Dick Miller


Actor

About

Also Known As
Richard Miller
Birth Place
Bronx, New York, USA
Born
December 25, 1928

Biography

Almost inexplicably but profoundly beloved cult veteran character player who has over 135 features on his resume. Miller was a regular in the drive-in fodder churned out by American International Pictures in the 1950s and 60s. Producer-director Roger Corman, legendary master of the genre quickie, gave Miller his first film assignment in "Apache Woman" (1955). Though lean and tough-lookin...

Photos & Videos

A Bucket of Blood - Lobby Card Set
A Bucket of Blood - Movie Poster
A Bucket of Blood - Scene Stills

Notes

Sometimes credited as Richard Miller, especially in some films from the 1950s and early 60s.

Biography

Almost inexplicably but profoundly beloved cult veteran character player who has over 135 features on his resume. Miller was a regular in the drive-in fodder churned out by American International Pictures in the 1950s and 60s. Producer-director Roger Corman, legendary master of the genre quickie, gave Miller his first film assignment in "Apache Woman" (1955). Though lean and tough-looking, the Bronx New York native would have looked less improbable and more imposing playing an Indian brave named Tall Tree had he been a few inches taller. The ever economical Corman also cast him as a cowboy and a posse member in the same film. Miller became part of AIP's stock company and soon earned the nickname "One-Take Miller" for his admirable habit of showing up on the set already knowing his lines.

Hailed by the British film researchers of "Film Dope" as "the loser's loser," Miller earned his cultish credentials with an indelible starring performance in "A Bucket of Blood" (1959), Corman's spoof of the beatnik art scene. Miller's Walter Paisley was a coffee shop busboy turned celebrated sculptor-cum-serial killer who wins acclaim by presenting the corpses of his victims encased in clay. VARIETY accurately observed that "Dick Miller's ability to sustain a sense of poignancy while acting conceited and committing atrocities is responsible for a large part of the picture's appeal." His other roles for Corman include playing an unfortunate vacuum cleaner salesman in "Not of This Earth" (1956), a college student accused of impregnating a co-ed in "Sorority Girl" (1957), and an unlikely rocket scientist in "War of the Satellites" (1958).

Miller became a good luck charm and directorial private joke after Corman left AIP and formed New World Pictures in 1970. There the actor began associating with some future major players including Martin Scorsese, Jonathan Demme, Joe Dante and Jonathan Kaplan. Miller was a regular in a number of Kaplan-directed potboilers including "The Student Teachers" (1973) as a unsympathetic gym teacher and the Isaac Hayes Blaxploitation vehicle "Truck Turner" (1974). He was also featured in a more upscale biopic of female racecar driver Shirley Muldowney, in Kaplan's "Heart Like a Wheel" (1983). By the end of 1994, Miller had appeared in eight of Kaplan's films and ten of Dante's.

Miller continued working regularly throughout the 80s and into the 90s in both film and TV. He appeared in James Cameron's "The Terminator" (1984) as the pawn shop clerk who provides Schwarzenegger with weapons, and popped up in Scorsese's "After Hours" (1985) as a waiter in an all-night restaurant. Miller's other feature credits include Dante's "Matinee," the animated "Batman: Mask of the Phantasm" (both 1993), Quentin Tarantino's "Pulp Fiction" (1994), and "Tales From the Crypt Presents Demon Knight" (1995).

Filmography

 

Cast (Feature Film)

