Thomas L. Miller Dead: “Family Matters”, producer of “Full House” was 79 years old

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During a career that spanned seven decades, the production companies he co-founded developed other iconic sitcoms like “Happy Days”, “Perfect Strangers”, “Mork & Mindy”, “Laverne & Shirley” and “Step by Step”.

Thomas L. Miller, the legendary television producer behind iconic sitcoms like Happy Days, Family issues, Full house, Mork & Mindy, Laverne and Shirley, Perfect strangers and Step by step, is dead. He was 79 years old.

Miller died on Sunday in Salisbury, Connecticut, of complications from heart disease, said his family and 40-year-old partner Robert L. Boyett. A private burial will take place in his hometown of Milwaukee.

In a career spanning seven decades, Miller co-founded the television production companies Miller / Boyett Productions, Miller / Boyett / Warren Productions and Miller-Milkis Productions, which were responsible for some of the most popular shows, respectively. appreciated and best rated in the 1970s., 80s and 90s.

His series usually didn’t win the Emmy Awards, but it didn’t bother Miller, he said in a 1990 interview with the Los Angeles Times.

“Our reward is that 30 million people are watching,” he said. “For me, the goal is to entertain. And if you do an 8 hour show, it means you’re also trying to make them smart, you’re making them tell a story that doesn’t necessarily have a preaching ethic, but something there so it isn’t bad thing if you look at it. The fact that these [shows] not winning a prize means nothing to me if we continue to please so many people. “

On Twitter, Happy Days stars Ron Howard and Henry Winkler paid tribute to Miller. Howard I called him “Kind, intelligent and witty” and believing in his capacity to make films one day, while Winkler wrote that the executive “gave me, with its partners, my life in Hollywood”.

Born August 31, 1940, Miller attended Nicolet High School in Glendale, Wisconsin, before graduating in liberal arts from the University of Wisconsin in Madison in 1962.

A lifelong film and television fan, he moved to Los Angeles to work in the entertainment industry and got his start in Hollywood working for his idol, Billy Wilder. The filmmaker hired Miller as a dialogue coach, and their four years together included work on classic films Irma the sweet (1963) and The fortune cookie (1966).

Miller said he learned a lot from Wilder, and the Oscar-winning director continued to have a huge creative influence on him for the rest of his career. The two remained friends until Wilder’s death in 2002.

Miller’s television career began as an assistant to William Self at 20th Century Fox, where they co-created the comedy ABC Nanny and the teacher. He then moved to Paramount Studios to become VP Development, where he oversaw the programming of comedy and drama series and original television movies. In his time at Paramount, Miller developed shows such as The strange couple and Love, American style, as well as nearly 20 TV movies.

He left a promising career as a television executive to establish himself as a producer. Miller co-founded his first production company with his partner Edward K. Milkis in 1969 with an agreement with Paramount. For ABC, Miller-Milkis Productions developed, with Garry Marshall, comedies Happy Days, Laverne and Shirley, Mork and Mindy and Joanie loves Chachi, among many others. The company also produced the legal drama series Petrocelli for NBC. Miller-Milkis also produced the successful feature films Silver Streak (1976) and Cheating (1978).

In 1979 Miller and Boyett formed Miller / Boyett Productions and started a 40-year partnership. The couple co-created the comic series Bosom buddies and Angie. In the mid-1980s, the company signed an agreement with Lorimar Television and produced a multitude of family sitcoms, including The Hogan family, Full house and Perfect strangers. They also produced the musical film Burt Reynolds-Dolly Parton The best little brothel in Texas (1982) for Universal.

Miller / Boyett partnered with producers William Bickley and Michael Warren to develop many of the shows that underpinned ABC’s “TGIF” Friday comedy series in the 1980s. All four were behind audience such as Full house (with Jeff Franklin), Perfect strangers and its derivative series Family questions, step by step and much more.

In 1996 Miller and Boyett officially joined forces with Warren to create Miller / Boyett / Warren Productions, which produced the final seasons of Family issues and Step by step and developed comedy Meego for CBS. In 1998 Miller and his partners developed their latest original series, ABC’s Two of a kind, who played Full house escape stars Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen.

Taking a break from television, Miller moved to New York in 2000 and began working in theater production with Boyett. He won a Tony Award in 2011 for the best game for Battle horse and was nominated in the same category in 2019 for Tootsie. His other Broadway credits included Hillary and Clinton, 13, the next Ms. Doubtfire and the rebirth of Company.

After almost two decades, Miller / Boyett returned to television to serve as the production company for Netflix. Fuller House. the Full house sequel lasted five seasons through this year.

In a press release, Warner Bros. Television Group said that Miller “was born to entertain, imbued with an overwhelming passion and love to bring joy to others through the work of his life. And what a skill set he had. He was both thoughtful and tasteful. , an extremely talented writer and a very successful producer whose many successful series will long live in the collective memory of fans around the world. Everyone at Warner Bros. Television Group and Fuller House he will be sorely missed. “



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