Veteran Hollywood character actor Dick Miller, star of Roger Corman’s 1959 cult classic A Bucket of Blood and who played Murray Futterman in Joe Dante’s Gremlins, has died. He was 90.
Miller’s death due to natural causes on Wednesday in Toluca Lake was confirmed to Wild About Movies by a family spokesperson, and followed a month after his 90th birthday party. His wife Lainie, daughter Barbara and grand-daughter Autumn were at his side as he passed.
“His sense of humor and the unique way he looked at the world won him many lifelong friends and worldwide fans,” Miller’s family said in a statement.
The veteran actor, born in The Bronx on Dec. 25, 1928, served a tour of duty in the U.S. Navy, before attending the City College of New York and Columbia University.
Miller performed on Broadway in between stints of work at the Bellevue Hospital Mental Hygiene Clinic and the psychiatric department of Queens General Hospital.
In 1952, he moved to California, and one of his earliest acting roles was in Apache Woman in 1955. Miller began working with iconic director/producer Roger Corman, including in a starring role as Walter Paisley in A Bucket of Blood in 1959.
His other early movie credits included The Little Shop of Horrors, The Terror, The Wild Angels, The Dirty Dozen and A Time for Killing.
Miller was the subject of a 2014 documentary by director Elijah Drenner (American Grindhouse) and co-producers Drenner and Lainie Miller (The Perfect Game).
In all, his career spanned six decades with more than 175 movies and more than 2,000 TV appearances. Miller would eventually work with directors James Cameron, Ernest Dickerson, Martin Scorsese, Jonathan Demme, Allan Arkush, Jonathan Kaplan and John Sayles.
He also had a role in all of Dante’s films, including Explorer and The Howling.