September 12, 2014
Six-feet four inch tall leading man Denny Miller, best known as Duke Shannon in the 1950s Western series “Wagon Train” has died at the age of 80, at his home in Las Vegas. He was born in Bloomington, Indiana, where his father, Ben Miller, was a physical education instructor at Indiana University.
Being very tall and athletic, he played basketball almost from the day they were born, friends say. The Miller family left Bloomington when Denny was in the fourth grade. He and his brother played basketball in Silver Spring, Maryland, and Baldwin, New York, before the family moved to Los Angeles.
It was at University High School in Los Angeles where Denny and Kent came to the attention of coach John Wooden. They were given full-ride scholarships to UCLA. Which eventually led to Denny being discovered on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood by a talent agent, who quickly signed him with MGM.
His first role was a bit part in “Some Came Running” in 1958. Denny once said in an interview, “I was the only one who came running. I came running to tell Dean Martin that somebody was in town to shoot him!”
He soon became the first blond Tarzan in “Tarzan, the Ape Man” in 1959. He found his studio contract very short-lived, as Hollywood studios were changing in that era, and it has been previously recorded that his contract lasted for 20-months, and he spent only two of those months as Tarzan.
But he became a prolific actor on TV, which included stints on “Dallas,” “Fantasy Island,” “Hart to Hart,” “The Fall Guy,” “Vega$,” “M*A*S*H,” “Knight Rider,” “Voyagers,” “Murder She Wrote,” “Magnum PI,” “Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman,” “Simon and Simon,” “Charlie’s Angels,” “The Incredible Hulk,” “The Rockford Files, “Battle Star Galactica,” “Barnaby Jones, “Wonder Woman,” “Quincy, M.E.,” “Alice,” “Canon,” “The Six Million Dollar Man,” “McCloud,” “The Brady Bunch,” “Gunsmoke,” “Ironside,” “Hawaii Five O,” “The Fugitive,” amongst dozens of other spots.
Though it was the Westerns that gave him the most fame. In particular, “Wagon Train.” These past decades Denny and his beautiful wife Nancy have traveled the country meeting fans, and in 2007, he received a plaque at the “LITTLE HOLLYWOOD WALK OF FAME,” in Kanab, Utah, which is sponsored by Utah’s Western Legends Committee.
He later found a career as a teacher of relaxation.
No details about his memorial were given at press time.
MILLER, Denny (Dennis Linn Miller)
Born: 4/25/1934, Bloomington, Indiana, U.S.A.
Died: 9/9/2014, Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S.A.
Denny Miller’s westerns – actor:
Northwest Passage (TV) – 1958 (Ranger Cooper)
Overland Trail (TV) – 1960 (Jimmy/Nicky Michaels)
Have Gun – Will Travel (TV) – 1960 (Svenska)
Riverboat (TV) – 1960 (The Dublin Boy)
Laramie (TV) – 1960 (Toby, Wilkie)
The Rifleman (TV) – 1960 (Reuben Miles)
Stagecoach West (TV) – 1961 (Dunn)
The Deputy (TV) – 1961 (Bill Jason)
Wagon Train (TV) 1961-1964 (Scott Miller)
Death Valley Days (TV) – 1968 (Tommy)
The High Chaparral (TV) – 1968 (Kolos)
The Virginian (TV) – 1971 (Joe Terry)
Gunsmoke (TV) – 1971 (Lijah)
Buck and the Preacher – 1972 (Floyd)
Dusty’s Trail (TV) – 1974 (Butch)
Young Maverick (TV) – 1979 (Clancy Flannery)
Outlaws (TV) – 1987
Bordertown (TV) – 1989, 1990 (Obediah Winslow, Vince Stockard)
Lonesome Dove: The Series (TV) – 1994-1995 (Sherriff Owen Kearney)
Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman (TV) – 1996 (Noah McBride)
Hell to Pay – 2005 (Horace)