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George Trumbull Miller, the director of The Man From Snowy River and The NeverEnding Story II: The Next Chapter, has died of a heart attack. He was 79.
The Sydney Morning Herald reported the news of the Australian filmmaker’s death on Saturday. No details of the day he died have been shared at this time.
Miller rose to prominence in the 1980s with his massive hit The Man From Snowy River, starring Kirk Douglas. To this day, the Western still has a place on Australia’s list of top 20 grossing films of all time in unadjusted terms. It made $17.2 million locally then, which equals about $68 million in today’s world.
After becoming one of his home country’s most commercially successful filmmakers, the Scottish-born director made his way to Hollywood, where he helmed The NeverEnding Story II, Christmas movie In the Nick of Time and family movie Zeus and Roxanne, among others.
According to his son, Harvey Miller, the film he treasured the most from his decades-spanning career was one that didn’t do very well at the box office but has since become somewhat of a cult classic: Les Patterson Saves the World. It followed two eccentric characters, both played by Barry Humphries, who try to prevent a bioterror disease from spreading through toilet seats.
“That was the film he was most proud to show us,” his son, Harvey Miller, told the publication. “He never sat us down as kids and said, ‘Watch The Man From Snowy River.’ He just made us watch Les Patterson Saves the World.”
Miller came up in the industry at the same time as his fellow Australian director, Dr. George Miller, who went on to helm the Mad Max franchise.
“A few times I received his mail by mistake,” Dr. George Miller recalled to the Sydney Morning Herald. “When The Man From Snowy River hit the screens, a group of my mum’s friends congratulated me for making such a lovely film. ‘So much better than that Mad Max.'”
Over the course of his career, Miller also worked on series like Homicide, Division 4, Matlock Police, The Box, The Sullivans and Against the Wind.
According to the Australian newspaper, the final film he helmed was 2009’s Prey, starring Natalie Bassingthwighte, but after a dispute with the producers, he demanded his name be removed. Instead, Oscar D’Roccster is credited as the director.
Miller is survived by his son, Harvey Miller.
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