Richard Miller (December 25, 1928 – January 30, 2019) was an American character actor who appeared in more than 180 films, including many produced by Roger Corman. He later appeared in the films of directors who began their careers with Corman, including Joe Dante, James Cameron, and Martin Scorsese, with the distinction of appearing in every film directed by Dante. He was known for playing the beleaguered everyman, often in one-scene appearances. Miller's main roles in films included Gremlins, Gremlins 2: The New Batch, Explorers, Piranha, The Howling, A Bucket of Blood, The Little Shop of Horrors, Not of This Earth, Chopping Mall, Night of the Creeps, The Terminator, The 'Burbs, Small Soldiers and Quake.
December 25, 1928
|Died||January 30, 2019 (aged 90)|
|Alma mater||City College of New York|
New York University
Sheila Elaine Halpern
|Service/||United States Navy|
Miller was born on Christmas Day, 1928, in The Bronx, New York, the son of Russian Jewish immigrants, Rita (Blucher), an opera singer, and Ira Miller, a printer. He served a tour of duty in the United States Navy. Miller attended the City College of New York, Columbia University, and New York University, eventually attaining a PhD in psychology. He was a writer before turning to acting.
Miller performed on Broadway and also worked at the Bellevue Hospital Mental Hygiene Clinic and the psychiatric department of Queens General Hospital. In 1952, he moved to California seeking work as a writer. One of his earliest acting roles was in Apache Woman (1955). He played one of the townspeople and also played a separate role as an Indian. In an action scene his townsperson character shoots his Indian character, as related in the documentary Corman's World.
His roles in movies include White Line Fever, The Terminator, All The Right Moves, Night of the Creeps, Small Soldiers, It Conquered the World, A Bucket of Blood, The Little Shop of Horrors, the Tales from the Crypt movie Demon Knight, Amazon Women on the Moon, Chopping Mall, The Howling, Piranha and I Wanna Hold Your Hand. His best known role was in the movies Gremlins and Gremlins 2: The New Batch as Murray Futterman. He appeared in Pulp Fiction as Monster Joe, but his scene and a few others were deleted because of the length of the film. He also appeared in Rod Stewart's music video for the song "Infatuation" in 1984, with Mike Mazurki and Kay Lenz.
His television credits include as a Townsman on the 1963 TV Western Gunsmoke (S9E8’s “Carter Caper”), in Combat!, as a young soldier in the 5th-season episode "The Outsider"; Police Squad! (a 1980s crime spoof series with Leslie Nielsen); V: The Final Battle as Dan Pascal; three seasons as the generous bartender Lou Mackie on Fame; Star Trek: The Next Generation, in the season 1 episode "The Big Goodbye", as the newspaper stand man in the holodeck; Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, in the season 3 two-part episode "Past Tense", as Vin; Time of Your Life; as a prison guard in Soap (1979); and as the voice of the gangster Chuckie Sol in the animated feature film Batman: Mask of the Phantasm. Miller has also directed television shows, including "The Fix", a 1986 episode of the series Miami Vice.
In 2000, Miller was featured alongside former collaborators including Roger Corman, Sam Arkoff and Peter Bogdanovich in the documentary SCHLOCK! The Secret History of American Movies, a film about the rise and fall of American exploitation cinema. In 2014 he appeared in a documentary of his life, That Guy Dick Miller. Miller is also credited for being in a Sega CD video game called Prize Fighter in which he plays the role of a corner man for the main character.
Miller portrayed several fictional characters named Walter Paisley. As Miller noted, "I've played Walter Paisley five times now, I think." By 2011, the character name had actually appeared seven times on film and once in a theatrical production, with Miller providing six of these portrayals. The name first appeared in the Roger Corman film A Bucket of Blood. In that film, Paisley is a busboy who becomes an artist of sorts by killing his subjects and covering them in clay. In 1976, Miller once again played a character named Walter Paisley—this time a talent agent—in another Corman production, Hollywood Boulevard, directed by Allan Arkush and Joe Dante.
