to be an actor is not enough.

That's really smart ... and doesn't just apply to acting. (Obviously, I didn't need acting enough ... but I did need to be a writer. Hence, my chosen profession.) It always has been my experience that the people who are happiest and most fulfilled in their work - who don't, in fact, view it as work - are those who need to be doing it ... that it is less choice than compulsion.

That's something I originally learned from Anne Meara all those years ago. And I thought about it a lot this weekend when I heard about her passing.