WESTWOOD, Calif. - Legendary adult director/producer and AVN Hall-of-Famer Dick Miller (real name Richard Mills) passed away Saturday on the eve of his 63rd birthday. The cause of death is listed as a self-inflicted gunshot wound, an apparent suicide. Miller had been struggling with professional setbacks as well as an escalation of the effects of Myasthenia Gravis, the neuro-muscular disease that he suffered with for several years.
In the adult entertainment industry, Miller directed movies under the nom de porn Richard Mailer. Miller was best known as the founder/owner of Island Home Video which later became Intropics Video, after which he acquired Soho Video. Most recently Miller chose the life of an expatriate, spending the last decade in Prague, Czech Republic where he directed and produced movies that had been distributed by many of the leading manufacturers including Wicked Pictures. He also created Blue Lights View, a gay video label distributed by Pulse Distribution.
An orphan since childhood, Miller spent his formative years in foster homes. As a young adult living in Minnesota, he enrolled in the military. His work in the adult industry spanned over four decades. While he had no immediate family, Miller was one of the most beloved figures in the business. His circle of friends was extensive and well-established, both in the United States and Czech Republic. Miller will be remembered as an erudite raconteur, bon-vivant, itinerant Elvis Presley and Bruce Springsteen fan and avowed lifelong bachelor.
Miller's many friends and associates in the adult industry expressed shock and sadness at his passing.
"I am completely devastated," said AVN founder Paul Fishbein. "I lost a close member of my family. All of the photographs I found on his digital camera were of my daughter and wife. He wanted to show everyone I knew in Prague pictures of my kid. I can't even believe we're talking about this."
"He was one of my best friends," said Howie Klein of Blue Vanities. "He was such a loved guy. I wish that he loved himself as much as everybody loved him. It's a tremendous shock and a loss for me. I'm really speechless; I don't know what to say. He was a dear, dear friend; I'm gonna miss him, and my family's gonna miss him."
Metro's Christian Mann spoke of his close friendship with Miller.
"Dick and I became friends in 1982, united by our mutual love of culture," said Mann. "We stayed in touch through the years. He hosted us on our trips to Prague. I had lunch with Dick two weeks ago and we spent two hours alone blathering away as was our custom. I'm choosing to focus on the memories of Dick's well-known lust-for-life. While I'm alternately saddened and angered about the nature of his departure and the impact on those left behind, I want to accept his dignity of choice. Dick used to say to me: 'You cannot tell a man about his heart.' He was right about that."
Vinnie DeStefano, another good friend, spoke to Miller during the week before his death.
"He always had a good heart, he had a great sense of humor, but you know, he was just disgusted with life," he said. "He was suffering more and more. I had lunch with him during the week, and I just felt that he was going to commit suicide. I told him this Friday morning, 'You know, there's not many people have as many friends as you do.' But Dick was suffering for years."
Miller had been visiting in the United States since May attending to business and personal issues. Dick Miller is survived by a who's-who of adult industry giants, a testament to his enduring friendships and infectious personality.
Details about funeral services are forthcoming.