Dante cast Miller as another character named Walter Paisley in the 1981 film The Howling. This time, Paisley is the owner of an occult bookshop. Two years later, the name popped up again for another Miller character, the owner of a diner in the third segment of Twilight Zone: The Movie. 1986's Chopping Mall featured a janitor named Walter Paisley, and the 1994 made-for-TV remake of Shake, Rattle and Rock! had Miller playing a character named Officer Paisley. Officer Paisley also appeared in Night of the Creeps. Miller played a variation on the role one last time in his final posthumously released film Hanukkah. Additionally, two other actors have portrayed the A Bucket of Blood character. Anthony Michael Hall played the character in the 1995 television remake, while James Stanton portrayed the character in a musical produced by Chicago's Annoyance Theatre.
Miller married Lainie (Sheila Elaine Halpern) on October 6, 1967 and they had one child together, Barbara. Miller died of a heart attack while being treated for pneumonia, on January 30, 2019 less than a month after his 90th birthday, in Toluca Lake, Los Angeles.
|1955||Apache Woman||Tall Tree||Roger Corman|
|1956||The Oklahoma Woman||Bartender|
|It Conquered the World||Sgt. Neil|
|Not of This Earth||Joe Piper|
|The Undead||The Leper|
|Rock All Night||Shorty|
|1958||War of the Satellites||Dave Boyer|
|1959||A Bucket of Blood||Walter Paisley|
|1960||The Little Shop of Horrors||Burson Fouch|
|Capture That Capsule||Ed Nowak||Will Zens|
|1962||The Premature Burial||Mole||Roger Corman|
|X: The Man with the X-ray Eyes||Heckler||Uncredited|
|1965||The Girls on the Beach||First Waiter||William Witney||Uncredited|
|Ski Party||Taxi Driver||Alan Rafkin||Uncredited|
|Beach Ball||Cop #1||Lennie Weinrib|
|1966||Wild Wild Winter||Rilk|
|The Wild Angels||Rigger||Roger Corman|
|1967||Dragnet 1967||Harry Johnson||Jack Webb||Episode: The Shooting|
|The Dirty Dozen||MP at Hanging||Robert Aldrich||Uncredited|
|The St. Valentine's Day Massacre||Gangster Dressed as a Cop||Roger Corman||Uncredited|
|A Time for Killing||Zollicoffer||Phil Karlson|
|The Trip||Cash||Roger Corman|
|1968||The Wild Racers||Pit Crew Mechanic||Daniel Haller
|The Legend of Lylah Clare||Reporter at Press Party||Robert Aldrich||Uncredited|
|1972||Night Call Nurses||Mr. Jensen||Jonathan Kaplan|
|1973||The Student Teachers||Coach Harris||Jonathan Kaplan|
|The Slams||Taxi Driver|
|Executive Action||Rifleman - Team B||David Miller|
|The Young Nurses||Cop||Clint Kimbrough|
|Fly Me||Taxi Driver||Cirio Santiago|
|1974||Truck Turner||Fogarty||Jonathan Kaplan|
|Big Bad Mama||Bonney||Steve Carver|
|Candy Stripe Nurses||Spectator||Alan Holleb|
|Summer School Teachers||Sam||Barbara Peeters|
|1975||Capone||Joe Pryor||Steve Carver|
|Death Race 2000||Chicken Gang||Paul Bartel||Uncredited|
|White Line Fever||Birdie Corman||Jonathan Kaplan|
|Darktown Strutters||Officer Hugo||William Witney|
|Crazy Mama||Wilbur Janeway||Jonathan Demme|
|1976||Hollywood Boulevard||Walter Paisley||Joe Dante|
|Cannonball||Bennie Buckman||Paul Bartel|
|Moving Violation||Mack||Charles S. Dubin|
|Vigilante Force||Pianist||George Armitage|
|1977||Mr. Billion||Bernie||Jonathan Kaplan|
|New York, New York||Palm Club Owner||Martin Scorsese|
|Game Show Models||Game Show Host||David N. Gottlieb|
