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JP Miller


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J.P. Miller was a leading playwright during the Golden Age of Television, receiving three Emmy nominations. A novelist and screenwriter, he was best known for DAYS OF WINE AND ROSES, directed by John Frankenheimer, and for PLAYHOUSE 90 (1958), which was later adapted into a motion picture (1962) directed by Blake Edwards. Miller’s career began when he sold his first story to “Wild West Weekly” at the age of seventeen. While attending Rice University in the late 1930s, he became a part-time reporter for the “Houston Post.” Miller’s first script for television was “The Polecat Shakedown,” a thirty-minute drama for about a man who blackmailed restaurants by injecting a foul-smelling substance into eggs. When this drama was televised, Miller immediately quit his job as a salesman to write full time. In 1954 he had five plays produced on live television. Scripting during the early years of live television, his first notable success came February 13, 1955, with “The Rabbit Trap,” about a man who works in Long Island City at a construction firm where he is bullied by his boss. Miller’s teleplays were staged on Kraft Television Theatre and The Philco Television Playhouse, followed by “Producers’ Showcase” (1955), “Playwrights ’56” (1956), and “Playhouse 90” (1958-59). He did his LSD drama, “The People Next Door,” for CBS Television Playhouse (1968). However, Miller received the most acclaim for DAYS OF WINE AND ROSES, which was prompted by his notion to dramatize Alcoholics Anonymous meetings (which were something of a mystery in the early 1950s). The drama was telecast October 2, 1958, on Playhouse 90 and was nominated for an Emmy in the category “Best Writing of a Single Dramatic Program – One Hour or Longer.” Miller’s theatrical films include “The Rabbit Trap” (1959), “The Young Savages” (1961, with Edward Anhalt), “Days of Wine and Roses” (1962) and “Behold a Pale Horse” (1964). In 1970, Dell published “The People Next Door” when the movie adaptation was released that year. His TV movies include “Helter Skelter” (CBS, 1976), for which he won an Edgar Award. He was a member of the Writers Guild of America, West. In addition to poetry and short stories, Miller wrote four novels. “The Race for Home” (Dial, 1968) has a South Texas setting. “Surviving Joy” (Donald I. Fine, 1995) concerns a young boy named Dub Johnson in Depression-era Houston. His other novels are “Liv” (Dial,1973) and “The Skook” (Warner Books, 1984), about a spelunker confronting a cave creature who may or may not be from his own imagination.