James Miller, Former Warners Exec, Dies at 72

12:41 PM PST 06/19/2014 by Gregg Kilday
Courtesy of Warner Bros.
Jeff Miller

A 20-year veteran of the studio, he specialized in financial transactions like joint ventures, output deals and producer deals.

James R. Miller, who spent 20 years at Warner Bros. as one of the studio’s key executives with a special expertise in motion picture financing, died June 16 in Los Angeles. He was 72.

Miller, who started his career at United Artists, joined Warners as vp studio business affairs in 1979 and was promoted to senior vp, worldwide business affairs, then executive vp business and acquisitions and ultimately president of Warner Bros. theatrical business operations. He specialized in structuring joint ventures, output deals and production agreements.

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Miller is credited with overseeing such deals as the studio’s long-term relationship with Village Roadshow, its deal with PolyGram to acquire Castle Rock and an agreement between Warners and Arnon Milchan's Regency Enterprises. He also was responsible for negotiating and overseeing producer deals with Jerry Weintraub, Joel Silver and Jon Peters.

“Jim was an extraordinary executive, and the way Warner Bros. approaches deals today reflects the creativity and strategic thinking he instilled during his long tenure at the studio,” Bob Daly, president of Rulemaker Inc. and former Warners chairman and CEO, said.

Miller left Warners in 2000 to assume a shared role as chairman and CEO of Bel-Air Entertainment, a co-venture between Warners and Canal Plus. Following that, he served as CEO of Wild Brain Animation Co. In 2008, he joined Stereo Pictures 3-D as a partner. 

He is survived by his wife Lisa, sons Julius and Michael and brother Daniel.

Burial services will be held Friday, June 20 at 2 p.m. at Mt. Hebron Cemetery in Flushing, N.Y.  A memorial service will be held Wednesday, June 25 at 10 a.m. at Sinai Temple, 10400 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles. In lieu of flowers, his family asks that donations be made to Wilshire Boulevard Temple, 3663 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90010 or to a charity of your choice.

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