Dick Miller

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Dick Miller
Miller at the Chiller Theatre Expo in 2015
Richard Miller

(1928-12-25)December 25, 1928
DiedJanuary 30, 2019(2019-01-30) (aged 90)
Toluca Lake, California, U.S.
Alma materCity College of New York
Columbia University
New York University
Years active1955–2019
Sheila Elaine Halpern
(m. 1967)
Military career
Allegiance United States
Service/branch United States Navy

Richard Miller (December 25, 1928 – January 30, 2019) was an American character actor who appeared in more than 180 films,[1] 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.

Early life[edit]

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.[2] 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,[3] eventually attaining a PhD in psychology.[4][5] He was a writer before turning to acting.[6]


While working as a graduate psychologist, Miller performed on Broadway and also worked at the Bellevue Hospital Mental Hygiene Clinic and the psychiatric department of Queens General Hospital.[5] 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 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.[7]

His movie roles 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.[8] 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 film's length. He also appeared in Rod Stewart's 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. He also directed television shows, including "The Fix", a 1986 episode of the series Miami Vice.[8]

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.[8] He is also credited for appearing in a Sega CD video game, Prize Fighter, as corner man for the main character.

Walter Paisley[edit]

Miller in A Bucket of Blood (1959)

Throughout his career, Miller would portray several fictional characters all named Walter Paisley. He once noted, "I've played Walter Paisley five times now, I think."[9] By 2011, the character name had actually appeared in Miller's acting credits six times, and twice more with other actors on stage and screen. The name first appeared in the Roger Corman film A Bucket of Blood, with a story centered on Paisley, a busboy who becomes an artist of sorts by killing his subjects and covering them in plaster.[10] In 1976, Miller again portrayed a Walter Paisley — this time, a talent agent and former actor – in another Corman production, Hollywood Boulevard, directed by Allan Arkush and Joe Dante. In one scene of the film, Miller watches himself onscreen at a drive-in theater showing of The Terror – along with the Paisley name, this was one of several Corman/American International references and in-jokes in the finished production.

Dante cast Miller as another Walter Paisley, the owner of an occult bookshop, in the 1981 film The Howling.[11] Two years later, the name appeared again attached to another Miller role, this time as the owner of a diner in the third segment of Twilight Zone: The Movie.[12] The 1986 horror film Chopping Mall featured a janitor named Walter Paisley; and the 1994 made-for-TV remake of Shake, Rattle and Rock! had Miller playing a policeman, 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. Two other actors have portrayed the Walter Paisley from A Bucket of Blood: Anthony Michael Hall in the 1995 television remake; and James Stanton in the musical adaptation produced by Chicago's Annoyance Theatre.

Personal life[edit]

Miller married Lainie (Sheila Elaine Halpern) on October 6, 1959, and they had one child together, Barbara.[13][14][15] Miller died at age 90 of a heart attack[2] on January 30, 2019, while being treated for pneumonia in Toluca Lake, Los Angeles.[16][17]



Year Title Role Director Notes
1967 Dragnet 1967 Harry Johnson Jack Webb Episode: "The Shooting"
1979 Soap The Guard John Bowab Episode: # 2.19
1982 Police Squad! Vic Joe Dante Episode: "Testimony of Evil (Dead Men Don't Laugh)"
1984-1987 Fame Lou Mackie Various Recurring role (30 episodes)
1988 Star Trek: The Next Generation News Stand Vendor Joseph L. Scanlon Episode: "The Big Goodbye"
1990-1991 The Flash Fosnight Various 6 episodes
1993 Fallen Angels Carl Various 2 episodes
1994 Rebel Highway Roy Farrell Joe Dante and Allan Arkush 2 episodes
1994 Batman: The Animated Series Boxy Bennett Bruce Timm Voice, 2 episodes[18]
1994 Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman Mike Lane Robert Singer Episode: "Church of Metropolis"
1995 Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Vin Reza Badiyi and Jonathan Frakes Episode: "Past Tense"
2005 Justice League Unlimited Oberon Bruce Timm Voice, episode: "The Ties that Bind"[18]


