WORLD-OBITS-L ArchivesArchiver > WORLD-OBITS > 2006-07 > 1153665055
From: "Peter_McCrae" <>
Subject: Fw:Re: MILLER: Bill Miller--11/7/2006>USA
Date: Sun, 23 Jul 2006 15:30:55 +0100
BILL MILLER died 11/7/2006
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From: "Peter_McCrae" <>
To: "USA usa obits" <>
Cc: "WDB world obits" <>
Sent: Sunday, July 23, 2006 1:58 PM
Subject: MILLER: Bill Miller--2006>USA
> The piano player who paved Sinatra's way
> The Telegraph.co.uk
> July 22, 2006
> Bill Miller, 1915-2006
> BILL Miller was Frank Sinatra's long-time pianist and closest musical
> adviser, accompanying the legendary singer from 1951 until his last
> performance in 1995.
> Miller was performing in Montreal with Frank Sinatra jnr when he tripped
> in his hotel room and broke his hip two weeks ago. He subsequently had a
> heart attack and has died after heart bypass surgery. He was 91.
> Miller was a featured guest in the younger Sinatra's roadshow, playing 14
> songs a night - including One for My Baby (and One More for the Road), the
> classic saloon song he introduced to Frank snr in the early 1950s - and
> played at his funeral after he, too, died of a heart attack in 1998, at
> age 82.
> Miller had been playing with the younger Sinatra for the past eight years
> after joining him at age 83. "Bill Miller was the greatest accompanist
> that any popular singer ever had," Sinatra jnr said. "All the songs that
> [my father] recorded in those days that became famous, Bill was the man
> who, in essence, introduced them to him.
> "Songs would be submitted and Bill would play them for my father to hear.
> He was there when they were recorded and when they became famous. He would
> perform them on the road with Sinatra.
> "In several of the movies - including Young at Heart and Pal Joey - when
> Sinatra is supposed to be playing the piano, that was Bill Miller you were
> hearing. He knew the music better than anyone."
> Bill Miller was born in Brooklyn, New York, and was largely self-taught at
> the piano. He began performing professionally at bar mitzvahs when he was
> just 16; his business card from those days read "Bill Miller, the Ace of
> By 18 he was playing with Larry Funk, and then such band leaders are Red
> Norvo, Tommy Dorsey, Benny Goodman and Charlie Barnet. In 1951 he was
> playing at the Desert Inn in Las Vegas when songwriter Jimmy Van Heusen
> brought Sinatra to hear him. No longer the idol of the bobby sox set,
> Sinatra was in a slump and ready to make a change in musical direction. He
> liked what he heard in Miller's simple, understated performance.
> When he asked Miller if he would like to work with him on The Frank
> Sinatra Show on CBS, the pianist replied: "Yeah."
> In 1953 the crooner appeared in the movie From Here to Eternity,
> delivering a powerful performance that earned him the Oscar for best
> supporting actor and boosted him back into the limelight.
> Except for a few years starting in 1978, when the two had a falling out,
> Miller was at his side for four decades as accompanist and sometimes as
> conductor and musical director.
> Sinatra, who did not read music, relied on Miller to articulate his wishes
> to his arrangers.
> "In rehearsals, he [Sinatra] usually knew what he wanted," Miller recalled
> in 1998, "and he was always open to suggestions. But he didn't know
> musical terms. He'd say 'I hear cellos here' but he couldn't explain why.
> So occasionally I had to be a secretary between him and the arranger."
> When tragedy struck Miller in 1964, Sinatra was by his side. A flood
> washed away his home in Burbank, carrying with it Miller, his wife, Aimee,
> and daughter, Meredith, then 16.
> Meredith made it to the top of a hill and Miller was discovered hanging
> onto a car, but Aimee wasn't found until the next night. Sinatra
> identified her body.
> When Miller awoke in a hospital, he saw the singer standing by his bed.
> "Frank said, 'If it's any consolation, there wasn't a mark on her."'
> Miller said later: "It wasn't any consolation."
> Miller, who never remarried, is survived by Meredith and a grandson.