12 Anne Meara Movies and TV Shows: Best to Worst Filmography

Although she is no longer with us, Anne Tamara will always be remembered as one of the greatest dramatic and comedic actresses the industry has ever seen. Her trailblazing career spanned across the stage, film, and television, and she received more than her fair share of accolades for her efforts in the industry. Anne Meara’s movies and TV shows were highly rated throughout her career, with an occasional flunk every now and then, which some might argue were no fault of hers. The versatile actress scored over a hundred acting credits in her distinguished, decades-long career. Below are 10 Anne Meara’s movies and TV shows ranked from best to worst.

Anne Meara’s Movies and TV Show Credits

1. Lovers and Other Strangers (1970)

Harry Guardino and Anne Meara in Lovers and Other Strangers
Harry Guardino and Anne Meara in Lovers and Other Strangers: Image Source

This 1971 comedy revolves around a couple named Susan and Mike and the effect their impending marriage has on their friends and family. Unbeknownst to Susan, her father has been cheating on her mother for years with her aunt; her sister’s husband is not paying attention to his wife’s needs, and her soon to be brother-in-law is considering leaving his wife. All these stories play out as the rehearsal dinner, wedding ceremony, and reception unfolds. Anne Marie is hard to resist in her portrayal of Wilma, Susan’s older sister who is being neglected by her husband.

2. Awakenings (1990)

Robert De Niro and Penelope Ann Miller in Awakenings (1990)
Penelope Ann Miller and Robert De Niro in Awakenings (1990) image source

Dr. Malcolm Sayer joins a Bronx psychiatric hospital where he is placed in charge of several catatonic patients. Speculating that their condition might be linked to an extreme form of Parkinson’s, he seeks permission from his superiors to treat them with a certain drug, which surprising makes them able to respond to certain kinds of stimuli.

The legendary actress plays Miriam, one of the catatonic patients who is guided back to good health under the supervision of Dr. Sayer. The film earned several nominations at that year’s award season including Oscars for Best Picture, Best Actor, and Best Adapted Screenplay.

3. Fame (1980)

A scene of Fame
A scene in Fame: image source

Fame is not just one of the best Anne Meara movies out there, it’s one of the most magnificent films ever made. It manages to blend the typical fiasco of musicals with the heavy issues that the characters contend with. In the end, Fame is a joyful medley of hope, youth, talent, and resilience.

The film is set at New York’s High School of Performing Arts, where talented teens from all over the world are trained for successful careers in show business. The story centers around five students, who happen to be the most gifted at the school and it drags us through their lives as they struggle to balance their dreams with other life issues. As expected, Anne Meara sets the bar high with her role as the no-nonsense English teacher, Mrs. Sherwood.

4. Sex and the City (1998-2004)

Anne Meara's Movies and TV Shows
Jerry Stiller and Anne Meara at an event for Sex and the City: Image Source

Anne Meara delivers an outstanding performance as Mary Brady, Steve Brady’s mother in this acclaimed HBO series. Sex and the City follows four beautiful and sassy group of friends living in New York. Carrie, Charlotte, Samantha, and Miranda are looking for romance, love, meaning, and long-lasting relationships and this search leads to many interesting discoveries.

Sex and the City is the perfect show to binge on a weekend, as you can kick back and really dive into the drama, excitement, and heartache that bind these eccentric women together.

5. Judy Berlin (1995)

Barbara Barrie and Bob Dishy in Judy Berlin (1999)
Barbara Barrie and Bob Dishy in Judy Berlin (1999): image source

The excellent cast and the dazzling performances delivered by them helps make this film one of the best Anne Meara movies in her portfolio. The titular character, Judy Berlin is an aspiring actress with lofty dreams that are out of place with her small town. David Gold is a fellow dreamer who returns home after failing to make it in show business in California. When an eclipse drapes darkness over the town, David and Gold pass the time reminiscing about their school days. Along with other inhabitants of the small town, they go searching for understanding in themselves and each other. Where will this journey of self-discovery lead? You should definitely watch this movie and find out.

6. Futurama (199-2004)

A scene of Futurama (199-2004)
A scene in Futurama (199-2004): image source

This Emmy-winning animated series revolves around a man from the year 1999 who finds himself in the 31st century. Although the show ended in 2004, it has continued to gain traction and win over new fans through the years. The series featured a host of celebrities including Emilia Clarke, John DiMaggio, Lauren Tom, Al Gore, George Takei, Leonard Nimoy, Lucy Liu, Nora Dunn, Parker Posey, and Stephen Hawkings.

Anne Marea gives voice to one of the main cast members, Munda, a brilliant xenolinguistics who is the wife of Turanga Morris and the mother of Turanga Leela. Having grown up in the sewers, she fought to live a better life on the surface by joining in the military and helping with its explorations of the universe. There are many things to love about Futurama and Anne’s performance is one of them.

