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Virgil Miller

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Virgil Miller
Miller in 1922
Born(1886-12-20)December 20, 1886
Coffeen, Illinois, U.S.
DiedOctober 5, 1974(1974-10-05) (aged 87)
Hollywood, CA., U.S.
Myrtle Bower

Virgil Miller (December 20, 1886 – October 5, 1974) was an American cinematographer who was the director of photography for 157 films between 1917 and 1956.


Born in Coffeen, Illinois, Miller's credits include The Phantom of the Opera (1925), Danger - Love at Work (1937), Mr. Moto Takes a Chance (1938), The Mummy's Curse (1944), Navajo (1952), Crazylegs (1953), and six Charlie Chan films.

Miller published his autobiography, Splinters from Hollywood Tripods, in 1964. Prior to working for Universal Studios and, eventually, most other major studios, Miller was a graduate from and a professor at Kansas State University teaching physics and electrical engineering. In 1913, Miller became the first director and founder of the electrical department of Universal Studios.[1] Best known for being one of the first to use electrical lights to film indoors and at night.[2] In 1915, he filmed on location in San Francisco, California, for the World's Fair; one of the earliest "on location" scenes filmed.[3] He also coordinated very early special effects including filming stampedes, explosions, and shrinking people. He was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Cinematography for the documentary film Navajo in 1952.[4]

Personal life

He was first married to Myrtle Bower. Together they had 5 boys: Joaquin, Wendell, Harlan "Lee", Lauren, and Donald. He and Myrtle divorced and Miller later remarried. He died in Hollywood, California in 1974.

Partial filmography


  1. ^ Virgil E. Miller Movies, New York Times[dead link]
  2. ^ Splinters from Hollywood Tripods
  3. ^ Splinters from Hollywood Tripods
  4. ^ Virgil E. Miller Movies, New York Times[dead link]

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Virgil Miller
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