Martin Miller (actor)
Miller in Peeping Tom (1960)
2 September 1899
Kremsier, Moravia, Austria-Hungary, now Kroměříž, Czech Republic
|Died||26 August 1969
|Other names||Martyn Miller|
Martin Miller, born Rudolph Muller (2 September 1899 – 26 August 1969) was a Czech character actor who played many small roles in British films and television series from the early 1940s until his death. He was best known for playing eccentric doctors, scientists and professors, although he played a wide range of small, obscure roles—including photographers, waiters, a pet store dealer, rabbis, a Dutch sailor and a Swiss tailor. On stage he was noted in particular for his parodies of Adolf Hitler and roles as Dr. Einstein in Arsenic and Old Lace and Mr. Paravinci in The Mousetrap.
Miller appeared in several notable films, including Squadron Leader X (1943), English Without Tears (1944), The Third Man (1949), The Gamma People (1956), Peeping Tom (1960), 55 Days at Peking (1963), The V.I.P.s (1963), The Pink Panther (1963), and The Yellow Rolls-Royce (1964). His most substantial roles include George II of Great Britain in Bonnie Prince Charlie (1948) and Kublai Khan in the Doctor Who serial Marco Polo. In the 1960s, he appeared in several ITC Entertainment cult television programmes, including Ghost Squad, Danger Man, The Saint, The Avengers and The Prisoner.
Early life and background
Miller was born Rudolph Muller in the Moravian city of Kroměříž—then known as Kremsier in Austria-Hungary—on 2 September 1899. Little is known about his earlier life, but he started working as an actor in Vienna in 1921, and spent his early years as an actor mainly in theatre and cabaret in Austria and Czechoslovakia. He was a member of the Jewish League of Culture in Berlin in 1938–39. At the outbreak of World War II he fled Austria to escape the persecution of the Jews and arrived in London in March 1939 to pursue a career in the British theatre and film industry. He married Hannah Norbert, later Hannah Norbert-Miller, in 1946.
In 1939, Miller was a co-founder of the Viennese Theatre Club of Paddington, a "celebrated emigré cabaret and theatre", also known as Das Laterndl. The theatrical group of talented Austrian exiles, which included the likes of Lona Cross, Fritz Schrecker and Marianne Walla became known for their sketches and plays which represented a "satirical commentary on Vienna under Nazi rule". Miller achieved fame for his parodies of Adolf Hitler, and he was asked to portray Hitler in the BBC German Service's propaganda campaign. He continued to be employed by the BBC after the war as a German-language author, actor, presenter and producer for the rest of his life. He also did much work arranging plays for the German and Austrian diaspora; for instance he arranged the production of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe's Iphigenia in Tauris in German at Wyndham's Theatre in October 1949 in coordination with the British Goethe Festival Society.
On stage Miller was noted in particular for his roles as Dr. Einstein in Arsenic and Old Lace between 1942 and 1946 and Mr. Paravinci in Agatha Christie's The Mousetrap at the Ambassadors Theatre from 1952, a role in which he was described as an "elderly foreigner" with a "painted face which he makes half devil, half jack-in-the-box". He worked mainly in London and New York City, and played Paravinci for over 1000 performances.
In 1951, Miller appeared alongside Lily Hann, Alan Tilvern, Gabriel Woolf and Alfie Bass in a production of Emanuel Litvinoff's Magnolia Street Story at the Embassy Theatre. At the end of 1959 he appeared in the successful musical Make Me an Offer at the Theatre Workshop in Stratford and the New Theatre on the West End, taking "his place as the least scrupulous and the most amusing of the dealers with a somewhat lighter but entirely acceptable rendering".
Film and television career
Miller made his British film debut in 1940 with an uncredited role opposite George Formby in the comedy Let George Do It. In 1943, Miller was cast as Mr. Krohn in Lance Comfort's World War II spy drama Squadron Leader X alongside Beatrice Varley and Ann Dvorak, his first major film role. Soon afterwards, he played Doctor Novotny in Harold S. Bucquet's spy film The Adventures of Tartu, the first of many roles as a doctor. Comfort hired him again the following year to appear alongside James Mason, Lucie Mannheim and Raymond Lovell in Hotel Reserve, a spy film set in a hotel in southern France just before World War II. He then had a small role as Schmidt in Harold French's romantic comedy English Without Tears (1944) alongside Michael Wilding, Margaret Rutherford and Penelope Dudley-Ward.
Miller played a morgue keeper in Vernon Sewell's 1945 thriller Latin Quarter. The following year he had a role as Professor Hansen alongside Robert Newton in Lawrence Huntington's Night Boat to Dublin, and portrayed a postman in Maclean Rogers's romantic drama Woman to Woman, based on the play by Michael Morton.
