Harry M. Miller, a showbiz legend Down Under who twice toured the Rolling Stones in the 1960s, promoted shows by the Beach Boys, Ella Fitzgerald and Tom Jones and presented the successful stage productions Jesus Christ Superstar and The Rocky Horror Show in Australia, has died at 84.
Miller passed away peacefully in Sydney on Wednesday (June 4), HMMG (formerly Harry M Miller Group), the agency he founded, said in a statement. “By his side were his long term partner Simmone Logue, daughters Justine, Brook and Lauren and their mother Wendy,” the statement reads.
Miller moved from New Zealand to Australia in 1963 to immerse himself in the fledgling entertainment industry. His career took flight in the late 1960s with the first in a string rock opera productions, Hair, which launched the careers ARIA Hall Famer Marcia Hines, Reg Livermore and John Waters. Hair was followed by Boys in the Band, Grease and The Removalists and, in 1972, Miller had a huge hit on his hands with Jesus Christ Superstar. Two years later, The Rocky Horror Show was a blockbuster for Miller and his team.
The Miller show briefly stopped when he was sent to prison after Computicket, a ticketing company he launched in 1978, went into receivership within six months. In 1982, Miller spent 10 months in Long Bay and Cessnock Correctional Centres following his conviction on five charges fraudulent misappropriation A$728,000 in relation to the company.
The businessman staged a roaring comeback to concert and theatrical productions in 1992 with an arena version Jesus Christ Superstar, organized with Garry Van Egmond. Starring John Farnham, Kate Ceberano, Jon Stevens and Angry Anderson, JCS was a box-fice smash, grossing A$40 million in just 16 weeks and shifting one million tickets. Speaking to Billboard at the time, veteran manager Michael Browning paid tribute to Miller’s business acumen and great sense timing. “He drums up excitement in true impresario fashion and makes everything seem bigger and better than anything else that’s around,” he said.
Miller also guided the careers leading Australian media, sporting and entertainment figures including Deborah Hutton, Alan Jones, Maggie Tabberer and Lindy Chamberlain-Creighton.
After 50 years in the business, Miller retired at the end 2009 and published his memoirs two years later, Harry M Miller: Confessions a Not-So-Secret-Agent. He was diagnosed with dementia in 2011.
Tributes are flowing for the famed celebrity agent, manager and theatrical producer.