Burying the Ex (2015)
Corman's World: Exploits of a Hollywood Rebel (2011)
Himself
Machete Maidens Unleashed! (2011)
Himself
Trail of the Screaming Forehead (2007)
Looney Tunes: Back in Action (2003)
Route 666 (2001)
Small Soldiers (1998)
The Warlord: Battle For the Galaxy (1998)
The Second Civil War (1997)
Tales From the Crypt Presents Demon Knight (1995)
Private Lessons, Another Story (1994)
Shake, Rattle and Rock (1994)
Mona Must Die (1994)
Runaway Daughters (1994)
National Lampoon's Attack of the 5 Ft. 2 In. Women (1994)
Matinee (1993)
Body Waves (1992)
Unlawful Entry (1992)
The Woman Who Sinned (1991)
Motorama (1991)
Evil Toons (1991)
Gremlins 2: The New Batch (1990)
The 'Burbs (1989)
Far From Home (1989)
Angel 3: The Final Chapter (1988)
Under The Boardwalk (1988)
Innerspace (1987)
Chopping Mall (1986)
Armed Response (1986)
Lies (1986)
Night Of The Creeps (1986)
Explorers (1985)
After Hours (1985)
The Terminator (1984)
Gremlins (1984)
Heart Like A Wheel (1983)
Get Crazy (1983)
Space Raiders (1983)
Twilight Zone--The Movie (1983)
All the Right Moves (1983)
National Lampoon's Movie Madness (1982)
Vortex (1982)
White Dog (1982)
The Howling (1981)
Dr. Heckyl & Mr. Hype (1980)
Used Cars (1980)
11th Victim (1979)
1941 (1979)
The Lady in Red (1979)
Rock 'N' Roll High School (1979)
Piranha (1978)
I Wanna Hold Your Hand (1978)
Starhops (1978)
Corvette Summer (1978)
New York, New York (1977)
Game Show Models (1977)
Mr. Billion (1977)
White Line Fever (1976)
Moving Violation (1976)
Cannonball (1976)
Crazy Mama (1976)
Hollywood Boulevard (1976)
Summer School Teachers (1975)
Big Bad Mama (1974)
Candy Stripe Nurses (1974)
Truck Turner (1974)
The Young Nurses (1973)
Fly Me (1973)
The Student Teachers (1973)
The Slams (1973)
Executive Action (1973)
Night Call Nurses (1972)
Mr. Jensen
The Wild Racers (1968)
A Time for Killing (1967)
Zollicoffer
The Trip (1967)
Cash
Wild, Wild Winter (1966)
Rilk
Beach Ball (1965)
The Girls on the Beach (1965)
The Terror (1963)
Stefan
Premature Burial (1962)
Mole
Capture That Capsule! (1961)
Editor Nowak
The Little Shop of Horrors (1960)
Fouch
A Bucket of Blood (1959)
Walter Paisley
War of the Satellites (1958)
David Boyer
Carnival Rock (1957)
Ben
Naked Paradise (1957)
Mitch
Sorority Girl (1957)
Mort
Rock All Night (1957)
Shorty
Not of This Earth (1957)
Joe Piper
The Undead (1957)
Leper who sells his soul
It Conquered the World (1956)
Sgt. Neil
The Oklahoma Woman (1956)
Bartender
Gunslinger (1956)
Jimmy Tonto
Apache Woman (1955)
Tall Tree
Anybody's Blonde (1931)

Cinematography (Feature Film)

Mad Dog Coll (1961)
Camera Operator
Murder, Inc. (1960)
Camera Operator
The James Dean Story (1957)
Contr Photographer

Writer (Feature Film)

TNT Jackson (1974)
Screenplay
Which Way to the Front? (1970)
Story

Misc. Crew (Feature Film)

Corman's World: Exploits of a Hollywood Rebel (2011)
Other
Machete Maidens Unleashed! (2011)
Other

Cast (Special)

W*A*L*T*E*R (1984)

Cinematography (Special)

The Strange Case of Lizzie Borden (1999)
Assistant Camera

Sound (Special)

The Strange Case of Lizzie Borden (1999)
Sound Recordist

Cast (TV Mini-Series)

New Kids on the Planet (2000)
Midnight Run - Run Around (1994)
Ghost Writer (1990)
Mob Boss (1990)
V: The Final Battle (1984)

Life Events

1950

Co-hosted (with Bobby Sherwood) "Midnight Snack" on the local CBS affiliate; reputedly TV's first live late-night talk show

1952

Moved to California to seek work as a writer

1955

Feature acting debut in Corman's Western "Apache Woman" playing an Indian, a cowboy, and a posse member; first of numerous collaborations with producer-director Corman at American International Pictures

