Lawrence John “Larry” Miller is an American character actor, comedian and writer who has featured in over 100 films and television series. His face is one of the most recognizable ones in Hollywood. For a comedian with such a long career, Miller had actually never planned to become one! He trained as a musician and played the drums and piano in night clubs. This is how he got introduced to the comedy club circuit. He gave comedy a shot and his shows became huge hits with the audiences. Miller discovered his flair for comedy and realized this was the career path he should take up. He slowly inched his way into major films and TV shows. Like all great comedians, Miller often improvises his dialogues and scenes which brings spontaneity to his acts. His friendship with Jerry Seinfeld of the famed ‘Seinfeld’ series is legendary. The duo has done live shows together. Miller’s collaboration with actor/director Garry Marshall has given us some memorable scenes in ‘Pretty Woman’ and ‘The Princess Diaries’. Apart from his on-screen appearances, Miller has his own one-man stand-up comedy show and he travels all over the United States doing his act. He has survived a fatal brain injury and now actively supports foundations that work with patients of brain injury.
Childhood & Early Life
Larry Miller was born on October 15, 1953, in New York, USA. His father Milton was an attorney and his mother Marion was a teacher. Miller is Jewish and has mentioned that he has Latvian and Austrian blood through his grandparents.
He did his schooling from Valley Stream Central High School in Long Island, New York. He was voted “wittiest” in his high school yearbook.
A fact that is not commonly known is that Miller is a singer who played the cello, piano and drums as a young man. He went to ‘Amherst College’ in Massachusetts and majored in music.
After his graduation, he worked in New York as a reservation agent for ‘Amtrak’. He also played the drums and piano in night clubs.
It was while working as a musician in night clubs that he decided to give comedy a try. He started doing comedy shows in clubs such as ‘Catch a Rising Star’ and ‘Comic Strip.’ His shows ran to full houses. Miller realized the potential he had as a comedian and gave up his musical career to become a comedian.
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Larry Miller first appeared onscreen in 1982 in an episode of the musical TV show ’Fame’. He played the part of The Emcee.
The year 1990 saw Miller as a Beverley Hills store manager who sucks up to Richard Gere and Julia Roberts in the super hit ’Pretty Woman’. This was his first major role in films. He went on to play similar characters and once remarked that his job was to play ‘stuck up to suck up characters’.
During the mid-1990s, Miller gained a standing as a character artist and a comedian. In 1995, he was part of the main cast in the television comedy series ‘The Pursuit of Happiness’ in which he played Larry Rutledge.
Miller worked with renowned character actor Christopher Guest in many of his mockumentaries. The first one was ‘Waiting for Guffman’ in 1996 where Miller played Mayor Glenn Welsch.
In the 1999 rom-com ’10 Things I Hate About You’, Miller played a single father of two teenaged daughters who has unique notions of parenting. His character is considered as one of the most unforgettable ones in the film.
Miller and comedian Jerry Seinfeld of the ‘Seinfeld’ fame have been lifelong friends. Miller was considered for the role of George Costanza in the sitcom which later went to Jason Alexander. However, he does appear in the show, his first appearance being in 1995 as the devious doorman in the episode ‘The Doorman’.
In the TV series ’Law & Order,’ Miller had played the part of a sleazy club owner Michael Dobson. He made his first appearance in 1994. He appeared in the show again in 2003 as himself.
Miller had a prominent role in the Eddie Murphy starrer movie ’The Nutty Professor’ (1996) as Dean Richmond. He reprised his role in the year 2000 in the sequel ‘Nutty Professor II: The Klumps’.
From 1996 to 1997, Miller had a recurring role in the TV comedy show ‘Life’s Work’ as Mr. Jerome Nash. He did 18 episodes in the series.
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Miller’s rise as a comedian got him many major roles in Hollywood comedies. One of them was as Principal Jindraike in the 2001 film ’Max Keeble’s Big Move’.
Miller had a memorable part in ‘The Princess Diaries’ (2001) as the makeover artist Paolo Puttanesca. He regaled the audiences with his accent and dialogues while performing a makeover miracle on Princess Mia. He reprised his role in the 2004 sequel where he tries to come up with a bridal look.
From 2004 to 2008, Larry Miller had a recurring character role of lawyer Edwin Poole in the legal comedy TV show ‘Boston Legal’.
Miller has also worked as a voice artist. He gave the voice of Clemson in the TV series ‘The Penguins of Madagascar’ from 2011 to 2012. He is the voice of XR in the video game ‘Buzz Lightyear of Star Command’.
’This Week with Larry Miller’ is Miller’s popular podcast. In this weekly podcast, he tells uplifting stories from his own life in his typical gentle and humorous manner.
Miller also performs a highly successful one-man show ’Cocktails with Larry Miller’. He tours various cities in USA with this show in which he talks about marriage, drinking and children.
As a writer, Miller has written for television shows such as ‘Just Words’ (1992), ‘Pros & Cons (1999) and ‘Uncommon Sense’ (2005). He has also been a columnist for ‘The Huffington Post’ and ‘The Weekly Standard’.
Larry Miller published his book ‘Spoiled Rotten America: Outrages of Everyday Life’ in 2006. The book has a collection of 17 humorous essays. It got the ‘Audie Award’ for humor in 2007. The audiobook version of the book has been narrated by Miller himself.
Family & Personal Life
Larry Miller has been married to Eileen Conn since 1993. His wife is a television producer and writer. They have two sons.
In April 2012, Miller fell on a sidewalk, hit the back of his head and suffered a life-threatening injury to his brain. He was kept in a medically-induced coma for a month. He underwent rehabilitation and has since made a full recovery.
The dialogue in ‘Pretty Woman’ where Miller calls out to the other saleswomen ‘Mary Pat, Mary Kate, Mary Francis, Tova’ was an improvisation.