George Trumbull Miller, an Australian film and television director whose most notable credits include “The NeverEnding Story II: The Next Chapter” and “The Man From Snowy River,” died of a heart attack in a hospital in Melbourne. He was 79 years old.
Miller’s death was confirmed by the Sydney Morning Herald. No details regarding a date of death are available at this time.
Miller reached national prominence for his 1982 Western “The Man From Snowy River,” starring Kirk Douglas. The film grossed $17.2 million in Australia and reached more than $20 million worldwide, inspiring a sequel as well as an arena attraction. More than 40 years on, “Man From Snowy River” remains one of the top 20 highest grossing local productions in the history of the Australian box office.
Coincidentally, George T. Miller’s rise as a filmmaker closely paralleled that of his fellow Australian, “Mad Max” director George Miller.
“He was very kind to me,” the “Mad Max” creator told the Sydney Morning Herald, remembering his peer and namesake. “A few times I received his mail by mistake… When ‘The Man From Snowy River’ hit the screens, a group of my mum’s friends congratulated me for making such a lovely film.”
Born in Scotland on Nov. 28, 1947, Miller and his family arrived in Australia when he was four years old. After being raised in Wonthaggi, Miller began working in the mailroom of Crawford Television out of high school. He landed his first job as a cameraman at the age of 21, soon working on “Division 4,” “Matlock Police,” “The Box” and “The Sullivans.”
Miller’s eye drew the attention of Hollywood, where he was tapped to direct the sequel to “The NeverEnding Story,” as well as the Christmas movie “In the Nick of Time” and the family adventure “Zeus and Roxanne.” But his favorite of his own films was “Les Patterson Saves the World,” a 1987 comedy featuring two eccentrics, both played by Barry Humphries, that join forces to prevent a bioterror disease spread through toilet seats.
Miller’s final film came in 2009, with the exploitation film “Prey.” After a dispute with producers, he demanded his name be removed from the final cut. The thriller is credited to Oscar D’Roccster.
Miller is survived by his son, Harvey.