Harry M. Miller Profile

Rosa Shiels
13 Dec 2018

The news came through first from a family member, and then suddenly the media was flooded with stories about the death of a salesman. Not just any salesman. The spotlight had finally dimmed on Harry M. Miller, 84, the New Zealand-born, Australia-based entrepreneur, impresario, promoter and celebrity agent, and his passing on 4 July 2018 was noted as far away as England.

While there had been little news about him during the last decade, which he had spent in care for dementia, in the five decades previously he was never far from headlines or controversy.

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Harry M Miller in the 2000s. 
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NZ Jazz Trio Plays Exotica, Live at Famous Fagel's, an EP released by Harry M Miller on his La Gloria label, 1959. Fagel's was a sophisticated Auckland restaurant in the late 50s. 
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"Everything comes to him who hustles while he waits" - a NZ Truth story on Harry M Miller, 9 April 1963. At the end of the article Miller says, "Do you know one of the main troubles with New Zealand? It's the 40-hour week."
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Jon English as Judas in the Harry M Miller production of Jesus Christ Superstar, which toured New Zealand in 1975. This was English's breakthrough role, which he began playing in 1972, aged 22, and toured for five years. He died in 2016 aged 66, from complications following heart surgery. 
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Graham “Fluffy” Matters as Berger in Harry M Miller's Australian production of Hair: The American Tribal Love-Rock Musical, early 1970s.
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Back cover of Harry M Miller's Showtime Spectacular album, on the La Gloria label.
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Harry M Miller playing polo, a favourite daytime pastime; 1970s.
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Marcia Hines performing 'Abie Baby' in the Harry M Miller production of Hair, Australia, early 1970s. Hines was 16 when Miller discovered her during auditions in Boston for the Australian cast in 1969. He became her legal guardian until she was 21. She sang ‘I Don’t Know How to Love Him’ at his memorial show in 2018. 
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Harry M Miller presents Showtime Spectacular, an album featuring the Howard Morrison Quartet, Antoni Williams, Bob Paris and more, released on his La Gloria label, 1964. The album was not a live recording of the concerts, but a compilation of singles already released.
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Label from the Harry M Miller Presents Showtime Spectacular album on La Gloria, 1964.
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NZ Jazz Trio plays "Hits from the Shows", a 1959 EP on Harry M Miller's La Gloria label. In between the show tunes the music is interrupted by spoken-word advertisements for the frypans Miller was selling by day. 
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Harry M Miller on his Vespa, possibly in Sydney's CBD, mid-1960s. 
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Programme cover for the Harry M Miller Australian production of Jesus Christ Superstar, early 1970s.
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Advert for Harry M Miller's Jesus Christ Superstar, Capitol Theatre, Sydney NSW.
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Two young but already veterans of promotion: Harry M Miller and Phil Warren in Auckland in the early 1960s.
Photo credit: Simon Grigg collection
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The Fabulous Howard Morrison Quartet - Four Popular Māori Songs EP, La Gloria, 1960.
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Programme from Harry M Miller's Johnnie Ray tour of New Zealand, April 1962. The support acts were New Zealand's leading pop talent of the time: Johnny Devlin, Lyn Barnett, Bob Paris, Ricky May, and Antoni Williams. 
Photo credit: Bernie Allen collection
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Howard Morrison Quartet, My Old Man's An All Black, on Harry M Miller's La Gloria label,recorded live at Showtime Spectacular, Pukekohe Memorial Hall, 1960. Miller claimed he kept the doors locked until the Quartet - and audience - recorded a satisfactory take. 
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Performer profiles on Inia Te Wiata, Ricky May, and Twistin' Tina and Rex, from the Harry M Miller produced Johnnie Ray tour of New Zealand, April 1962.
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Johnny Devlin and Lyn Barnett featured in the programme from the Harry M Miller produced Johnnie Ray tour of New Zealand, April 1962.
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Harry M Miller's second ghost-written memoir, Confessions of a Not-so-secret agent, 2009.
