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Jonathan Miller, British Writer, Director and ‘Beyond the Fringe’ Member, Dies at 85

Jonathan Miller, the writer, director and member of iconic British stage revue Beyond the Fringe, has died at 85.

The multi-talented Miller worked across stage and screen as well as in other fields of the arts. His family said Wednesday that he died peacefully at home after a long battle with Alzheimer’s.

After first studying medicine and qualifying as a doctor, the London-born Miller broke into the arts with Beyond the Fringe in the 1960s. Miller appeared alongside Peter Cook, Dudley Moore and Alan Bennett in the revue, which played in the West End and on Broadway.

He was a well-known face on TV in the U.K. and worked in front of and behind the camera, with numerous programs to his credit. These include six of the BBC’s Shakespeare productions, and several documentaries that he wrote and presented for the pubcaster. His later-career TV work included “Atheism: A Rough History of Disbelief” for the BBC. He also appeared on U.S. television, notably on PBS.

Miller started directing operas in the 1970s, a pursuit he carried on for decades. He variously served as an associate director of the National Theatre and The Old Vic. He was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 2002 in recognition for his services to the arts.

Tributes poured in from the people and organizations that worked with Miller or were fans of his. “Baby Driver” director Edgar Wright described Beyond the Fringe as “triuly ground breaking.” The English National Opera said that Miller’s contribution to the arts “was immeasurable,” and the National Theatre called him “a legendary figure across theatre and opera.”

Miller married Rachel Collett in 1959. The couple had two sons and a daughter.

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