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Sylvia Miles

Sylvia Miles

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Also Known As: Sylvia Lee Died:
Born: September 9, 1932 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: New York City, New York, USA Profession: actor

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Known as much for her appearances "on the town" as for her stage and film roles, Sylvia Miles is often connected to brassy, vulgar types, as well as roles that seem eccentric--at least after she's tackled them. She is recalled for dumping a plate of spaghetti on critic John Simon's head in 1973 after he gave her a less than stellar review, as well as for her Oscar-nominated roles in "Midnight Cowboy" (1969) and "Farewell My Lovely," (1975) and her turns in "Wall Street" (1987) and "Crossing Delancey" (1988).Miles was born and raised in New York City, and married for the first time when she was 16. She dabbled in revue comedy and made her first TV appearance on a Bob Hope NBC show in 1950. In 1952, she married Gerald Price, an actor, and became more exposed to the theater. By 1954, Miles had made her Off-Broadway debut in "A Stone for Danny Fisher" and supporting roles began to follow with regularity, such as Margie in the now-legendary 1956 Circle in the Square production of "The Iceman Cometh", starring Jason Robards. Miles finally made her Broadway debut in "The Riot Act" in 1963 and appeared again in "Matty, and the Moron and Madonna" at the Orpheum Theatre in 1965. She wrote the book and lyrics...

Known as much for her appearances "on the town" as for her stage and film roles, Sylvia Miles is often connected to brassy, vulgar types, as well as roles that seem eccentric--at least after she's tackled them. She is recalled for dumping a plate of spaghetti on critic John Simon's head in 1973 after he gave her a less than stellar review, as well as for her Oscar-nominated roles in "Midnight Cowboy" (1969) and "Farewell My Lovely," (1975) and her turns in "Wall Street" (1987) and "Crossing Delancey" (1988).

Miles was born and raised in New York City, and married for the first time when she was 16. She dabbled in revue comedy and made her first TV appearance on a Bob Hope NBC show in 1950. In 1952, she married Gerald Price, an actor, and became more exposed to the theater. By 1954, Miles had made her Off-Broadway debut in "A Stone for Danny Fisher" and supporting roles began to follow with regularity, such as Margie in the now-legendary 1956 Circle in the Square production of "The Iceman Cometh", starring Jason Robards. Miles finally made her Broadway debut in "The Riot Act" in 1963 and appeared again in "Matty, and the Moron and Madonna" at the Orpheum Theatre in 1965. She wrote the book and lyrics for her own one-person show, "It's Me, Sylvia!" which ran at the Playhouse Theatre in 1981.

While her style and New York twang has limited Miles' TV appearances, she may be best recalled--at least by trivia nuts--for a role she did NOT play. In 1960, Miles was hired by Carl Reiner to play a marriage-hungry comedy writer named Sally Rogers in a pilot he had written for himself called "Head of the Family". When the show aired as part of CBS' "Comedy Spot", the network decided it should be recast. It evolved into "The Dick Van Dyke Show" with Rose Marie as Sally. Since then, Miles has made occasional appearances on the small screen, usually in episodic guest appearances. In the 80s, she had a brief recurring role on the ABC daytime drama "All My Children". Miles also has appeared on virtually every major talk show proving to be a rather amusing, if perhaps eccentric, raconteur.

Most audiences know Miles for her work in feature films. She made her debut as a moll in Burt Balaban and Stuart Rosenberg's gritty, realistic "Murder, Inc." (1960). But, it was not until "Midnight Cowboy" that she really won notice, as Cass, the blowzy, loudmouthed woman who becomes Jon Voight's first "trick" in New York. It was a very small role--if a more established actress had been cast, it might have been called a "cameo"--but Miles' turn was so delicious, she won an Academy Award nomination. Miles, however, was so specific a "type" that scripts did not pour her way, although she made the most of her chances. Playing the drunken widow of a nightclub owner--and subsequent murder victim--in "Farewell, My Lovely" (1975), she again turned limited screen time into an Academy Award nomination. She was the realtor to Charlie Sheen's rising broker in "Wall Street" and played a Lower East Side matchmaker who could talk and stuff food in her mouth at the same time in "Crossing Delancey". That same year, she was on screen as a crooked congresswoman in "Spike of Bensonhurst". Meryl Streep had to put up with Miles as an annoying mother in "She-Devil" (1989), in which Miles was so made-up, one might not have known it was she until one heard her distinctive voice.

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

2.
 Go Go Tales (2007)
4.
 Confessions of a Florist (2003) Mrs. P
5.
 High Times' Potluck (2003) Ma
6.
 Cockettes, The (2000)
7.
 Rose's (1998) Ms P
8.
 Denise Calls Up (1995) Gale'S Aunt Sharon
10.
 She-Devil (1989) Mrs Fisher
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

1949:
Toured in "Made in Heaven"
1950:
Made TV debut, "The Bob Hope Show" (NBC)
1954:
Made Off-Broadway debut, "A Stone For Danny Fisher"
1960:
Made feature film debut, "Murder, Inc"
1960:
Played Sally Rogers in TV pilot "Head of the Family"
1963:
Made Broadway debut, "The Riot Act"
1968:
Joined Actors Studio
1969:
Had breakthrough feature film, "Midnight Cowboy"
1975:
Received second Academy Award nomination for "Farewell My Lovely"
1981:
Wrote book and lyrics for one-woman show, "It's Me, Sylvia!"
1988:
Had supporting role in "Crossing Delancey"
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

Dramatic Workshop of the New School for Social Research: New York , New York -
Group Theatre: -
Pratt Institute: New York , New York - 1947
Actors Studio: New York , New York - 1968

Notes

Miles joined The Actors Studio in 1968.

Miles was once a leading contender in the US female chess championship.

Companions close complete companion listing

husband:
William Miles. Married when Sylvia was 16; divorced.
husband:
Gerald Price. Actor. Married in 1952; divorced in 1958.
husband:
Ted Brown. Radio performer. Married in 1963; divorced.

Family close complete family listing

father:
Reuben Lee.
mother:
Belle Lee.

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