Thomas Miller, Hit-Making TV Producer, Is Dead at 79

Thomas Miller, Hit-Making TV Producer, Is Dead at 79

Thomas Lee Miller was born on Aug. 31, 1940, in Milwaukee to Edward and Shirley Miller. He earned a bachelor’s degree in drama and speech in 1962 at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, then set out for Los Angeles, where he worked for the director Billy Wilder on “Irma la Douce” (1963), “The Fortune Cookie” (1966) and other films.

After four years with Mr. Wilder he developed TV shows at 20th Century Fox, then became a vice president of development at Paramount Studios before embarking on his producing career, founding a production company with Edward K. Milkis. Miller-Milkis Productions joined with Mr. Marshall, who died in 2016, to produce “Happy Days” (which was set in Mr. Miller’s hometown) and “Laverne & Shirley.”

Mr. Boyett eventually joined the group, and in the mid-1980s, after Mr. Milkis’s departure, the company became Miller-Boyett Productions. Miller-Boyett shows, including “Full House” and “Family Matters,” were a key part of ABC’s Friday night sitcom lineup, known as TGIF. Mr. Miller and Mr. Boyett’s most recent TV producing credits were on “Fuller House,” a Netflix sequel to “Full House.”

In 2000 Mr. Miller and Mr. Boyett, his life partner as well as his business partner, relocated to New York, where they were among the producers of a number of Broadway shows, including “Tootsie” last year.

Mr. Miller, who lived in Salisbury, moved to Connecticut with Mr. Boyett in 2007. Mr. Boyett survives him along with a brother, Robert, and a sister, Kitty Glass.

Mr. Miller aimed for shows that didn’t try to deliver a Message with a capital M but did have heart.

“It’s never about lecturing, it’s about entertaining,” he told The New York Times in 1990, ‘’but we always like to have somebody in our shows make some human connections, so the people who watch it say, ‘Yes, I understand that and I like it.’”


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