Miller in A Bucket of Blood (1959)
December 25, 1928
The Bronx, New York, U.S.
Richard "Dick" Miller (born December 25, 1928) is an American character actor who has appeared in over 100 films, particularly those produced by Roger Corman, and later in films of directors who started their careers with Corman, including James Cameron and Joe Dante, with the distinction of appearing in almost every film made by Dante. Miller's main roles have been in films such as Gremlins, Gremlins 2: The New Batch, Piranha, The Howling, A Bucket of Blood, The Little Shop of Horrors, Chopping Mall, Night of the Creeps, The Terminator, The 'Burbs, Pulp Fiction and Small Soldiers.
Life and career
Miller was born in The Bronx, New York and attended the City College of New York as well as Columbia University. He 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 town's people and also a separate role as an Indian. In an action scene his town person character shot 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 V: The Final Battle as Dan Pascal, and appearances on 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 he voiced 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.
Miller has portrayed several fictional characters named Walter Paisley. As Miller notes, "I've played Walter Paisley five times now, I think." As of 2011, the character name has 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.
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.
- Dick Miller Biography - Yahoo! Movies
- Schlock! The Secret History of American Movies (2001) at the Internet Movie Database
- 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.