Dick Miller in Gremlins
The much-loved character actor Dick Miller has passed away at the age of 90, it emerged last night. Celebrated for his work in Gremlins and Gremlins 2, he also appeared in cult favourites like The Terminator and Small Soldiers.
Miller began his career in B-movies including Apache Woman and It Conquered The World before making his breakthrough as troubled sculptor Walter Paisley in A Bucket Of Blood. The name stuck and he went on to play different versions of the Paisley character, with different occupations, in several films down the years, including a notable turn in The Howling. He had a long association with Bucket director Roger Corman which included an appearance in the original The Little Shop Of Horrors.
Also active on the small screen, Miller had a long-running role in Fame, made memorable appearances in Police Squad!, The Virginian and Star Trek: The Next Generation, and lent his vocal talents to Batman: The Animated Series. His career spanned more than six decades.
He is survived by wife Lainie, daughter Barbara and granddaughter Autumn.
"I'm devastated to report that one of my best friends and most treasured collaborators has passed away," tweeted Gremlins director Joe Dante. "I 'grew up' (kinda) watching Dick Miller in movies from the 50s on and was thrilled to have him in my first movie for Roger Corman. We hit it off and every script thereafter I always looked for a role for Dick--not just because he was my friend but because I loved watching him act! But he leaves behind over 100 performances, a bio & a doc--not bad for a guy who hardly ever enjoyed a starring role."
"As a lifelong fan of Dick Miller, I was overjoyed to work with him in Corvette Summer," tweeted Mark Hamill. "He turned what could have been a throwaway part into a mimi-masterpiece of effortless comic invention. I was awestruck by his timing, energy & a career that spanned 6 decades!"
Gremlins star Zach Galligan described him as "a great actor, and an even better person" from whom he had learned a lot, and John Carpenter praised him for being a "terrific character actor." Bruce Campbell said "Thanks for playing the beleaguered everyman so well - and for so long."