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Overview for Robert Ellis Miller
Robert Ellis Miller

Robert Ellis Miller


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Also Known As: Died:
Born: July 18, 1927 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: New York City, New York, USA Profession: Director ... director actor producer


A child actor, Robert Ellis Miller left Harvard University determined to become a director, working in theater and live TV in his native NYC before relocating to Los Angeles. He cut his teeth helming episodes of "Naked City" (ABC), "The Twilight Zone" and "Route 66" (both CBS), among other series, before making his feature directorial debut with the engaging romantic comedy, "Any Wednesday" (1966), starring Jane Fonda and Jason Robards. He scored a critical success with the screen version of Carson McCullers' novel, "The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter" (1968). The picture won Oscar nominations for both Alan Arkin (Best Actor) and Sandra Locke (Best Supporting Actress), featured Stacy Keach and gave Cicely Tyson her first major film role and enhanced his reputation as an actors' director. Thirty years later, the American Film Institute honored Miller, screening this film along with Mike Nichols' "The Graduate" (1967) and Robert Altman's "McCabe and Mrs. Miller" (1971). Of his remaining features, "Reuben, Reuben" (1983), which reunited him with "Ash Wednesday" screenwriter Julius J Epstein, probably attracted the most notice, garnering a Best Actor Oscar nomination for Tom Conti.

Some of Miller's finest work has come at the helm of TV-movies. His "Just an Old Sweet Song" (CBS, 1976), starring Tyson, won a Christopher Award and earned him a NAACP Image Award as Best Television Director. Two years later, he collaborated with screenwriters Dalton and Christopher Trumbo on "Ishi: The Last of His Tribe" (NBC), which received the Western Heritage Award. His TV-movies in the 80s included the Tuesday Weld remake of "Madame X" (NBC, 1981), "The Other Lover" (NBC, 1985), starring Lindsay Wagner, and "Intimate Strangers" (CBS, 1986), which reteamed him with Keach. Leonard Maltin praised Miller's last feature, "Bed & Breakfast" (1992), saying, "First-rate performances, and a gorgeous setting on the Maine coast, make this modest film worth seeing, especially on the small screen." Since then he has turned in some TV gems, bringing new flavor to a tried and true formula for "A Walton Wedding" (CBS, 1995) and directing a fine Depression-era drama, "Angel of Pennsylvania Avenue" (Family Channel, 1996), starring Robert Urich.

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