In 1947, he starred as a professor in Vernon Sewell's comedy The Ghosts of Berkeley Square. The film, an adaptation of the novel No Nightingales by Caryl Brahms and S. J. Simon, was inspired by the reputation of the property at 50 Berkeley Square as "the most haunted house in London", and co-starred Robert Morley and Felix Aylmer. That year, Miller also portrayed Dr. Hans Tautz in Anthony Kimmins' drama Mine Own Executioner opposite Burgess Meredith, Dulcie Gray and Michael Shepley. Mine Own Executioner was entered into the 1947 Cannes Film Festival.
In 1948, Miller portrayed a police inspector in Terence Young's One Night with You, which also featured a young Christopher Lee in a minor role. After an uncredited role as an Italian waiter at the Savoy Hotel in The Blind Goddess (1948), he had a substantial role as George II of England in Anthony Kimmins's biopic Bonnie Prince Charlie about the Jacobite Risings alongside David Niven, who portrayed Charles II. In 1949, he appeared as Tony the café proprietor in Lawrence Huntington's Man on the Run; a customer in Jack Warner's The Huggetts Abroad; Leon Stolz in Arthur Crabtree's Don't Ever Leave Me alongside Petula Clark and Jimmy Hanley; and had uncredited roles as black marketeer Herr Schindler in I Was a Male War Bride and as a headwaiter in the classic film noir The Third Man opposite Orson Welles and Joseph Cotten.
In 1951, Miller played a pawnbroker in the television movie The Angel Who Pawned Her Harp, and had an uncredited role as a photographer in Joseph M. Newman's I'll Get You for This. After a role as a Dutch seaman in Paul L. Stein's Counterblast alongside Robert Beatty, Mervyn Johns and Nova Pilbeam he played the character Carlo Penezii in the "Gigolo and Gigolette" segment of the anthology film Encore—which was entered into the 1952 Cannes Film Festival. In 1952, he appeared as a rabbi in the television series Portrait by Rembrandt and as a photographer in Where's Charley?.
In 1953, Miller had a minor role in Emeric Pressburger's Twice Upon a Time, a film which concerns a pair of twin sisters who are separated, when their parents divorce. Between 1953 and 1954, he appeared in two episodes of Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., Presents. In 1954, Miller portrayed Dr. Brukmann in Front Page Story, and Professor Hyman Pfumbaum in You Know What Sailors Are, The following year he had a role as Iggy Pulitzer in George More O'Ferrall's The Woman for Joe opposite Diane Cilento and George Baker; and portrayed a Swiss tailor in John Paddy Carstairs's comedy Man of the Moment alongside Norman Wisdom. He also had an uncredited role as a band leader in An Alligator Named Daisy.
In 1956—a busy year for Miller—he portrayed a hotel keeper in the Sailor of Fortune episode It Started in Paris and as Chella in the Festival of Fear episode of The Adventures of Aggie. He had an uncredited role in Jay Lewis's comedy The Baby and the Battleship, and played Professor Topolski in Child in the House and Lochner in John Gilling's science fiction picture The Gamma People alongside Paul Douglas, Eva Bartok and Leslie Phillips. In 1957, he starred in Hugo Fregonese's World War II film Seven Thunders about two British escaped prisoners-of-war, opposite Stephen Boyd, James Robertson Justice and Kathleen Harrison.
In 1958, Miller played Brunet in Maclean Rogers' drama Mark of the Phoenix alongside Julia Arnall, Sheldon Lawrence and Anton Diffring. He appeared twice as Nat Danziger in ITV Play of the Week in 1955 and 1958, and in three episodes of the BBC's Sunday Night Theatre—one in 1956 and two in 1959. He again played a rabbi in a 1956 episode of ITV Television Playhouse entitled Skipper Next to God, and made two further appearances in the series later in the decade. In 1959, Miller had an uncredited role as Kakky in Expresso Bongo directed by Val Guest. He played a doctor in the television film Henry IV and appeared as Dr. Schrott in Anthony Asquith's film Libel, starring alongside Olivia de Havilland and Dirk Bogarde.
In 1960, Miller portrayed Piggy in Robert Siodmak's The Rough and the Smooth opposite Tony Britton, William Bendix and Edward Chapman. He played Dr. Pfeiffer in the episode Twentieth Century Theatre: The Price of Freedom of the BBC Sunday Night Play. The same year, Miller starred in Michael Powell's psychological horror thriller Peeping Tom, playing a doctor who the main protagonist (Karlheinz Böhm), a serial killer who murders women while using a portable movie camera fitted with a spike to record their dying expressions of terror, approaches to cure his scopophilia. It was a controversial film at the time of release with themes of child abuse, sadomasochism and fetishism, although Miller's performance, played comically, stood in contrast to the film's dark themes, and it has since gained a cult following and is now considered a masterpiece.
