The Actors Society Mourns the Passing of Mark Miller
The Actors Society is saddened to hear of the passing of one of our own; actor, writer, and filmmaker Mark Miller.
Miller was born in Houston, Texas, on November 20th, 1924. In his early twenties, he moved to New York to pursue a career in acting and registered, as Herb Miller, to attend The American Academy of Dramatic Arts, graduating in 1949, as Claude Miller, in the same class as Grace Kelly, with whom he developed a lifelong relationship. The two would star together in Miller’s first professional job out of The Academy, Noel Coward’s Private Lives at the Casino Playhouse in Newport, Rhode Island.
Following his graduation from The Academy, Miller appeared in over 30 plays, including The Philadelphia Story opposite Sarah Churchill (daughter of Winston Churchill), and he was tapped personally by William Inge to lead up the first Broadway touring company of Bus Stop. Mark played the role of Bo Decker, who was, coincidentally, played by 1948 alumnus Don Murray in the 1956 film version.
Miller’s television career was jump-started by Desi Arnaz, who saw him in the touring production of Inge’s Dark at the Top of the Stairs at the Biltmore Theatre in Los Angeles and asked Miller to be in his new sitcom, Guestward Ho!. Miller had done a few television spots before on such shows as Gunsmoke and Robert Montgomery Presents, but this was a chance to star in his own show, so he moved out to Los Angeles. The show ran for one season. In the subsequent years, he appeared on The Andy Giffith Show, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, and The Twilight Zone. During this time, he also appeared in Youngblood Hawke, directed by Delmer Daves (Dark Passage, 3:10 to Yuma). In 1965 he land the role he is most remembered for, Jim Nash, the father in Please Don’t Eat the Daisies. The family comedy was based on Jean Kerr’s 1957 book and followed MGM’s movie adaption starring David Niven (The Pink Panther, Murder by Death) and Doris Day (Young Man With a Horn, Pillow Talk). It was on this show that Miller stretched his talents and began to dabble in writing, scoring an Emmy nomination for his writing on “The Magnificent Muldoon” episode. Mark would go on to write for The Jeffersons, Diff’rent Strokes, and Nothing is Easy. He wrote four feature films, including Savannah Smiles, which he starred in, and A Walk in the Clouds, featuring Keanu Reeves (The Matrix, John Wick) and Anthony Quinn (Lust for Life, Lawrence of Arabia).
In the 1970s and ‘80s, he would work steadily in television, appearing on The F.B.I., Emergency!, and The Streets of San Francisco, as well as securing a recurring role on the popular soap opera The Days of our Lives.
In 2010 his play Amorous Crossing premiered at the Alhambra Theatre in Jacksonville, Florida, and starred Class of 1959 alumna Loretta Swit (M*A*S*H, S.O.B.).
Miller died in Santa Monica, California, at age ninety-seven from natural causes. His daughter Penelope Anne Miller (Carlito’s Way, The Artist) tweeted out, “My Papa’s beautiful soul left this earth 9/9/2022. He loved deeply & was loved by all who knew him. He touched many lives. He was funny, fun, & always creating. He cherished this life and saw the glass half full! I was blessed to call him my dad.”