Character actor Dick Miller, who appeared in The Terminator and Gremlins, among dozens of other movies, died Wednesday in Toluca Lake, Calif. He was 90.
Miller appeared in several films directed by Roger Corman, including 1959’s A Bucket of Blood and 1960’s The Little Shop of Horrors. He later became a favorite of filmmaker Joe Dante, a Corman protégé, who cast Miller in 1978’s Piranha, 1981’s The Howling, both Gremlins films, and The ‘Burbs, among other projects. Miller also appeared in The Terminator and Chopping Mall and was the subject of the 2014 documentary, That Guy Dick Miller.
Dante is among those who have paid tribute to Miller on social media. “I’m devastated to report that one of my best friends and most treasured collaborators has passed away. I ‘grew up’ (kinda) watching Dick Miller in movies from the 50s on and was thrilled to have him in my first movie for Roger Corman,” Dante shared on Twitter. “We hit it off 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! But he leaves behind over 100 performances, a bio & a doc–not bad for a guy who hardly ever enjoyed a starring role.”
Baby Driver director Edgar Wright and Doctor Strange screenwriter and Junkfood Cinema podcast cohost C. Robert Cargill also remembered the actor.
“RIP Dick Miller, surely the king of character actors,” Wright wrote on Twitter. “A friendly, funny face in Gremlins (1&2), Piranha, the original Little Shop Of Horrors, Not Of This Earth, After Hours & my personal beatnik fav, Walter Paisley in ‘A Bucket Of Blood’. Any role of his was cult movie nirvana.”
“Dick Miller was the patron saint of Junkfood Cinema,” wrote Cargill. “Brian (Salisbury, Junkfood Cinema’s other host) and I did an in depth interview with him 5 years ago at the very beginning of JFC. We only had a half hour, but Dick wanted to keep going. Went over an hour. He LOVED talking about films he hadn’t thought about in 40yrs.”