Dick Miller
Paul Archuleta/Getty

The actor died from natural causes on Wednesday, a little over a month after he turned 90

January 30, 2019 09:48 PM

Dick Miller, the veteran actor best known for his role in Gremlins and A Bucket of Blood, has died. He was 90.

Miller passed away from natural causes on Wednesday and was surrounded by his family, a spokesperson for the Millers told The Hollywood Reporter. His death comes a little over one month after the legendary character actor celebrated his 90th birthday.

“His sense of humor and the unique way he looked at the world won him many lifelong friends and worldwide fans,” his family told the outlet in a statement.

Miller’s prolific career spanned over 60 years, appearing in hundreds of movies and television series during that time. In the 1950s, he met director Roger Corman, whom he ended up working with for more than two decades.

At first, the Bronx native was typically cast in Corman’s low-budget films, often playing smaller roles, but he eventually worked his way up to a leading role for the director.

Part of those projects included Not of This Earth (1957), The Little Shop of Horrors (1960), and most notably, his starring role as Walter Paisley in A Bucket of Blood (1959). In many movies afterward, Miller reprised his role of Paisley.

Dick Miller
Warner Bros.

Miller also crossed paths with director Joe Dante and earned a role in every single one of Dante’s films throughout his lifetime. In 1984, the pair worked together on the comedy-horror film Gremlins, with Miller starring as Murray Futterman.

Aside from his relationship with Corman and Dante, he also worked with other directors including James Cameron — on the 1984 hit The Terminator — Martin Scorsese and Jonathan Demme.

In 2014, Miller was the subject of a documentary called That Guy Dick Miller. The film examined the actor’s life and career while also featuring interviews with the star.

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Following his death on Wednesday, Dante paid tribute to one of his “best friends” and the go-to character actor on Twitter.

“I’m devastated to report that one of my best friends and most treasured collaborators has passed away. I ‘grew up’ (kinda) watching Dick Miller in movies from the 50s on and was thrilled to have him in my first movie for @RogerCorman” he wrote.

“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!” he continued. “But he leaves behind over 100 performances, a bio & a doc–not bad for a guy who hardly ever enjoyed a starring role.”

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Baby Driver director Edgar Wright also paid tribute to Miller — as well as the two directors who cast Miller over the years.

“RIP Dick Miller, surely the king of character actors,” he wrote. A friendly, funny face in Gremlins (1&2), Piranha, the original Little Shop Of Horrors, Not Of This Earth, After Hours & my personal beatnik fav, Walter Paisley in ‘A Bucket Of Blood’. Any role of his was cult movie nirvana.”

“And really as well as Roger Corman, we owe it the mighty @joe_dante for giving us so much Dick Miller goodness over the years,” he added.

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