|I Wanna Hold Your Hand||Sergeant Brenner||Robert Zemeckis|
|Corvette Summer||Mr. Lucky||Matthew Robbins|
|Piranha||Buck Gardner||Joe Dante|
|1979||The Lady in Red||Patek||Lewis Teague|
|Rock 'n' Roll High School||Police Chief||Allan Arkush|
|11th Victim||Investigator Ned||Jonathan Kaplan||TV movie|
|1941||Officer Miller||Steven Spielberg|
|1980||The Happy Hooker Goes Hollywood||New York Cop||Alan Roberts|
|Used Cars||Man in Bed||Robert Zemeckis|
|Dr. Heckyl and Mr. Hype||Irsil / Orson||Charles B. Griffith|
|1981||The Howling||Walter Paisley||Joe Dante|
|Smokey Bites the Dust||Glen Wilson||Charles B. Griffith|
|Heartbeeps||Factory Watchman||Allan Arkush|
|1982||National Lampoon's Movie Madness||Dr. Hans Kleiner||Bob Giraldi||("Success Wanters")|
|White Dog||Animal Trainer||Samuel Fuller|
|Police Squad!||Vic||Joe Dante||Episode: "Testimony of Evil (Dead Men Don't Laugh)"|
|Vortex||Bit Part||Beth B
|The Aftermath||Broadcaster||Steve Barkett
Ted V. Mikels
|1983||Heart Like a Wheel||Mickey White||Jonathan Kaplan|
|Twilight Zone: The Movie||"Walter" the Bar Owner||Joe Dante||(segment "It's a Good Life")|
|Space Raiders||Crazy Mel||Howard R. Cohen|
|Get Crazy||Susie's Dad||Allan Arkush|
|All the Right Moves||Teacher in Auditorium||Michael Chapman|
|1984||Swing Shift||Wallflower at the Swing Shift Jamboree||Jonathan Demme||Uncredited|
|Gremlins||Murray Futterman||Joe Dante|
|The Terminator||Gun shop clerk||James Cameron||Cameo|
|1985||Explorers||Charlie Drake||Joe Dante|
|After Hours||Diner Waiter (Pete)||Martin Scorsese|
|1986||Chopping Mall||Walter Paisley||Jim Wynorski|
|Night of the Creeps||Walt||Fred Dekker|
|Armed Response||Steve||Fred Olen Ray|
|1987||Project X||Max King||Jonathan Kaplan|
|Innerspace||Cab Driver||Joe Dante|
|Amazon Women on the Moon||Danny Clayton||Various||(segment "The French Ventiloquist's Dummy" [TV cut & DVD only])|
|1988||Under the Boardwalk||Official||Fritz Kiersch|
|Angel III: The Final Chapter||Nick Pellegrini||Tom DeSimone|
|Dead Heat||Cemetery Security Guard||Mark Goldblatt||Uncredited|
|1989||The 'Burbs||Vic the Garbage Man||Joe Dante|
|Far from Home||Sheriff Bill Childers||Meiert Avis|
|Ghost Writer||Club Manager||Kenneth J. Hall|
|1990||Gremlins 2: The New Batch||Murray Futterman||Joe Dante|
|Mob Boss||Mike||Fred Olen Ray|
|1990-1991||The Flash||Fosnight||Various||6 Episodes|
|1991||Motorama||Horseshoe Player||Barry Shils|
|1992||Evil Toons||Burt||Fred Olen Ray|
|Body Waves||Mr. Matthews||P.J. Pesce|
|Unlawful Entry||Impound Clerk||Jonathan Kaplan|
|1993||Matinee||Herb Denning||Joe Dante|
|Fallen Angels||Carl||Tom Hanks||Episode: "I'll Be Waiting"|
|Batman: Mask of the Phantasm||Chuckie Sol||Eric Radomski
|Fallen Angels||Morris Hornbeck||Jonathan Kaplan||Episode: "Since I Don't Have You"|
|1994||Rebel Highway||Roy Farrell||Joe Dante & Allan Arkush||2 Episodes|
|Batman: The Animated Series||Boxcars 'Boxy' Bennett||Bruce Timm||Voice|
|Pulp Fiction||Monster Joe||Quentin Tarantino||(scenes deleted)|
|Mona Must Die||Father Stilicato||Donald Reiker|
|1995||Demon Knight||Uncle Willy||Ernest R. Dickerson|
|Number One Fan||Night Manager||Jane Simpson|
|Star Trek: Deep Space Nine||Vin||Reza Badiyi||Episode: Past Tense - Part I|
|Jonathan Frakes||Episode: Past Tense - Part II|
|1998||The Warlord: Battle for the Galaxy||Peddler||Joe Dante||TV movie|
