Jason Miller, Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright and Oscar-nominated actor, died May 13 of heart failure in his hometown of Scranton, Penn. He was 62.
Miller gained international renown in 1972 for his widely acclaimed Broadway play “That Championship Season,” which won the New York Drama Critics’ award for best play in 1972, a Tony Award for best play in 1973 and the Pulitzer Prize for drama, as well as fame for his resonant performance as Father Karras in “The Exorcist,” which earned him an Academy Award nomination for best supporting actor.
Since that landmark year, Miller split his time evenly between his two passions: writing and acting. As a playwright, he received numerous accolades for his subsequent plays, including the coal mining epic “Nobody Hears a Broken Drum” and his one-man play, “Barrymore’s Ghost,” which he toured from Pittsburgh to Seattle as both writer and performer.
As an actor, he appeared in such films as “The Exorcist III,” “Light of Day” and “Rudy,” in which he portrayed legendary Notre Dame football coach Ara Parseghian.
After building a career in Hollywood, Miller returned to Scranton in the mid-1980s to pursue his dream of bringing his signature play “That Championship Season” to the bigscreen. With an all-star cast including Martin Sheen, Paul Sorvino and the late Robert Mitchum, he directed and shot much of the film in Scranton. Enamored of the play, Sorvino later directed his own version for Showtime, starring Gary Sinise.
In the late-1980s, Miller took up permanent residence in Scranton as the artistic director of the Scranton Public Theater, where he worked both as an actor and director.
Recently, Miller devoted his time to writing, working on a film script of the life of showbiz great Jackie Gleason for Showtime and “Me and My Old Man,” a play about a father and son, which he was co-authoring with his own son, Joshua.
In addition to Joshua, Miller is survived by his sons Jason Patric and Jordan Miller; and his daughter Jennifer Miller.