ANN MILLER (April 12, 1923-January 22, 2004) was born Johnnie Lucille Ann Collier in Chireno, East Texas, the daughter of Clara Emma Birdwell and John Alfred Collier, a noted criminal attorney who defended the Barrow Gang, Machine Gun Kelly and Baby Face Nelson.
Miller was considered a child prodigy and was hired at 13 as a dancer at the Black Cat Club in San Francisco. Miller lied to get the job, telling management she was 18. Lucille Ball and talent scout Benny Rubin discovered Miller at the Club. She was then given a contract with RKO (she also told Ball and Rubin she was 18). She remained at RKO from 1936-1940. She hit her stride in the later 1940s and early 1950s in her roles in musicals at MGM – “Kiss Me Kate,” “Easter Parade” and “On the Town.”
Her distinctive appearance reflected a studio-era ideal of glamour: massive bouffant hair, heavy makeup and fashions that emphasized her beautiful figure and long dancer’s legs. She starred on Broadway in the musical “Mame” in 1969, in which she wowed the audience in a tap number created just for her. In 1979 she astounded audiences in the Broadway show “Sugar Babies” with veteran actor Mickey Rooney. In 1983 she won the Sarah Siddons Award for her work in Chicago threatre.
Miller died at the age of 80 and was interred in the Holy Cross Cemetery in Culver City, California.
Gorgeous 8” x 10” black and white, full length autograph photograph inscribed to Bob. RKO Studios publicity photograph and a one-page, TLS, April 22,1974, to Ronald. "Thank you so much for your kind letter. I am sorry to hear that you are unable to attend 'Anything Goes.' Please accept the enclosed photo with my best wishes for a happy and successful future."
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