You know, we're quite a team. Like Jake and the Fatman. Needless to say, I'm Jake.
~ Arthur Spooner to Doug

Arthur Spooner (played by Jerry Stiller) is the main antagonist in the popular sitcom, The King of Queens. He lives with his daughter Carrie and her husband, Doug Heffernan.


Little is known about Arthur's early life. He was born in 1926 to an abusive father (played in one episode by Stiller's own son, Ben Stiller), but nothing is known about his mother. He lived on a farm from the ages of 7 to 10, then again at 43, was a gifted singer as a child, performed jigs for the workers at the Empire State Building, has an estranged half-brother named Skitch (played in one episode by Shelley Berman), was bald until the age of 12, and lost his virginity to someone named Peppermint Patty.

Arthur served in World War II in the Italian theater and in The Battle of the Bulge, and also mentions being in Paris, France. He variously claims to have been in the US Army 33rd Brigade and the 71st Infantry Division (United States). At some point during his enlistment, he left a man named Jack Russell for dead.

Sometime after the war, Arthur took up a career as an actor, performing on Broadway and at other venues. It was during this time that he met his first wife, Sophia, a show dancer. After a night of passion, the couple found out that Sophia was pregnant, and decided to get married for the sake of the child, Simone (later Carrie). Arthur lost Carrie's birth name of Simone in a poker game and she had to switch names with her cousin Carrie. He quit his acting career in an attempt to create a more stable life for his daughter.

During Carrie's young life Arthur held an innumerable number of jobs, including at a crab cannery in Maryland, jobs in sales, a brief stint working for PBS on Sesame Street, and many others. He worked briefly in customer service, stating if a little person walked into his store it was all he could talk about for years. He also sold ribbons at the time Doug and Carrie were purchasing their home. He thought it was a good idea to cut out the middle man and offer little girls in the school yard ribbons to buy for their hair, which Carrie convinced him was a bad idea. He was unable to maintain any of these careers for more than a month at a time, resulting in a very volatile home life for his family. Though he was never able to hold down a job for very long, he did land 74 of them, one as a woman.

At some point during Carrie's early teenage years, Sophia died. With Arthur unable to stay employed, Carrie was forced to work in addition to attending high school.

During a Thanksgiving episode, it was mentioned that Arthur met his second wife Lilly at a bus stop. Arthur said "Why don't you go back to the corner where I found you?!", and Lilly replied "I was waiting for the bus!"

In the pilot episode, Arthur's third wife Tessie has died. Arthur subsequently burns his house down while cooking on his "lucky hot plate." This forces Arthur and his other daughter Sara (who was written out during the first season without explanation) to move in with Carrie and Doug. Arthur quickly shows himself to be obnoxious, boorish, and mentally unstable, frequently bursting into tirades at the slightest provocation. His grating personality angers Doug, but as the series progresses, they grow accustomed to each other.

A good example of Arthur's behavior is when he discovers an old episode airing of The $10,000 Pyramid in which he appeared on in 1976, a fact that he has told Doug "several dozen times." When asked if he won, Arthur in turn asks if he would be "living in this dump if [he had]." He later asks for Carrie's help in "[suing] the boyish grin off of Dick Clark's face" because he never got the full year's supply of Rice-A-Roni that he had been promised after the appearance, a scandal he has named "Rice-A-Roni-gate." In an effort to placate Arthur, Clark's representative offers to give him a book instead of the boxed rice meal, the continued production of which the representative is unsure. After assuring the representative that Rice-A-Roni is "still made in a variety of mouth-watering flavors," Arthur refuses screaming, "I don't wanna read. I wanna eat!" Arthur ultimately receives a 30-year supply of Rice-A-Roni, in addition to the original supply he was promised on the game show, after (presumably) blackmailing Dick Clark with a photo of the TV icon "locked in a muddy embrace with Fannie Flagg," which was captured from his appearance on the Battle of the Network Stars. (The vintage Pyramid clip used for the episode is from an actual appearance Stiller made on the game show that same year.) Additionally, in the season 6 episode "Trash Talker," Arthur mentions that he allegedly has a lifelong hatred for Larry King, stemming from when they were kids and Arthur stole one of King's prized baseball cards and was subsequently kicked out of school after King tattled on him.

Arthur marries his fourth wife Veronica Olchin (played by Stiller's real wife Anne Meara), mother of Doug's friend Spence Olchin, in the series finale "China Syndrome" and divorce one year later.

One of his most often used quotes is "How dare you!" He has also been known to say "Thank you very little!", and "That's a separate issue!"

He almost invariably addresses or refers to Doug by his full name "Douglas". Likewise, when he addresses Doug's cousin Danny, he calls him his full name "Daniel". He also addresses Spence by his full name "Spencer".

Role in the series

Sarcastic, brash, and always scheming, Arthur lives in the basement of Doug and Carrie's house. Quick to take offense, he shouts frequently and often unnecessarily, and often comes up with absolutely absurd, irregular, or illogical money-making scams. He is similar to Frank Costanza from Seinfeld and Frank Barone from Everybody Loves Raymond.

Arthur frequently makes bizarre claims (for example, that he invented the moist towelette, and claiming that Charles M. Schulz based Charlie Brown on Arthur's life). He also steals change from Doug's nightstand. Arthur is walked by a dog walker named Holly Shumpert (Nicole Sullivan), and his best friend is Mickey (Ford Rainey).

Arthur is a steadfast socialist, and supporter of the communist nations around the world. In the episode "Steve Moscow" he claims that the Soviet Union was a "workers' paradise," and in the episode "Strike Out", he says that he was once enrolled at a socialist summer camp. In one episode, Arthur and Spence hatch a plan to invent and market a revolutionary new backpack. When Spence suggests that they outsource the labor to save money, Arthur reacts angrily, stating that "Unipack will be made in America, by good labor union workers!" When Doug goes on strike, Arthur almost kisses him out of pride; these feelings of affection quickly turn into disgust when Doug takes a scab job at a school as a substitute teacher (with Arthur angrily remarking: "Whatever helps you sleep at night you douche"). However, in one episode, in a debate with Spence on whether the United States should lift the embargo on Cuba, Arthur was against the lifting of the embargo and Spence was for it (yet, in context, the debate was a scene where Arthur tried to prove he could withstand any argument, resulting in him deferring from the point, and vehemently insulting Spence).

Arthur's eccentricity extends to going so far as to explicitly forbid a variety of things from the Heffernan household, including but not limited to: Halloween, red pens, soft cheese, non-American VCRs (but not DVD players), any mention of Franklin D. Roosevelt's paralytic illness, and miniature Kit Kats.

Good Deeds

  • Apologizes for making mistakes that he made with Carrie.
  • He really does care about Doug Heffernan and he was the right choice for Carrie.
  • He is wise and gives out great advice when people talk to him.
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