Denny Miller: A Tribute

By Chad Owen.

The Edgar Rice Burroughs Collections lost a dear friend and earnest supporter on September 9, 2014.

Denny Miller photosDennis Linn Miller, “Denny” to his friends and fans, was born in 1934 in Bloomington, Indiana. He was discovered first for his athleticism in high school, where famed basketball coach John Wooden offered him a full-ride scholarship to UCLA, and later on Sunset Boulevard by a talent agent, who signed him to MGM in 1958 as a contract player.

Tarzan leapDuring a long and widely varied acting career, he appeared in episodes of television series almost too numerous to list, including M*A*S*H, Gilligan’s Island, The Rifleman, Gunsmoke, Magnum P.I., and The Brady Bunch. He was best well known as a regular on Wagon Train from 1961-64 as the scout, Duke Shannon, as the face of the “Gorton Fisherman” for fourteen years of television commercials, and of course, he famously played Tarzan in 1959’s Tarzan the Ape Man, which brought him into the fold of Burroughs fandom writ large.

Later in life, Denny showcased his vitality and impish sense of humor in his autobiography, Didn’t You Used To Be What’s His Name? by Denny Miller (aka what’s his name), and a book on obesity and exercise entitled Toxic Waist? Know Sweat! He was a regular fixture at fandom cons, joyfully signing autographs and posing for pictures, and was always happy to talk about his past roles, including his time as Tarzan.

Denny and his wife Nancy were also frequent visitors to Louisville and to the Edgar Rice Burroughs Collections in ASC, and he counted Curator Emeritus George McWhorter among his closest friends.

By all of his fans, as well as by us in Archives and Special Collections, he is … and will be … sorely missed.