dick miller obituary

Dick Miller, one of the most prolific “hey, it’s that guy!” actors in history, has died at the age of 90. Miller’s career spanned 60 years, and included hundreds of screen performances. Miller worked with such directors as James Cameron, Martin Scorsese, Jonathan Demme, and, most notably, Joe Dante – appearing in all of Dante’s films, including The Howling and Gremlins. In 2014, Miller was the subject of his own documentary, That Guy Dick Miller.

You may not have known Dick Miller’s name, but you likely could recognize him on sight. Miller’s acting career stretches all the way back to the 1950s, and he was one of the most dependable character actors in the business. Used frequently by Roger Corman and Joe Dante, Miller – with his heavy Bronx accent and prominent jawline – wasn’t exactly leading man material, but still made the most of every part, no matter how small.

Miller moved to California in the 1950s with hopes of becoming a screenwriter. When writing gigs proved difficult to land, he began taking acting roles. He launched his acting career working with legendary B-movie director Roger Corman, and would go on to work with Steven Spielberg, James Cameron, Quentin Tarantino, Martin Scorsese, Fred Dekker, Robert Zemeckis, Jonathan Demme and many more. Miller’s most notable collaborator was Joe Dante – the actor appeared in every single film Dante directed.

“I’m devastated to report that one of my best friends and most treasured collaborators has passed away,” Dante wrote on Twitter after news of Miller’s death broke. “I ‘grew up’ (kinda) watching Dick Miller in movies from the 50s on and was thrilled to have him in my first movie for Roger Corman…We hit it off and every script thereafter I always looked for a role for Dick – not just because he was my friend but because I loved watching him act! But he leaves behind over 100 performances, a bio & a doc – not bad for a guy who hardly ever enjoyed a starring role.”

Miller’s long resume includes The Terminator, All The Right Moves, Night of the Creeps, Small Soldiers, Demon Knight, Chopping Mall, The Howling, After Hours and many, many more.

“I really never got excited about the size of a part,” Miller told the A.V. Club in 2012. “I didn’t realize the staying power of stars, when you got top billing, and then you’ve got to go a little lower, a little lower. But maybe that’s why I’ve been around so long.”

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