Dick Miller – actor

Dick Miller, the legendary actor who most famously played would-be beatnik artist Walter Paisley in Roger Corman’s A Bucket of Blood (1959), has died aged ninety years-old. Miller is survived by his wife Lainie, daughter Barbara, and granddaughter Autumn.

Born in the Bronx on December 25, 1928, Miller settled in Los Angeles in the mid-1950s, where he was noticed by producer/director Roger Corman. His association with Corman, which began with movies such as Apache Woman (1955) and It Conquered the World (1956) would lead to many more notable appearances in the prolific filmmaker’s movies such as The Undead (1957) The Little Shop of Horrors (1960) and The Terror (1963). Sometimes he was credited as Richard Miller.

Corman’s protégés furthered the connection over the rest of the cult actor’s lengthy career, with him often using the same character name, Walter Paisley, that made him famous in cameo roles. Hollywood Boulevard (1976) The Howling (1981), Twilight Zone: The Movie (1983) and Chopping Mall (1986) all have Miller playing Walter Paisley.

Indeed, Miller’s final role in the upcoming comedy slasher movie Hanukkah has him playing the character one last time, this time as a rabbi! His parents, Isidor and Rita Miller, were Russian Jewish immigrants.

However, most mainstream audience will probably know Dick Miller for his roles in Joe Dante’s Gremlins (1984) and Gremlins: II: The Second Batch (1990) as the go-to-it neighbour named Murray Futterman. It is his character who first warns Billy of the potential dangers of the gremlins.

Ultimately, Murray’s home is destroyed by the mischievous monsters, with an implication that and his wife died in the monster mayhem. However, both characters were so popular they would return in the sequel, with Miller taking on an even bigger role battling the beasties. Although he’s best known as Walter Paisley, Murray Futterman runs that a close second.

Ultimately, whatever movie Dick Miller appeared in, the final product gained massively from his involvement, even if he had just a minor walk on part. He is particularly memorable in The TerminatorThe ‘Burbs, Matinee and Tales from the Crypt: Demon Knight.

Selected filmography:

  • Hanukkah … Rabbi Walter Paisley (2018)
  • Burying the Ex … Crusty Old Cop (2014)
  • The Hole … Pizza Delivery Guy (2007)
  • Trail of the Screaming Forehead … Eddie (2007)
  • Trapped Ashes … Max (story segments “Wraparound”) (2006)
  • Looney Tunes: Back in Action … Security Guard (2003)
  • Route 666 … Bartender (2001)
  • Small Soldiers … Joe (1998)
  • Tales from the Crypt: Demon Knight … Uncle Willy (1995)
  • Attack of the 5 Ft. 2 Women … Officer Murphy (1994)
  • Matinee … Herb Denning (1993)
  • Amityville 1992: It’s About Time … Mr. Andersen (1992)
  • Evil Toons … Burt (1991)
  • Gremlins 2: The New Batch … Murray Futterman (1990)
  • Ghost Writer … Club Manager 1989
  • Freddy’s Nightmares (TV series) … Al Kramer (1989)
  • The ‘Burbs … Garbageman 1988
  • Angel III: The Final Chapter … Nick Pellegrini (1988)
  • Innerspace … Cab Driver (1987)
  • Night of the Creeps … Walt (1986)
  • Chopping Mall … Walter Paisley (1986)
  • Amazing Stories (TV series – ‘The Greibble’)  … Fred (1986)
  • After Hours … Waiter (1985)
  • Explorers … Charlie Drake (1985)
  • Tales from the Darkside (TV series) … Seymour Furman (1985)
  • The Terminator … Pawn Shop Clerk (1984)
  • Gremlins … Murray Futterman (1984)
  • V: The Final Battle (TV mini-series) … Dan Pascal (1984)
  • Space Raiders … Crazy Mel (1983)
  • Twilight Zone: The Movie … Walter Paisley – segment ‘It’s a Good Life’ (1983)
  • White Dog … Animal Trainer (1982)
  • Heartbeeps … Factory Watchman (1981)
  • The Howling … Walter Paisley, Bookstore Owner (1981)
  • Dr. Heckyl & Mr. Hype … Irsil / Orson (1980)
  • Rock ‘n’ Roll High School … Police Chief (1979)
  • Piranha … Buck Gardner (1978)
  • Hollywood Boulevard … Walter Paisley (1976)
  • Death Race 2000  … Chicken Gang (1975)
  • The Trip … Cash (1967)
  • X: The Man with the X-Ray Eyes … Heckler (1963)
  • The Terror … Stefan (1963)
  • The Premature Burial … Mole (1961)
  • The Little Shop of Horrors … Fouch (1960)
  • A Bucket of Blood … Walter Paisley (1959)
  • War of the Satellites … Dave Boyer (1958)
  • The Undead … The Leper (1957)
  • Not of This Earth … Joe Piper (1957)
  • It Conquered the World … Sgt. Neil (1956)

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