Skip to main content

Denny Miller Dead at 80

Actor Denny Miller, whose diverse film and television roles ranged from the first blond Tarzan on the big screen to scout Duke Shannon in the classic TV Western Wagon Train, has died. He was 80.

Miller, who wore a yellow rain slicker as the Gorton’s Fisherman in TV commercials for the seafood company for more than a decade, was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig's disease (ALS) in January and died Tuesday in Las Vegas.

The 6-foot-4 Miller, who played basketball at UCLA for legendary coach John Wooden in the 1950s, also is known for his role as Western movie actor "Wyoming" Bill Kelso in the 1968 Peter Sellers comedy The Party.

Over three seasons Miller starred in more than 100 episodes of Wagon Train, which aired on NBC and ABC from 1957 to 1965. He then segued to playing an Air Force sergeant who is married to a Las Vegas chorus girl (Juliet Prowse) in the short-lived NBC sitcom Mona McCluskey.

Miller starred as Edgar Rice Burroughs' lord of the jungle in the 1959 low-budget Tarzan, the Ape Man, a remake of the 1932 classic that starred Olympic gold medalist Johnny Weissmuller. Footage from that film, as well as Tarzan's yell, were recycled from the original.

A native of Bloomington, Ind., Miller was thinking about pursuing a career as a basketball or football coach when he was spotted by an agent on Sunset Boulevard. He signed a movie contract at MGM after his screen test was directed by George Cukor and appeared in an uncredited role in the Frank Sinatra drama Some Came Running (1958).

Miller also worked in such films as Making It (1971), Buck and the Preacher (1972) and The Norseman (1978).

The actor made more of a mark on television, with stints on dozens of shows including Gilligan's Island, Have Gun — Will Travel, The Rifleman, Ben Casey, The Fugitive, I Spy, The High Chaparral, Hawaii Five-O, I Dream of Jeannie, The Brady Bunch, The Six Million Dollar Man, Battlestar Galactica, Barnaby Jones, Charlie’s Angels, Magnum, P.I. and Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman.

In 1984 Miller guest-starred in four episodes of the CBS primetime soap opera Dallas as Max Flowers. In the story, J.R. Ewing (Larry Hagman) tricked Cliff Barnes (Ken Kercheval) into investing in some expensive offshore oil leases in the Gulf of Mexico. Once Cliff was leveraged to the hilt, J.R. bribed Max, Cliff's foreman, to slow down the drilling so Cliff wouldn't strike oil before his bank loan came due, thus bankrupting him.

Miller is survived by his wife, Nancy.


Popular posts from this blog

The Complete Story of 'The Doctors' (1963-1973)

Daytime TV covered the world of soap operas for decades before finally folding in the 1990s. In the mid-70s, the magazine did an excellent series titled "The Complete Story of..." recounting the history of a soap opera from its inception. Below is the historical feature on the first 10 years of NBC's The Doctors (1963-1973), which is currently being aired on Retro TV. Some of the interesting tidbits include: * The Doctors did not start as a serial; it began as a "half-hour anthology series of medical dramas, set in the large metropolitan Hope Memorial Hospital, and with the four principals alternating daily in the lead role, according to NBC's original announcement. The roles were Dr. William Scott (played by Jock Gaynor), Dr. Jerry Chandler (portrayed by Richard Roat), Dr. Elizabeth Hayes (played by Margot Moser) and Rev. Samuel Shafer, a hospital chaplain (played by Fred J. Scollay). * Later in the first season, Herb Kenwith and Paul Lammers became

'Days of Our Lives' Livestream Event on September 8 Promotes 'Beyond Salem'

To celebrate the premiere of the Peacock Original limited series, Days of our Lives: Beyond Salem , Xfinity and Peacock today announced an exclusive Days of our Lives: Beyond Salem livestream event only for Xfinity Reward Members. The event reunites an all-star cast including Lisa Rinna, Deidre Hall, Drake Hogestyn, James Reynolds, and Eileen Davidson on Wednesday, Sept. 8th at 8 p.m. ET/ 5 p.m. PT. Viewers will enjoy a conversation with the stars - giving fans a chance to view exclusive content, hear stories from the set, and even have the chance to ask their favorite stars questions. This special event is only for Xfinity Rewards members and is just one of the many benefits available through the Xfinity Rewards program. If you’re not yet a member of Xfinity Rewards, signing up is free and simple to do through the Xfinity app or online at From there, members can view and redeem all rewards currently available to them. “Xfinity Rewards is all about creating u

Melody Thomas Scott Memoir 'Always Young And Restless' Out This Summer

Emmy Award-nominated Melody Thomas Scott admits she is nothing like her The Young and the Restless role, which has seen it all in her forty-one-year tenure on America’s highest-rated daytime serial. But the high drama, angst, and catastrophes aren’t confined to her character’s plotlines. In her first-ever book, the captivating memoir "Always Young And Restless" (Diversion Books; July 14, 2020, available for pre-order now; $26.99, Hardcover; ISBN 978-1635-766943), Melody reveals the intimate and complicated truths of her upbringing as well as behind-the-scenes tales of her own riveting journey to becoming an icon and searching for “normal.” “Even though I have spent almost my entire life as an actress and performer, I have kept my private life well behind the scenes,” said Scott. “Now, I am ready to share these stories of survival and success that have shaped me into who I am today.” As Nikki Newman went from impoverished stripper to resourceful, vivacious heroine—with m