Sidney Miller

Active - 1932 - 1992  |   Born - Jan 1, 1922   |   Died - Jan 10, 2004   |   Genres - Comedy, Drama, Musical, Crime, Romance

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Biography by Hal Erickson

American performer Sidney Miller started out as a child actor in such films as Penrod and Sam (1930), The Penguin Pool Murder (1932) and The Mayor of Hell (1933). Miller's pronounced ethnic features precluded stardom in a Hollywood that celebrated blonde, blue-eyed children, but he brought a welcome touch of urbanity to his supporting and minor roles. In 1938, Miller attained one of his better roles as Mo Kahn in Boys Town, in which he acted with his longtime friend Mickey Rooney. Again featured with Rooney in Babes in Arms, an unbilled Miller was allowed to play the piano in accompaniment to Rooney's makeshift stage show and even got to do a couple of celebrity imitations. In the '40s, Miller specialized in portraying nerdish college freshmen (notably in Columbia's Glove Slingers two-reelers) and streetwise intellectuals (as in The East Side Kids' Mr. Wise Guy). He also toured USO bases and hospitals in a pantomime-boxing sketch with fellow child performer Frank Coghlan Jr. With the advent of television, Miller gained a measure of fame as Donald O'Connor's accompanist/cohort in several of O'Connor's TV series and in his subsequent nightclub act. Miller gave up performing briefly in the mid '50s when he assumed the directing chores on the daily TV series Mickey Mouse Club; perhaps due to his own experiences as a child actor, Miller saw to it that the kids were treated professionally but with dignity, and also insisted that stage mothers be banned from the set. Later on in the '60s, Miller directed four grown-up adolescents on several episodes of the music/comedy tver The Monkees. Sidney Miller made an acting comeback in the early '70s with such films as Which Way to the Front? (as Hitler!) and Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex (But Were Afraid to Ask) (1972); Miller was also on hand as director for the syndicated New Mickey Mouse Club in 1977. Sidney Miller was married to Dorothy Green; their son is actor Barry Miller.

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