Randall Miller – Early Life
Randall Miller grew up in Pasadena, California the son of two politically liberal doctors. His mother, Leona Miller, was an internist and professor at USC County Medical Center and President of the Diabetes Association. His father, Alexander Miller, was a Professor at UCLA in Micro-Biology after completing his graduate studies at Cal Tech in Pasadena.
Randall played football and soccer in high school garnering all-league and all-state honors in both. On his Polytechnic high school football team, Randall was a captain and played the defensive linebacker; on offense he was a tight end and was the placekicker as well. He often scored points on offense and defense as he took his tiny eight-man football team to the state championships only to lose in the finals. While at high school, Randall also acted in plays and took part in the high school musicals. After high school, Randall attended UC Davis where he studied Bio Chemistry with the idea that he would follow his parents into medicine. While at Davis, one of the classes that he excelled in was Enology (the study of wine and wine production); Randall would later use some of what he learned when he wrote and directed Bottle Shock.
At UC Davis Randall auditioned and took parts in theater productions. It was there where he caught the acting bug. Between his sophomore and junior year of university study he studied acting with Milton Katselas at the Beverly Hills Playhouse. While in Los Angeles he got a theatrical and commercial agent and began booking television national commercials for such products as Kleenex, Miller Beer, Budweiser, Chilis, Michelob and Coca Cola. Randall joined SAG at 19 years of age and has worked on and off ever since as an actor. On the television and movie side, he booked roles in Highway to Heaven, Cheers and Throw Momma From The Train. Randall transferred to UCLA so that he could continue auditioning and taking his acting classes at Beverly Hills Playhouse. He started writing plays and one acts and it was one of his plays, FRIGIDAIRE, which he later performed at the Beverly Hills Playhouse, which caught the attention of Bob Zemeckis who was married at the time to Mary Ellen Trainor, a fellow student at the playhouse. As a result of FRIGIDAIRE being produced professionally, Randall joined the Dramatists Guild. Zemeckis suggested that Randall finish his studies at USC School of Cinema, and Zemeckis, offered to write a letter of recommendation.
Randall credits Zemeckis’ letter with garnering him acceptance to the USC Cinema School where he studied film and directing. While at USC, FRIGIDAIRE, Randall’s play that he had mounted at the Beverly Hills Playhouse, was made into an award-winning thesis film. Randall acted in that short film which he wrote and was directed by Terilyn Shropshire. He continued his graduate studies in film at AFI. It was at AFI that Randall wrote and directed MARILYN HOTCHKISS’ BALLROOM DANCING AND CHARM SCHOOL that launched his professional career and landed him the prestigious CAA as his writing and directing agent. MARILYN HOTCHKISS’ (the short film) garnered 18 international film awards, a Cine Golden Eagle and a FOCUS award for best film and best film editing.
MARILYN HOTCHKISS told a semi-autobiographical tale of a boy in Pasadena who was sent to Charm School. Randall attended Dorothy Gallotz Cotillion Dance Classes on only one occasion, but that one night shaped his memory indelibly. The film featured sixty kids ranging from 8 to 12 and was narrated by Academy Award winner William Hurt. During his time at USC and later at AFI, Randall continued to act in movies and television and book commercials, “Acting in commercials was how I paid for film school.” It was at film school at AFI that he met and became romantically involved with Jody Savin. Jody was a second year Writing Fellow who had watched many Directors come through the program. When she saw Randall’s first short film, the crowd-pleasing MR. WONDERFUL, a fluff piece about a man dating three women simultaneously, she marched up to him immediately after the screening and said “You have so much talent, but you are wasting it on drivel!” After the initial shock, Randall and Jody became writing partners as well as boyfriend and girlfriend and began to forge a career together as screenwriters and creative partners.
How It All Began Professionally
It was at the AFI student showcase screening of the short film MARILYN HOTCHKISS’ BALLROOM DANCING AND CHARM SCHOOL that Ed Zwick saw the film and invited Randall to shadow a director on the set of his hit television series THIRTYSOMETHING. When a slot became available, Randall stepped in and was hired to direct an episode of THIRTYSOMETHING. He was not even thirty at the time. Randall joined the DGA at age 27 to direct THIRTYSOMETHING. He directed the pilot for SALUTE YOUR SHORTS in which he cast several children from his award winning short film. SALUTE YOUR SHORTS became a successful series for Nickelodeon and played for years. He directed five episodes of RUNNING THE HALLS on NBC; three episodes of CITY KIDS for ABC and Henson; and PARKER LEWIS CAN’T LOSE for Fox. At the same time as securing television directing jobs, Randall and his writing partner Jody Savin were developing and selling screenplays and television series ideas to networks and studios. PETE, a live action retelling of the Pinocchio tale, was sold to Disney Studios through Adelson/Baumgarten productions. Randall and Jody were signed to a three-picture writing deal at Disney Studios. Randall joined the WGA as well on the Disney job. Producer Alberto Grimaldi and Salvatore Alabiso optioned MARILYN HOTCHKISS BALLROOM DANCING AND CHARM SCHOOL with the idea to make the short film into a feature length film with Randall directing.
Randall and Jody finally married in 1999 after Jody’s mother was diagnosed with a rare brain cancer. She died the night of their wedding. Randall and Jody have two children. They live in Pasadena, not far from where Randall grew up. The children both attend the same school that Randall did as a child. Randall’s mother and father have both passed
Film and Television Career
- Thirtysomething (1990) TV Series
- Parker Lewis Can’t Lose (1990) TV Series
- “Salute Your Shorts” (1991) TV Series
- Class Act (1992)
- Northern Exposure (1992) TV Series
- “CityKids” (1993) TV Series
- “Running The Halls” TV Series, 5 episodes (1993)
- Houseguest (1995)
- The 6th Man (1997)
- H-E Double Hockey Sticks (1999)
- A Tale of Two Bunnies (2000)
- “Dead Last” TV Series, Pilot episode (2001)
- Till Dad Do Us Part (2001)
- Freakylinks (2001) TV Series
- Jack & Jill (2001) TV Series
- Popular (2001) TV Series
- Marilyn Hotchkiss’ Ballroom Dancing and Charm School (2005)
- Nobel Son (2007)
- Bottle Shock (2008)
- CBGB (2013)
- Savannah (2013)