Sad news this morning as beloved character actor Dick Miller, he of Gremlins and Terminator fame, has passed away at the ripe old age of 90. Variety reports Miller is survived by his wife Lainie, daughter Barbara, and granddaughter Autumn.
The prolific actor will be best known to horror fans for his role as the grumpy but lovable Murray Futterman in Gremlins. His career spanned more than 60 years, racking up hundreds of appearances in films and TV.
Miller kicked things off alongside the legendary Roger Corman, as Walter Paisley in cult classic A Bucket of Blood, a character he’d reprise frequently over the ensuing decades. Roles in the likes of The ‘Burbs, opposite Tom Hanks, and Fame soon followed.
The beloved character actor had a history of partnering up with key directors including James Cameron, who directed him in The Terminator, Martin Scorcese, Corman, of course, and the brilliant Joe Dante, who cast him in virtually everything he made.
In cult creature feature Piranha, Miller played small-time real estate agent Buck Gardner, who opens up a new resort on Lost River Lake only to discover the place is overrun with bloodthirsty beasties. He later reprised the role of Paisley in Dante’s celebrated werewolf movie The Howling.
Dante took to Twitter to share how heartbroken he was about the loss of Miller, writing, “I’m devastated to report that one of my best friends and most treasured collaborators has passed away.” The prolific director noted he was “thrilled to have [Miller] in my first movie” 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!”
Fellow filmmaker Edgar Wright thanked Dante for “giving us so much Dick Miller goodness over the years,” describing the beloved performer as “surely the king of character actors.”
Horror fans will also recognise Miller from Night of the Creeps, where he memorably played a police officer opposite Tom Atkins. Most recently, he appeared as Paisley once more in Eben McGarr’s Hanukkah. He was truly one of a kind and will be dearly missed.