You know when you’re watching a movie and there’s that actor who’s face you recognise, but you don’t know his name? Well this blog is a part of a series, dedicated to the greatest of the unknown, the “that guy” actors. When it comes to veteran actors, Dick Miller is among the finest, whose career in and outside of Hollywood has spanned almost 200 films across six decades.
In many of the movies he’s in, he makes an appearance as the character Walter Paisley. My two favourite incarnations of this guy are in the Howling where Walter is a Bookstore Owner, and in Chopping Mall where he’s a janitor who has a one sided conversation with a Robot. Apart from B movie roles, he’s had parts in main stream Tv shows, such as ER, The Flash, Gun smoke, General Hospital, Bonanza, NYPD blue, Clueless, Eerie Indiana, Weird Science, Police Squad and that’s to say a few! He’s been in so many that there is even a movie called “That Guy Dick Miller”.
Whether he’s in a great directors movie or sharing the big screen with a movie star, Dick has been stealing scenes since his debut. Director Joe Dante casts him in pretty much all of his movies, where one of his most memorable roles would be in the original comedy horror Gremlins. Dick plays Murray Futterman the Patriotic war Vet who is a little out of touch with modern times, and as you may already guessed, Dick returns to repeat the role in Gremlins 2.
In the 1978 version of Piranha he plays a sleazy resort owner called Buck Gardner. He has a scene with Robert Picardo as an impatient garbage man in the Burbs. In All the Right Moves, he makes an appearance as the angry teacher in the auditorium. Dick has a quick conversation with Kurt Russell as an Impound Clerk In crime thriller Unlawful Entry. He’s an MP at the start of the action comedy The Dirty Dozen, where Dick and 5 other actors from that film, also had roles in the kids movie Small Soldiers, where he plays the delivery guy Joe.
In the adventure thriller The Hole, he makes an appearance as a pizza delivery man. In the 80s kids sci-fi classic Explorers he’s Charlie Drake the helicopter pilot. In the Comedy Matinee he plays one of the two fake “protesters” who are trying to stir up interest in the movie “MANT”. He makes an appearance as a Grumpy Cop in the comedy horror Burying the Ex. In the action comedy Innerspace he makes his trademark appearance as a nosey Cab Driver. In the comedy Rock ‘n’ Roll High School he’s a random Police Chief. And to finish up, Dick plays Pete the owner of the Diner In Martin Scorsese classic comedy drama, After Hours.
After re-watching a lot of his scenes, it’s clear to me why Miller remains so beloved by his fan base, and why directors love to cast him for all these bit roles. Every scene he’s in is either funny or memorable, his onscreen presence epitomizes what movie fans want, and nothing beats watching compilations of his best scene stealers. So now that you know who he is, when you see his face on the screen, you can say Oh it’s Dick Miller! Thanks for reading, and leave a comment in the comments section down below on which role of Dick’s is your favourite, and if you have any suggestions for more “that guy actors”, please let me know.