My first impression of Anne Meara was that she was gracious. Sometimes in this business, when you come across a comedy legend, they come off as jaded. But not Anne. She was funny, quick-witted and immediately disarming. And she had balls.
But more than anything, Anne was loving. On set, she didn’t act like part of this great comedy team with her husband Jerry Stiller. She was just Anne, Jerry’s wife, always making sure that he had eaten or that his pants weren’t too high.
Anne knew her stuff. She was a professional who showed up ready to work, always prepared and always on time. Not everybody can make people laugh for as long as she did. But she was one of those rare people who can move you.
She went through her career in this business by just being herself. She didn’t change anything. She just relied on her talent.
She was a broad when broads were broads, full of chutzpah, the kind of person that doesn’t come around often.
We’ve lost a legend in comedy. Thank you, Anne, for paving the way.
Remini worked with Meara on the TV show The King of Queens
This appears in the June 08, 2015 issue of TIME.
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