In 1960, Miller also portrayed Stravros in the episode The Lovers of the series Danger Man and Dr. Samuel Odenheim in Otto Preminger's war film Exodus opposite Paul Newman, Eva Marie Saint, Ralph Richardson and Sal Mineo. In 1962, Miller starred as Rossi in the Hammer Film Productions horror The Phantom of the Opera under the directorship of Terence Fisher, and had roles in the TV series Man of the World, Zero One, and Ghost Squad.
In 1963—a busy and high-status year for Miller— he featured in Ken Annakin's comedy The Fast Lady. He portrayed Dr. Schroeder in Incident at Midnight; and reprised this character in the television series The Edgar Wallace Mystery Theatre. Next was a role as Hugo Bergmann in the Nicholas Ray-directed historical epic 55 Days at Peking opposite Charlton Heston, Ava Gardner, and David Niven. The film is a dramatization of the Battle of Peking during the 1900 Boxer Rebellion and received two Academy Award nominations for Dimitri Tiomkin (Best Song and Original Music Score). The same year, Miller appeared as Dr. Schwutzbacher in Anthony Asquith's The V.I.P.s as Dr. Schwatzbacher opposite Richard Burton, Elizabeth Taylor, Louis Jourdan, Orson Welles and Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress winner Margaret Rutherford. The film was one of the biggest British MGM productions in years. The team of director Asquith, producer Anatole de Grunwald and writer Rattigan produced another portmanteau film the following year entitled The Yellow Rolls-Royce, in which Miller played a minor role as a head waiter. Also in 1963, he played the photographer Pierre Luigi in Blake Edwards's The Pink Panther opposite Niven, Peter Sellers and Robert Wagner
In 1964, Miller appeared as Professor Gruber in the science fiction horror picture Children of the Damned, and played Kublai Khan in two episodes of Doctor Who; Assassin at Peking and Mighty Kublai Khan, He also portrayed Dr. Zoren in the Fish on the Hook episode of Danger Man, and from 1964 onwards, Miller became a regular cast member in ITC productions, albeit with minor roles. He appeared in two episodes of The Saint in (1964-5), and had an uncredited role as Professor Spencer in The Avengers episode The Master Minds. He also starred as Herman in the Christopher Miles comedy film Up Jumped a Swagman—which co-starred other ITC regulars Annette Andre and Ronald Radd.
In 1966, Miller appeared in the BBC television series Theatre 625 episode Focus and in the The Baron episode, Enemy of the State. In 1967, he starred as Montross in The Forsyte Saga episode Portrait of Fleur and made an appearance as a watchmaker in The Prisoner episode It's Your Funeral. In 1969, he featured in the BBC Play of the Month, playing Professeur Vivier in the episode Maigret at Bay, and also had roles in the The Troubleshooters and Doctor in the House before making his final appearance as Dutrov in the series Department S.
|1943||Squadron Leader X||Mr. Krohn|
|The Adventures of Tartu||Dr. Novotny|
|1944||Hotel Reserve||Walter Vogel|
|English Without Tears||Schmidt|
|1945||Latin Quarter||Morgue keeper|
|1946||Night Boat to Dublin||Professor Hansen|
|1947||Woman to Woman||Postman|
|The Ghosts of Berkeley Square||Professor|
|Mine Own Executioner||Dr. Hans Tautz|
|1948||One Night with You||Police Inspector|
|Counterblast||Van Hessian, Dutch Seaman|
|The Blind Goddess||Mario, the Waiter at Savoy|
|Bonnie Prince Charlie||George II of England|
|1949||The Huggetts Abroad||Customer|
|Man on the Run||Tony, the Cafe Proprietor||(as Martyn Miller)|
|Don't Ever Leave Me||Leon Stoltz|
|I Was a Male War Bride||Herr Schindler, the Black Marketeer||Uncredited|
|The Third Man||Headwaiter||Uncredited|
|1951||Lucky Nick Cain||Photographer||Uncredited|
|Counterblast||Van Hessian||(segment "Gigolo and Gigolette")|
|1953||Twice Upon a Time||Eipeldauer|
|1954||Front Page Story||Dr. Brukmann|
|You Know What Sailors Are||Prof. Hyman Pfumbaum|
|To Dorothy a Son||Brodcynsky|
|Mad About Men||Dr. Fergus|
|1955||The Woman for Joe||Iggy Pulitzer|
|Man of the Moment||Swiss Tailor|
|An Alligator Named Daisy||Bandleader||Uncredited|
