Veteran Warner Bros. TV casting topper Barbara Miller — who helped launch the careers of thesps such as George Clooney and Jaleel White — is retiring after more than 30 years in the biz.
Miller joined WBTV in 1976 (when it was Lorimar) and has been senior VP of casting for the studio for most of that run.
There’s no official word on Miller’s replacement, but industry insiders said WBTV is in talks with veteran casting agent Mary V. Buck of Buck/Edelman about taking the post.
During her tenure at the studio, Miller has overseen casting for a slew of landmark skeins including “Friends,” “ER,” “Dallas,” “The West Wing,” “Knots Landing,” “Family Matters,” “Murphy Brown” and “The Drew Carey Show.”
“Leaving Warner Bros. is really bittersweet,” Miller said. “This has been my home for so many years and I have worked with many extraordinary people, whom I will greatly miss.”
Miller a ‘legend’
WBTV prexy Peter Roth called Miller “a legend in the casting world.””She is responsible for launching the careers of many actors during her tenure at Warner Bros.,” he said. “On behalf of the entire studio, we thank Barbara for all of her contributions.”
CBS topper Leslie Moonves, who worked with Miller when he ran WBTV, said he was saddened to hear of her retirement.
“She was as fine a casting executive as I’ve ever seen,” Moonves told Daily Variety. “She never once gave me a bad steer on any actor in any project.”
Indeed, Moonves said he often turned to Miller for advice — and was never let down by her opinion. “If I was unsure — and I said to Barbara, ‘Can they do it?’ — Barbara was never wrong in any single call. I’m sure Warner Bros. will miss her and I will miss her. She was a great executive to work with.”
William Morris Agency talent agent Holly Baril said Miller was “a pioneer in discovering the crossover potential for television actors.”
“It’s with ‘Friends’ and ‘ER’ that actors were able to become successful TV stars and then break through to become film stars,” Baril said. “The floodgates didn’t open until Barbara Miller was there to open them.”
Miller has snagged seven Emmy noms over the years, winning four statuettes for casting. She has also won numerous Artios Awards.
Exec said casting talent has become more difficult over the years as business concerns have taken on greater weight during the series development process.
“It’s not just the creative (skills) that count anymore,” Miller said.