Prolific character actor Dick Miller, known for roles in dozens of films like “Gremlins” and “A Bucket of Blood,” died Wednesday from natural causes. He was 90.
A family spokesperson told The Hollywood Reporter that Miller died surrounded by his family.
Born in The Bronx, New York City in 1928, Miller served in the U.S. Navy before attending the City College of New York, Columbia University, and New York University. He began his acting career in the 1950s in theater before moving to Los Angeles, kicking off his six-decade career in film with hundreds of credits.
He forged a friendship and working relationship with director Roger Corman that lasted over 20 years. His work for Corman includes “This Earth” (1957), “The Little Shop of Horrors” (1960), and”A Bucket of Blood” (1959).
He’s best known for his scene-stealing role in director Joe Dante’s “Gremlins” and its sequel, “Gremlins 2: The New Batch.” Miller played Murray Futterman, a World War II veteran haunted by memories of the creatures from the war, who gets his chance to fight back against the creatures when they attack a small Midwestern town during Christmas. Miller appeared in every one of Dante’s subsequent films.
“I’m devastated to report that one of my best friends and most treasured collaborators has passed away. I ‘grew up’ (kinda) watching Dick Miller in movies from the 50s on and was thrilled to have him in my first movie,” Dante said on Twitter. “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 other films include “The Terminator,” “All The Right Moves,” “Night of the Creeps,” “Tales from the Crypt: Demon Knight,” “Amazon Women on the Moon,” and “The Howling.” He also appeared in the music video for Rod Stewart’s song “Infatuation” in 1984. He was also the subject of a documentary, “That Guy Dick Miller” directed by Elijah Drenner, which looked at his long career.
Miller is survived by his wife of 60 years, Lainie; daughter Barbara; and granddaughter Autumn. Plans for a memorial service are pending.
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