|2001||Route 666||Bartender||William Wesley|
|2003||Looney Tunes: Back in Action||Security Chief||Joe Dante|
|2005||Justice League Unlimited||Oberon||Bruce Timm||Voice|
Episode: "The Ties That Bind"
|2006||Trapped Ashes||Max||Joe Dante||Segments: "Wraparound"|
|2007||Trail of the Screaming Forehead||Eddie||Larry Blamire|
|2009||The Hole||Pizza Delivery Guy||Joe Dante||Uncredited|
|3rd Shift: Michael's Lament||The Sculptor||Christopher D. Grace|
|2014||Burying the Ex||Grumpy Cop||Joe Dante|
|That Guy Dick Miller||Himself||Elijah Drenner||Documentary|
|2015||The Adventures of Biffle and Shooster||Walter||Michael Schlesinger|
|Schmo Boat||Michael Schlesinger||Short|
|2019||Hanukkah||Rabbi Walter Paisley||Eben McGarr||Posthumous release; Final film role|
- "R.I.P. Dick Miller, character actor legend from Gremlins, The Terminator, nearly 200 other movies". News. Retrieved 2020-04-12.
- Slotnik, Daniel E. (2019-02-01). "Dick Miller, 90, Dies; Character Actor and Roger Corman Mainstay". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2020-04-12.
- Bastidas, Jose (January 30, 2019). "'Gremlins' and 'Terminator' Actor Dick Miller Dead at 90". Pop Culture Magazine. United States: Pop. Retrieved February 1, 2019.
- "Biography". DickMiller.net.
- "Dick Miller Biography". Yahoo! Movies. Yahoo!. Archived from the original on 22 May 2011.
- Hughes, William (January 30, 2019). "R.I.P. Dick Miller, character actor legend from Gremlins, The Terminator, nearly 200 other movies". The A.V. Club. Chicago: Onion, Inc. Retrieved February 1, 2019.
- Gingold, Michael (10 March 2015). Shaw, Jay (ed.). "Dick Miller in person for retrospective including "THAT GUY" docu, "GREMLINS" reunion, Fango appearance & more!". Fangoria. Archived from the original on 6 August 2017. Retrieved 6 September 2018.
- ""THAT GUY DICK MILLER" kicks off exclusive engagement; Dick Miller to attend". Fangoria. 3 March 2015. Archived from the original on 12 July 2017. Retrieved 6 September 2018.
- Alan Frank, The Films of Roger Corman: "Shooting My Way Out of Trouble" (BT Batsford, 1998).
- David J. Hogan, Dark Romance: Sexuality in the Horror Film (McFarland, 1997), 221.
- Reynold Humphries, The American Horror Film: An Introduction (Edinburgh University Press, 2002), 133.
- John Kenneth Muir, Horror Films of the 1980s (McFarland & Co., 2007), 364.
- Vatnsdal, Caelum (May 16, 2012). "Dick Miller talks working with Corman, Scorsese, and getting peed on by a monkey". The A.V. Club. Chicago: Onion, Inc. Retrieved September 6, 2018.
- Nickolai, Nate (January 30, 2019). "Dick Miller, 'Gremlins' and 'Terminator' Actor, Dies at 90". Variety. Los Angeles: Variety Media, LLC. (Penske Media Corporation). Retrieved February 1, 2019.
- StarTrek.com Staff (January 31, 2019). "Remembering Trek Guest Star, Dick Miller, 1928-2019". StarTrek.com. United States: CBS Television Studios. Retrieved February 1, 2019.
- Viessing, Etan (January 30, 2019). "Dick Miller, 'Gremlins' and 'The Howling' Star, Dies at 90". The Hollywood Reporter. Los Angeles: Billboard-Hollywood Reporter Media Group (Valence Media). Retrieved February 1, 2019.
- Collins, Clark (January 30, 2019). "Dick Miller Dead: Terminator, Gremlins actor dies at 90". Entertainment Weekly. New York City: Meredith Corporation. Retrieved February 1, 2019.