|1956||The Gamma People||Lochner|
|The Baby and the Battleship||Paolo||Uncredited|
|Child in the House||Professor Topolski|
|1957||The Beasts of Marseilles||Heinrich Isadore Schlip|
|1958||Mark of the Phoenix||Brunet|
|The Rough and the Smooth||Piggy|
|1960||Peeping Tom||Dr. Rosen|
|1962||The Phantom of the Opera||Rossi|
|The Fast Lady||Man with Microscope|
|Incident at Midnight||Dr. Schroeder|
|55 Days at Peking||Hugo Bergmann|
|The V.I.P.s||Dr. Schwatzbacher|
|The Pink Panther||Pierre Luigi|
|Children of the Damned||Professor Gruber|
|1964||The Yellow Rolls-Royce||Head Waiter|
|1965||Up Jumped a Swagman||Herman|
|1968||Assignment to Kill||Police Chief||Uncredited|
|1951||The Angel Who Pawned Her Harp||Webman the Pawnbroker||TV film|
|1952||Portrait by Rembrandt||Rabbi Menasseh Ben Israel||TV film|
|1953||Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., Presents||Papa||Series episode "The Genie"|
|1954||Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., Presents||Polwatski||Series episode "The Relative Truth"|
|1955||ITV Play of the Week||Series episode "The Salt Land"|
|Mother Michel and Her Cat||Dealer in pets||TV film|
|1956||Sailor of Fortune||Hotelkeeper||Series episode "It Started in Paris"|
|ITV Television Playhouse||Rabbi||Series episode "Skipper Next to God"|
|BBC Sunday Night Theatre||Nicholas Loewenschild||Series episode "The Cold Light"|
|The Adventures of Aggie||Chella||Series episode "Festival of Fear"|
|1957||Dixon of Dock Green||Papa Kolinsky||Series episode "A Penn'orth of Allsorts"|
|1958||ITV Play of the Week||Nat Danziger||Series episode "The Big Knife"|
|1959||BBC Sunday Night Theatre||Matyas Rakosi||Series episode "Shadow of Heroes"|
|ITV Television Playhouse||Gus||Series episode "A Memory of Two Mondays"|
|Henry IV||Doctor||TV film|
|Armchair Theatre||Series episode "Light from a Star"|
|BBC Sunday Night Theatre||Abraham Kaplan||Series episode "Street Scene"|
|1960||ITV Television Playhouse||Ambrose Solto||Series episode "Night School"|
|BBC Sunday Night Play||Dr. Pfeiffer||Series episode "Twentieth Century Theatre: The Price of Freedom"|
|Danger Man||Stavros||Series episode "The Lovers"|
|1961||Theatre 70||Series episode "The Watchman of Saul"|
|Echo Four Two||Hymie||Series episode "There She Blows"|
|1962||Dial RIX||Mr. Green||Series episode "Between the Balance Sheets"|
|Man of the World||Dr. Stelitz||Series episode "Blaze of Glory"|
|Zero One||Papa Kadopolis||Series episode "The Marriage Broker"|
|Ghost Squad||Braune||Series episode "The Green Shoes"|
|1963||The Edgar Wallace Mystery Theatre||Dr. Schroeder||Series episode "Incident at Midnight"|
|The Bergonzi Hand||Davidoff||TV film|
|Espionage||Mr. Smith||Series episode "The Incurable One"|
|The Sentimental Agent||Astolat||Series episode "A Little Sweetness and Light"|
|1964||A Little Big Business||Lazlo||Series episode "Episode #1.1"|
|The Saint||Jerome||Series episode "Jeannine"|
|Doctor Who||Kublai Khan||Series episodes "Mighty Kublai Khan", "Assassin at Peking"|
|Secret Agent||Dr. Zoren||Series episode "Fish on the Hook"|
|1965||A Little Big Business||Lazlo||Series episode "Funny Things: People"|
|The Saint||Mr. Justin||Series episode "The Smart Detective"|
|The Third Man||Heinrich Miron||Series episode "The House of Bon Bons"|
|The Avengers||Professor Spencer||Series episode "The Master Minds"|
|1966||Theatre 625||Father||Series episode "Focus"|
|The Baron||.||Series episode "Enemy of the State"|
|Adam Adamant Lives!||Dr. Heindrick||Series episode "A Slight Case of Reincarnation"|
|1967||The Forsyte Saga||Montross||Series episode "Portrait of Fleur"|
|The Prisoner||Number Fifty Four||Series episode "It's Your Funeral"|
|1969||BBC Play of the Month||Professeur Vivier||Series episode "Maigret at Bay"|
|Mord nach der Oper||.||TV film|
|Mogul||Dr. Israel Berg||Series episode "They Call Me Israel"|
|Doctor in the House||Professor Pearson||Series episode "It's All Go..."|
|Department S||Dutrov||Series episode "The Perfect Operation" (Last appearance)|
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