Year Title Role Director Notes
1955 Apache Woman Tall Tree Roger Corman
1956 The Oklahoma Woman The Bartender
Gunslinger Jimmy Tonto
It Conquered the World Sergeant Neil
1957 Naked Paradise Mitch
Not of This Earth Joe Piper
The Undead The Leper
Rock All Night "Shorty"
Sorority Girl Mort
Carnival Rock Benny
1958 War of the Satellites Dave Boyer
1959 A Bucket of Blood Walter Paisley
1960 The Little Shop of Horrors Burson Fouch
1961 Atlas Greek Soldier Uncredited
Capture That Capsule Ed Nowak Will Zens
1962 Premature Burial "Mole" Roger Corman
1963 The Terror Stefan
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 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
Roger Corman
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 The 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 The Pianist George Armitage
1977 Mr. Billion Bernie Jonathan Kaplan
New York, New York The Palm Club Owner Martin Scorsese
Game Show Models The Game Show Host David N. Gottlieb
1978 Starhops Jerry Barbara Peeters
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 Ned, Investigator 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 Segment: "Success Wanters"
White Dog Animal Trainer Samuel Fuller
Vortex Bit Part Beth B
Scott 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 Mel "Crazy Mel" Howard R. Cohen
Get Crazy Susie's Dad Allan Arkush
All the Right Moves Teacher In Auditorium Michael Chapman
Lies The Producer Jim Wheat
Ken Wheat
1984 Swing Shift Wallflower At The Swing Shift Jamboree Jonathan Demme Uncredited
Gremlins Murray Futterman Joe Dante
The Terminator Gun Shop Clerk James Cameron
1985 Explorers Charlie Drake Joe Dante
After Hours Pete, Diner Waiter 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
Face Like a Frog Max Sally Cruikshank
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 Garbageman 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
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
1992 Quake The Storekeeper Louis Morneau
1993 Matinee Herb Denning Joe Dante
1993 Batman: Mask of the Phantasm Chuckie Sol Eric Radomski

Bruce Timm

1994 Pulp Fiction Joe "Monster Joe" Quentin Tarantino (scenes deleted)
Mona Must Die Father Stilicato Donald Reiker
1995 Demon Knight Uncle Willy Ernest R. Dickerson
Number One Fan The Night Manager Jane Simpson
1997 The Second Civil War Eddie O'Neill Joe Dante Television film
1998 The Warlord: Battle for the Galaxy The Peddler
Small Soldiers Joe, The Truck Driver
2001 Route 666 The Bartender William Wesley
2003 Looney Tunes: Back in Action Security Chief Joe Dante
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


  1. ^ "R.I.P. Dick Miller, character actor legend from Gremlins, The Terminator, nearly 200 other movies". News. January 31, 2019. Retrieved April 12, 2020.
  2. ^ a b Slotnik, Daniel E. (February 1, 2019). "Dick Miller, 90, Dies; Character Actor and Roger Corman Mainstay". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved April 12, 2020.
  3. ^ Bastidas, Jose (January 30, 2019). "'Gremlins' and 'Terminator' Actor Dick Miller Dead at 90". Pop Culture Magazine. United States: Pop. Retrieved February 1, 2019.
  4. ^ "Biography". DickMiller.net.
  5. ^ a b "Dick Miller Biography". Yahoo! Movies. Yahoo!. Archived from the original on May 22, 2011.
  6. ^ 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.
  7. ^ Gingold, Michael (March 10, 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 August 6, 2017. Retrieved September 6, 2018.
  8. ^ a b c ""THAT GUY DICK MILLER" kicks off exclusive engagement; Dick Miller to attend". Fangoria. March 3, 2015. Archived from the original on July 12, 2017. Retrieved September 6, 2018.
  9. ^ Alan Frank, The Films of Roger Corman: "Shooting My Way Out of Trouble" (BT Batsford, 1998).
  10. ^ David J. Hogan, Dark Romance: Sexuality in the Horror Film (McFarland, 1997), 221.
  11. ^ Reynold Humphries, The American Horror Film: An Introduction (Edinburgh University Press, 2002), 133.
  12. ^ John Kenneth Muir, Horror Films of the 1980s (McFarland & Co., 2007), 364.
  13. ^ Vatnsdal, Caelum (May 16, 2012). "Dick Miller talks working with Corman, Scorsese, and getting peed on by a monkey". The A.V. Club. Chicago, Illinois: Onion, Inc. Retrieved September 6, 2018.
  14. ^ Nickolai, Nate (January 30, 2019). "Dick Miller, 'Gremlins' and 'Terminator' Actor, Dies at 90". Variety. Los Angeles, California: Penske Media Corporation. Retrieved February 1, 2019.
  15. ^ "Remembering Trek Guest Star, Dick Miller, 1928-2019". StarTrek.com. Los Angeles, California: CBS Television Studios. January 31, 2019. Retrieved February 1, 2019.
  16. ^ Viessing, Etan (January 30, 2019). "Dick Miller, 'Gremlins' and 'The Howling' Star, Dies at 90". The Hollywood Reporter. Los Angeles, California: Valence Media. Retrieved February 1, 2019.
  17. ^ Collins, Clark (January 30, 2019). "Dick Miller Dead: Terminator, Gremlins actor dies at 90". Entertainment Weekly. New York City: Time, Inc. Retrieved February 1, 2019.
  18. ^ a b c "Dick Miller (visual voices guide)". Behind The Voice Actors. Retrieved December 19, 2023. A green check mark indicates that a role has been confirmed using a screenshot (or collage of screenshots) of a title's list of voice actors and their respective characters found in its opening and/or closing credits and/or other reliable sources of information.

External links[edit]