7. The Daytrippers (1996)

Anne Meara's Movies and TV Shows
Parker Posey, Liev Schreiber, Hope Davis, Pat McNamara, and Anne Meara in The Daytrippers: Image Source

Greg Mottola’s directorial debut is this dazzling comedy-drama centered around a family as they undertake a trip into New York City after Eliza discovers a love letter addressed to her husband. Believing he has been cheating on her, she seeks solace with her family but soon sets out with her mother, father, sister, and her sister’s boyfriend to confront her husband. Along the way, the little group of travelers open old wounds and discover a lot about each other.

The Daytrippers is an insightful exploration of family dynamics and how complicated they can often be. It gets dark and bitter at times, but it remains engaging all the way through. Anne Meara is her usual delightful self in her portrayal of Eliza’s mother.

8. Homicide: Life On the Street (1993-1999)

Homicide: Life On the Street (1993-1999)
Cast of Homicide: Life On the Street (1993-1999): image source

Homicide is a gritty and entertaining cop show that revolves around the work of detectives in a Baltimore precinct as they try to battle crime and stay alive. Unlike other police series, it does not depend on shootouts or car chases to hold the viewer’s attention, but on character development and a brilliant plot. Despite the characters and cast members that came and went during its seven-season run, the show never loses its hold on continuity or the audience.

This is one of the best Anne Meara TV shows because the iconic actress picked up an Emmy nomination for her performance as Donna Di Grazi, a schoolteacher who finds her class being held hostage by a murderous gunman.

9. Kiss of Death (1995)

Samuel L. Jackson and David Caruso in Kiss of Death (1995)
Samuel L. Jackson and David Caruso in Kiss of Death (1995): image source

Propelled by an ensemble cast featuring Samuel L. Jackson, Nicholas Cage, Helen Hunt, Stanley Tucci, Katheryn Erbe, David Caruso, and Anne Meara as Bev’s mother, the suspense-filled drama follows a loyal family man who ends up on the wrong side of the law and subsequently released from prison after agreeing to help the government spy on a dangerous crime Lord known as Little Junior. His efforts to keep his intentions a secret while trying to befriend the crime kingpin takes very interesting turns leading to a very satisfying and thrilling end.

The movie was a box office success and is considered one of the best movies of Anne Meara’s career as well as that of the rest of the cast. The tension and action in the film will keep you on the edge of your seat, guessing what will happen next.

10. Will & Grace (1998)

Mrs. Friedman in Will & Grace
Anne Meara as Mrs. Friedman in Will & Grace: Image Source

This snappy comedy-drama follows the titular characters, a gay man and a straight woman who are absolutely best friends. Many people probably didn’t notice or have forgotten that Anne Merea guest-starred in the series. The acclaimed actress takes on the role of Mrs. Freidman, a tenant at the apartment complex where Will and Grace live. She only appears in a couple of episodes where she plays the nosy but wise neighbor that always manages to hold the attention of whomever she is speaking to. During her appearances, she chastises Grace a couple of times for her choices and encourages Will to go after what he wants instead of waiting for the right time.

11. Heavyweights (1995)

Cast of Heavyweight
Cast of Heavyweight: image source

Heavyweights is one of the worst Anne Meara movies ever to hit the screen. The storyline falls flat and the comedy fails to find itself for the entire duration of the movie. The premise of the story is quite simple and silly: fat kids from all over love to attend Camp Hope, a summer camp where they can eat and do whatever they want without judgment. However, this idea of paradise gets ruined when the owners go bankrupt and the camp is bought by an overzealous fitness enthusiast.

He immediately gets to work on the children, determined to help them lose all the fat and turn them into bodybuilders. Low-calorie diets and rigorous exercises become the order of the day, but the chubby kids soon decide they’ve had enough and mayhem ensues in their rebellious quest. Anne Meara stars alongside her son Ben Steeler in this dull and awkward comedy.

12. Mercy (2009-2010)

James Van Der Beek, James Tupper, and Taylor Schilling in Mercy (2009)
James Van Der Beek, James Tupper, and Taylor Schilling in Mercy (2009): image source

Like all medical dramas that have come before it, Mercy revolves around the professional and personal ups and downs of health personnel, in this case, three nurses. One of them is a heavy-handed nurse who has just returned from military service in Iraq, the other is her closest friend, and the third is a naive rookie.

Anne Meara and her real-life husband Jerry Stiller make an appearance as an elderly couple who find themselves in the hospital after she suffers a stroke in the middle of an argument. While their performance is one of the few highlights of the show, the series was nothing to write home about, making it one of the worst projects in Anne Meara movies and TV catalog.

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