Sinatra family, music world mourns Miller’s death

The Frank Sinatra family and the music world is mourning the death of pianist-accompanist Bill Miller. He died July 11 in Montreal General Hospital. Miller was 91.

The nickname of ‘Sun Tan Charlie’ was given him by Frank Sinatra, Sr. as Miller shunned the sunlight and was a noticeably pale counterpart to the always tanned Sinatra on stage. He joined Sinatra’s band in 1951 and was with him 46 years until Sinatra’s final performance in 1995. He was in retirement until 1998 when Frank Sinatra Jr. asked him to join his orchestra and he continued to work and tour with Sinatra Jr. until he suffered a broken hip July 1, during the Frank Sinatra Jr. and Terry Woodson Orchestra engagement at the Casino Montreal in Canada (where they continue to play their engagement).

Miller entered the hospital for hip surgery but suffered a heart attack and was in recovery after heart surgery. His daughter Meredith and Frank Sinatra Jr.’s personal assistant John Pizza were at his side. He is also survived by a grandson, Jesse.

A heartbroken Frank Sinatra Jr. reported the news of Miller’s death to me, knowing I’d seen and heard Miller play with both Sinatras over the years. “He taught us all a lot of music,” said Frank Jr. “And he was the greatest living authority on Frank Sinatra music. I brought him out of retirement six months after my father had died and he never stopped playing for me until now. I first met him when I was seven years old. [Sinatra Jr. is now 62] He was sharp as a tack until the moment he died. When he was being wheeled into the operating room he said, ‘Fly Me to the Moon.’ This is a very dark hour for us all. We cried together.”

Nancy Sinatra Jr. echoed the family’s grief. She had known Bill Miller since her teen years. “I can’t remember a time when Bill Miller was not in our lives.” She recalled being accompanied by Miller during her father’s show at the Fontainebleau hotel in Miami when she’d just returned from Vietnam. “I sat on the piano bench with him and sang ‘My Buddy.’”

Nancy Jr. is now working on an album with big band soundtracks she found in her library. She’s now restoring them. Jeff Morrison continues as Sinatra Jr.’s regular accompanist in his portion of the show.

Bill Miller will be laid to rest alongside his late wife Aimee and a memorial will be held when the Frank Jr. and the orchestra return from their road tour next month.

Want to read more articles like this one? SUBSCRIBE TO VARIETY TODAY.
Post A Comment 22

Leave a Reply

22 Comments

Comments are moderated. They may be edited for clarity and reprinting in whole or in part in Variety publications.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

  1. Kranton says:

    The Best.
    Its the second time.
    Its the second time.
    Super!
    Its the second time.
    Thanks.

  2. Kranton says:

    Sample design…
    This is super.
    Glad to see other.
    It’s vonderful.
    And my grandpa is a train finatic.
    It’s fine.

  3. Hubert says:

    I really enjoyed your page.
    Its the second time.
    Ok! Best regards!
    It’s vonderful.
    And includes a wealth of information.
    Is cool and to say hello.

  4. Max says:

    Super!
    Fine!
    It’s fine.
    Looks interesting.
    This is super.
    Super!

  5. Cruger says:

    Best site!
    I visited your web site.
    I visited your web site.
    Glad to see other.
    I really enjoyed your page.
    It’s vonderful.

  6. Max says:

    Ok! Beautyful.
    It is very creative.
    Best site!
    Glad to see other.
    I really enjoyed your page.
    Moon Freddie.

  7. Rupert says:

    Looks interesting.
    Glad to see other.
    Super!
    I really enjoyed your page.
    Fine!
    Glad to see other.

  8. Dimos says:

    Moon Freddie.
    It is very creative.
    Ok! Beautyful.
    Glad to see other.
    It’s vonderful.
    Thanks.

  9. Erman says:

    Fine!
    And my grandpa is a train finatic.
    Its the second time.
    The Best.
    It’s vonderful.
    Sample design…

  10. Mungo says:

    Super!
    Moon Freddie.
    This is super.
    Moon Freddie.
    Glad to see other.
    Moon Freddie.

  11. An integrated, segregated society is better

  12. Help the homeless down the street and persuade them to look for work

  13. Sex offenders should be, should not be castrated

  14. Blame the parents of a murderer parents for the crime

  15. I haven’t been up to much recently, but whatever. I just don’t have much to say lately. Basically nothing happening to speak of. So it goes. My mind is like a complete blank. Such is life.

  16. I feel like a fog, not that it matters. I’ve pretty much been doing nothing , but eh. Today was a loss. I haven’t gotten much done for a while.

  17. I haven’t been up to much lately. Eh. I just don’t have anything to say right now. I’ve pretty much been doing nothing worth mentioning. That’s how it is. I haven’t gotten anything done.

  18. Blame the parents of a murderer parents for the crime

  19. My life’s been basically boring recently. I’ve basically been doing nothing to speak of. That’s how it is. I just don’t have much to say recently. Oh well.

  20. charlie barrett says:

    Has anyone read the new book UNDER MY SKIN from Julie Sinatra, Mr. Frank Sinatra’s “mystery daughter”???
    It’s a great read.

  21. Nadia Muller says:

    I own the baby grand piano that Bill Miller used to accompany Frank Sinatra while he lived in New York in the ’50s. Anyone interested??

  22. maureen says:

    What an amazing, talented man was Bill Miller. Playing piano until 91. Fabulous, inspiring…

More Voices News from Variety

Loading