Society

Actor Kenny Miller Dies At 85 (Photo)

| by Michael Doherty

Kenny Miller, an actor known for his role in 1957's "I Was a Teenage Werewolf," has died at 85.

Miller died of pneumonia at a medical center in Palm Springs, according to The Hollywood Reporter. He had a long career spanning 65 years as an actor, singer, and dancer.

Miller was born on Oct. 15, 1931, as the youngest son of a Protestant minister in Springfield, Ohio, the Springfield News-Sun reports. He was inspired as a child by a screening of "The Wizard of Oz," and later had his own singing radio shows on stations in the Springfield area.

"He was always an entertainer, an all-around good performer, and decided at an early age that's what he wanted to do," said Miller's niece, Vicky Holloway.

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After Miller graduated from Springfield High School in 1949, he hitchhiked to Hollywood to seek a career in performing.

He made his first film appearance in 1952 in "Fearless Fagan" before he was drafted into the Army and served in Germany. During his military service, he acted in a "Flash Gordon" TV show.

When he left the Army, Miller moved back to Hollywood to continue his acting career, appearing in films like "Giant," "The Buccaneer," and "A Touch of Evil."

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"The Twist [dance craze] was in and he had several women performing with him there. It was fun," Holloway said of a trip she remembers embarking on to see Miller in Florida in the 1960s. "He pointed at me, and a little boy, about 6, thought my uncle was pointing at him and he went up too and we just Twisted away."

"He knew so many people. Performers back then knew and liked each other," said Holloway, adding that family "meant the world" to Miller.

"He was just fun to be around, always laughing," she added. "He was a name-dropper. We'd watch TV and he'd have a story for everybody. He even met royalty."

Miller also appeared in films including "The Little Shepherd of Kingdom Come," "The Search for Bridey Murphy," and "Attack of the Puppet People," as well as TV programs like "Dragnet" and "Father Knows Best."

He also recorded eight albums and published an autobiography, "Surviving Teenage Werewolves, Puppet People, and Hollywood," according to the Sun Sentinel. In the 1950s and 1980s, Miller performed in a music act in nightclubs across the globe.

Miller lived in Florida for 30 years before moving back to California. He starred in two independent movies filmed in Florida in the 1970s, "Blood Stalkers," and "Little Laura & Big John."

Miller is survived by Holloway, two nephews, two great-nieces and one great-nephew. Miller's family has suggested donations to the Doris Day Animal Foundation instead of flowers.

Sources: The Hollywood Reporter, Sun Sentinel, Springfield News-Sun / Photo credit: DRs Kulturarvsprojekt/Flickr, 20th Century Fox via Springfield News-Sun

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