Thomas L. Miller, who produced several hit TV comedies over many decades in the business, died April 5 of complications from heart disease in Salisbury, CT. He was 79.
Through the years, Miller produced Full House, Bosom Buddies, Family Matters, Perfect Strangers and Step by Step as co-founder of Miller/Boyett Productions, Miller/Boyett/Warren Productions and Miller-Milkis Productions.
“Thomas Miller was born to entertain, infused with irrepressible passion and love for bringing joy to others through his life’s work,” Warner Bros Television Group said in a statement. “And what a skill set he possessed. He was at once a thoughtful and tasteful executive, an extremely talented writer, and a highly successful producer whose many hit series will live long in the collective memory of fans around the world. Everyone at Warner Bros. Television Group and the Fuller House family will miss him deeply, and we send our love to his longtime partner Bob Boyett and to the Miller family.”
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Born August 31, 1940 in Milwaukee, Miller moved to Los Angeles after college in 1962. His entrée into entertainment came when he became the dialogue coach for legendary film director Billy Wilder.
During his four-year tenure with Wilder, Miller learned the fundamentals of movie-making. Together, they worked on such classic films as Irma la Douce and The Fortune Cookie. Wilder and Miller remained friends until Wilder’s passing in 2002.
Miller next served as assistant in charge of television program development under William Self at 20th Century Fox, where he co-created the comedy series Nanny and the Professor.
Shortly thereafter, he moved to Paramount Studios. There, Miller become VP Development, overseeing the development of television comedy and drama series programming, as well as original movies for TV. At Paramount, he shepherded such classic series as The Odd Couple and Love, American Style.
Miller then left Paramount to become a producer, founding his own company with partner Edward K. Milkis.
Miller-Milkis Productions developed, along with Garry Marshall, such iconic series as Happy Days and its spinoffs Laverne & Shirley and Mork and Mindy.
Miller-Milkis also produced the 1970s features Silver Streak, starring Gene Wilder and Richard Pryor, and Foul Play with Goldie Hawn and Chevy Chase..
Miller went on to co-create the acclaimed comedy Bosom Buddies — which introduced Tom Hanks to the masses — and produced Angie with Robert L. Boyett under their Miller/Boyett Productions banner.
They subsequently produced The Hogan Family, Full House, and the long-running Perfect Strangers as part of a deal with Lorimar Television (later Warner Bros. Television). The duo also produced the 1982 feature The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas for Universal.
In conjunction with producer William Bickley and partner Michael Warren, the duo provided series for the ABC’s Friday comedy “TGIF” lineup, with hits including Family Matters, Step by Step and more.
In 1996, after Miller/Boyett and Bickley/Warren decided to reorganize companies, Boyett and Miller joined forces with Michael Warren to form Miller/Boyett/Warren, producing new comedy series for CBS. The final project produced by the trio was Two of a Kind, starring Full House’s Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen.
Miller moved to New York City in 2000 and started a career as a theater producer, collaborating with Boyett. He won a Tony Award in 2011 for Best Play for War Horse and was nominated in the same category in 2019 for Tootsie. His additional Broadway credits include Hillary and Clinton and 13, as well as the upcoming Mrs. Doubtfire and the revival of Company.
Flash forward to 2016, and Miller and Boyett returned to TV as producers on Fuller House, a Warner Horizon series that debuted on Netflix. The show will conclude this year.
After leaving Los Angeles, Miller relocated to Connecticut, where he lived with his partner of 40 years, Bob Boyett, and their four beloved boxer dogs.
Miller was the son of Edward and Shirley Miller; brother of Robert Miller and Kitty Glass; uncle of Gayle, Jeff and Greg Miller, as well as Lori, Danny and Tracy Glass. A private burial will take place in Milwaukee.
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