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A page from the Harry M Miller promoted Louis Armstrong tour of New Zealand, 1963, autographed by Satchmo himself.
Photo credit: Chris Bourke collection
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Louis Armstrong checks the small print in this photo from the programme for his 1963 tour of New Zealand, promoted by Harry M Miller. The man in the mirror is Miller; the setting is a dressing room in Reno, Nevada. 
Photo credit: Chris Bourke collection
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Advert for La Gloria label recording artists The Howard Morrison Quartet, Toni Williams, Bob Paris.
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Harry M Miller presents the Rolling Stones in Australia and New Zealand, February-March 1966. While in Auckland, Jagger and Richards allegedly wrote 'Paint it Black' in their hotel room. 
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English-born Trevor White, former vocalist and pianist with British group Sounds Incorporated, played Jesus in the original and subsequent Harry M Miller productions of Jesus Christ Superstar, 1972-75. He and Jon English, as Judas, were the dynamic lynchpins in the show.
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Harry M Miller presents the Johnnie Ray show, New Zealand tour April 1962. With guests Johnny Devlin, Antoni Williams, Lyn Barnett, Ray McGeary, Ricky May, Don Linden, Bob Paris, and dancers Tina and Rex.
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Early Librettos line-up taken while playing in Rotorua, probably at The Ritz. Back row (L to R): Paul Griffin, guest drummer Ray Earle, John England. Front: Rod Stone, Howard Morrison, Roger "Sammy Rogers" Simpson, Harry M. Miller, David Clark. Harry Miller and Howard Morrison were the promoters.
Photo credit: Rod Stone
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Photo of the crowd outside Wellington's St James Theatre - from the back cover of Harry M Miller Presents Showtime Spectacular, an album on his La Gloria label, 1964.
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Showtime Spectacular souvenir programme, featuring the Howard Morrison Quartet, 1962. Also on the bill were Toni Williams and the Keil Isles. 
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Photo booth fun at the Easter Show, Auckland, April 1962. Left column: Johnnie Ray with Harry M Miller; at right, Ray with Bernie Allen.
Photo credit: Bernie Allen collection
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A page from the programme for the 1963 Louis Armstrong tour of New Zealand, promoted by Harry M Miller. In "The Handshake That Made History", Miller and Armstrong seal the deal. 
Photo credit: Chris Bourke collection
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Harry M  Miller presents Eartha Kitt on a New Zealand tour, 1963. 
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The Showtime Spectacular 1963 tour reaches the Opera House, Wellington. On the bill were the Howard Morrison Quartet, Peter Posa, Lyn Barnett, Rusty Greaves, and Max Merritt and his Meteors [sic]. Morrison was annoyed that Miller had let a co-promoter, James Haddleton, organise the tour - while still taking his fee.
Photo credit: Cabot collection, Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, Eph-C-CABOT-Music-1963-01.
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Pot-Pourri was the second Howard Morrison Quartet album for Harry M. Miller's La Gloria label, released in 1960 a mere three weeks after the first, marking the beginning of what was the most prolific series of releases by a New Zealand act ever - 28 singles, 8 EPs and 7 albums in 3 years.
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Harry M Miller and New Zealand keyboardist Barbara Griffin - ex-Holidaymakers - at a party for Miller's 1994 Australia and New Zealand production of Jesus Christ Superstar. Griffin was deputy conductor and keyboardist for the production, which featured several New Zealanders in leading roles: Jay Laga'aia and later Jon Stevens as Judas, and Margaret Urlich as Mary Magdalene. It toured for 18 months, with 60 people on the road.
Photo credit: Gary Verberne
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Ad for Harry M Miller's 1964 Showtime Spectacular live album on the La Gloria label, featuring Howard Morrison, Toni Williams, Bob Paris and more.
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Performer profiles on Toni Williams and Lyn Barnett, from the Harry M Miller presented Johnnie Ray tour of New Zealand, April 1962.
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Rocky Horror Show Australian cast album with Reg Livermore as Frank N Furter - the show was a Harry M Miller production.
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Front cover from the programme for the Harry M Miller promoted Louis Armstrong tour of New Zealand, 1963.
Photo credit: Chris Bourke collection
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