87 (passed away Jan. 10th, 2004)
Oct. 22nd, 1916
Shenandoah, Pennsylvania, USA
Sidney Miller's Main TV Roles
Main Movie Roles1997 - A Christmas Carol
1983 - Star 80
1977 - The World's Greatest Lover
1974 - For Pete's Sake
1968 - Yours, Mine and Ours
1962 - Experiment in Terror
1952 - The Sniper
1942 - Private Buckaroo
1942 - Mr. Wise Guy
1941 - Life Begins for Andy Hardy
1941 - Babes on Broadway
1940 - Strike Up the Band
1940 - City for Conquest
1940 - Little Nellie Kelly
1939 - Babes in Arms
1939 - Andy Hardy Gets Spring Fever
1938 - Boys Town
1934 - Our Daily Bread
1932 - Three on a Match
Guest TV Roles
Man in Sewer
(segment "Love and the Old-Fashioned Father") (Voiced)
Sidney Miller was born Sydney L. Miller in Shenandoah, PA, on October 22, 1916, the son of Polish immigrants who already had two daughters. When Sydney was 14 his father, a tailor, sold his business and moved the family to Los Angeles. There Sydney got the acting bug, and his first film was an uncredited bit part in Penrod and Sam (1931). He worked steadily, although uncredited, over the next few years, his persona that of a brash and somewhat annoying street kid. His persistence paid off, though, and in 1933 he got his first screen credit (changing his first name from "Sydney" to "Sidney"). His big break came in 1938 when he starred opposite Mickey Rooney (I) in Boys Town (1938) in which, unlike many of Rooney's colleagues, Sidney actually got along well with the star and the two became friends. Miller had an innate musical talent and soon was writing lyrics for Rooney's musical compositions. He often worked in front of or behind the cameras in many of Rooney's films in the 1930s. His musical work continued after Rooney joined the army during World War II, and his career began to shift from mainly acting to mainly songwriting.
In the late 1940s he worked extensively in radio and wrote the musical material for the nightclub acts of several Hollywood song-and-dance men, such as 'Donald OConnor (Miller also worked onstage with O'Connor at times). O'Connor was picked to host the early television variety series "The Colgate Comedy Hour" (1950), and Miller went along as part of the show's writing team. After his stint on that show ended, he joined Walt Disney Studios, where he wrote, directed and composed music for many of Disney's TV series, including "The Mickey Mouse Club" (1955), for which Walt Disney wanted a complete revamping after the first season, and told Miller to change the show to appeal more to teenagers than to the very young children at which it was originally aimed. Miller brought in new writers and choreographers, gave the Mousketeers more musical numbers and comedy skits and turned the show into a sort of mini-variety show. Although that was what Walt Disney wanted, it didn't go over particularly well with the audience, and the numbers for the show went down. In addition, Miller could be somewhat abrasive as a director, which caused some friction on the set among the cast. Although there was talk of Miller directing a remake of Babes in Toyland (1934) at Disney in 1957, that film wasn't made until four years later (Babes in Toyland (1961)) and was directed by former song-and-dance man and choreographer Jack Donohue, as Miller had left Disney by that time.
Sidney Miller may well best be remembered for having directed Lou Costello (I)'s only starring film after his break-up with Bud Abbott, The 30 Foot Bride of Candy Rock (1959), which unfortunately didn't do the careers of either man much good. In the 1960s he directed many television series episodes, such as "My Favorite Martian" (1963), "Get Smart" (1965) and "The Addams Family" (1964) and played small parts in several films and TV shows. In the 1970s his onscreen output declined and he did much voice-over work in animated series.
Married three times, he is the father of actor Barry Miller (I) with first wife Iris Burton. Sidney Miller passed away in Los Angeles from Parkinson's Disease on January 10, 2004.
- Father of actor 'Barry Miller (I)' (qv).
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