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(This article was first published on April 19, 2001.)

With the mega-hits Meet the Parents and There’s Something About Mary, Ben Stiller has establishedf himself as one of the most talented and popular comic actors in Hollywood. The son of comedy veterans Jerry Stiller and Anne Meara, he has been able to repackage his parents’ witty and sardonic humor for an entirely new generation.

In addition, Stiller’s work on Saturday Night Live and his own sketch comedy TV show have allowed him access to some of the brightest comedians working today. Assimilating this diversity of comic stylings into his inherently creative mind has given Stiller the unique position of working in the Hollywood mainstream while simultaneously satirizing the glitz and superficiality of the star-maker machinery. As his birth chart maintains, Stiller’s work ethic and capitalization of recent transits has allowed him the power to wield his creativity liberally and in a diversity of roles without jeopardizing his outsider integrity.

Humor in Woe

Astrology Horoscope: Ben StillerWith responsible, work-oriented Saturn square (90-degree angle) his natal Sun, or self, Stiller is anything but the Gen X slacker he is fond of parodying. This tense aspect between the Sun and Saturn has given him a very disciplined, consistent work ethic. With Saturn in hard aspect to the Sun, Stiller has been able to carve a singular niche with a high degree of authority in the movie industry, sustaining a long period of relative obscurity before achieving broad recognition. Although he made his debut in Steven Spielberg’s Empire of the Sun in 1987 as “Dainty,” it wasn’t until eleven years later that Stiller gained wide recognition beyond a small, devoted following with There’s Something About Mary.

This Saturn-Sun combination also affords a self-deprecating, “everyman” style of comedy. The ineffectual, slightly neurotic and dejected characters Stiller has portrayed in comedies are reminiscent of roles that Woody Allen has cast for himself. Allen is a filmmaker who, like Stiller, has Sun in Sagittarius square Saturn in Pisces.

There is often very little humor to be found in the difficult, hard and sobering combination of Saturn in aspect to the Sun. However, since Stiller’s Sun is in Sagittarius–the sign ruled by optimistic and philosophical Jupiter–there is a tendency to celebrate and make light of the demands and problematic circumstances offered up by Saturn.

While watching Flirting with Disaster, we cannot help but laugh and commiserate with Stiller’s character’s neurosis-induced search for his biological parents and the mayhem and hardship that happens along the way. Playing the awkward and ordinary Ted Stroehmann in There’s Something About Mary, Stiller lets us laugh at the unapologetically tasteless material that would be tragic and horrific if not cloaked in humor. Finally, in Meet the Parents, Stiller’s Greg Focker endures rejection, ostracization and humiliation by his would-be in-laws in a film that, ironically, turned out to be the feel-good comedy of 2000.

Return of the Repressed

Stiller’s niche is cerebral comedy for the Gen X intelligentsia, but his departure into mainstream low-brow, gross-out comedy with There’s Something About Mary struck a vein with America-at-large and thrust his career into overdrive. During the filming and release of Mary, Stiller was undergoing a Pluto conjunction to his natal Sun. Pluto is the planet of power and transformation, and a potential expression of a Pluto transit to the Sun is to allow one to achieve and wield more power, to accomplish on a broader scale and to be in touch with one’s life force to a greater degree than ever before or after in one’s life.

During this nearly three-year-long transit, Stiller’s career took off, and he became a household name by starring in some of the highest grossing comedies of all time. No longer considered a chancy newcomer appealing to a cult following, Stiller has achieved legitimate bargaining power in Hollywood and is one of tinseltown’s most sought after and highly paid stars. Other Sagittarian celebrities who have had a recent power thrust indicative of Pluto transiting their Suns include Britney Spears, Ed Harris and Lucy Liu.

Pluto is also symbolic of anything and everything that lies beneath polite societal conventions, and is representative of all repressed material. Like an eruptive, instinctual force, a Pluto transit can destroy any lid that keeps taboo material from surfacing. The humor in There’s Something About Mary relied heavily on scatology, body parts and fluids, and vulgarities–material witnessed and acknowledged privately in our daily lives yet not suitable for public discourse. Stiller, with his Pluto-Sun transit, was front and center in some of the grossest–and funniest–scenes in film history. Critics and audiences were drawn to There’s Something About Mary for its cathartic power and its ability to safely discharge and deflate societal repression through humor. Momentarily, then, Ben Stiller was the carrier of the collective shadow, that figurative repository of disowned, threatening and provocative material alive and vital in all of us.

Success Through Variation

Although most known for his recent roles in Meet the Parents and Mary, Stiller has found success in a diversity of capacities: as director, producer, screenwriter and Emmy-award winning television writer and author. This eclectic approach toward professional life is indicative of a natal Jupiter placement in the sign of versatility and communication, Gemini.

Jupiter’s house and sign position in the birth chart is often a good indication of where we find success in life, professional or otherwise. Stiller’s Jupiter in Gemini has allowed him to favorably pour his comic talents into a number of outlets, expanding well beyond the boundary of comic actor. Since Jupiter is also associated with personal fulfillment and joy, it would be hard to envision Stiller happy pigeonholed into just one of his chosen pursuits.

In spite of the pressure for Stiller to exclusively reprise his triumphs in Hollywood comedies, his greatest success and gratification have and will continue to come by dabbling in a variety of media. With Jupiter returning to its natal position in his birth chart this summer, there looks like no end in sight to the number of creative hats Stiller can wear in and outside of Hollywood.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Bill Streett is an astrologer who focuses on planetary archetypes as they manifest in the individual and culture. For more information about Bill and his services, visit www.astro-noetics.com

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Other StarIQ articles by Bill Streett:

  • Between Past & Presence   3/30/2007
  • Uranus: The Constant of Change   7/18/2005
  • Steven Spielberg's A.I.: Dark, Deep and Dazzling   4/2/2001
  • John Ashcroft: The Political Roller Coaster   2/25/2001

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