1956

First starring role in a feature, "Rock All Night", as a sharp-tongued barfly

1959

Starred in his signature role of Walter Paisley, the anti-hero of Roger Corman's horror comedy, "A Bucket of Blood"

1970

Feature screenwriting debut as co-scripter of Jerry Lewis' "Which Way to the Front"

1972

Appeared in Jonathan Kaplan's "Night Call Nurses" at New World Pictures; first of eight film collaborations (as of 1994) with director Kaplan (released 1974)

1974

Co-scripted "T.N.T. Jackson", a Filippino-shot "blaxploitation" favorite

1976

Reprised the role of Walter Paisley in Joe Dante and Allan Arkush's "Hollywood Boulevard"; first of ten film collaborations (as of 1994) with Dante

1984

Appeared in the recurring role of a sleazy motel clerk in the daytime soap "General Hospital" (date approximate)

1986

Directed "The Fix", an episode of the trendy cop series "Miami Vice"

1995

Guest starred in a two-part episode of "Star Trek: Deep Space 9"

Photo Collections

A Bucket of Blood - Lobby Card Set
Here is a lobby card set from Roger Corman's A Bucket of Blood (1959), starring Dick Miller. Lobby Cards were 11" x 14" posters that came in sets of 8. As the name implies, they were most often displayed in movie theater lobbies, to advertise current or coming attractions.
A Bucket of Blood - Movie Poster
Here is the American one-sheet movie poster for A Bucket of Blood (1959), starring Dick Miller and directed by Roger Corman. One-sheets measured 27x41 inches, and were the poster style most commonly used in theaters.
A Bucket of Blood - Scene Stills
Here are several scene stills from A Bucket of Blood (1959), starring Dick Miller and directed by Roger Corman.

Videos

Movie Clip

Little Shop Of Horrors, The (1960) - I'll Eat 'Em Here After a prologue we meet the principals, Mel Welles as proprietor Mushnik, Leola Wendorff as Mrs. Shiva, Jackie Joseph as Audrey, Jonathan Haze as slow Seymour and Dick Miller as customer Fouch, no telling where this is going, opening Roger Corman's original The Little Shop Of Horrors, 1960.
Bucket Of Blood, A (1959) - Repetition Is Death Nervous wannabe artist and busboy Walter (Dick Miller) finds the landlady's cat, early in Roger Corman's A Bucket Of Blood, 1959.
X: The Man With The X-Ray Eyes -- (1963) - What Are You Dick Tracy? Don Rickles is the insult comic carnival barker, whom we meet after researcher Xavier (Ray Milland) has gone underground, having inexplicably murdered a colleague, and discovered that his experimental vision enhancement is permanent, in Roger Corman's X: The Man With The X-Ray Eyes, 1963, and the heckler is Dick Miller, star of A Bucket Of Blood, 1959.
Bucket Of Blood, A (1959) - Who Do You Score From? Dim-bulb busboy Walter (Dick Miller), who’s now considered an artist because he accidentally killed a cat then covered it in clay, doesn’t know what the girl who groped him handed off, and doesn’t know Lou (Bert Convy) from the cafe is a narc, in Roger Corman’s A Bucket Of Blood, 1959.
Bucket Of Blood, A (1959) - Have You Seen My Cat? Anxious busboy Walter (Dick Miller) is suddenly a genius at the beat cafe because he covered the landlady’s cat in clay after he accidentally killed it, winning praise from the house oracle Maxwell (Julian Burton), in Roger Corman’s A Bucket Of Blood< 1959.
Bucket Of Blood, A (1959) - Open, I Will Talk To You Of Art A Beat poet (Julian Burton) opens Roger Corman's A Bucket of Blood (1959) in memorable fashion, and we meet bumbling busboy hero Walter (Dick Miller).

Trailer

Bibliography

Notes

Sometimes credited as Richard Miller, especially in some films from the 1950s and early 60s.