Walter C. Miller

Director


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

Tab

About
About this interview

In his two-and-a-half hour interview, Walter C. Scott talks about his early life, and his first television directing job, on NBC’s Sing Along with Mitch. He describes his experiences directing live television, including witnessing several bloopers, and directing The Bell Telephone Hour. He recounts being hired by Barbra Streisand to direct her 1967 special The Belle of 14th Street, and going on to direct several other variety specials for performers including Debbie Reynolds, Anne Bancroft, and Doug Henning. Miller details his long association as the director of The Grammy Awards, including working with artists, the technical challenges, and memorable moments. He discusses directing several other awards shows over the years, including the Country Music Awards, Tony Awards, People’s Choice Awards and the Latin Grammys. He concludes by speaking of career achievements and regrets, and advice he has given to his children about directing for television. Sally Jenkins conducted the interview on April 11, 2011 in Los Angeles, CA.

"One innovation I'd like to see on awards shows is a trap door. When a performer is going over, wrap it up, wrap it up, wrap it up and they don’t pay any attention to you, you just pull a string. It would make it a so much better awards show."

Highlights
Walter C. Miller on a memorable blooper during a live broadcast of The Aldrich Family
01:20
Walter C. Miller on directing Comic Relief, with Whoopi Goldberg, Robin Williams, and Billy Crystal
04:37
Walter C. Miller on leaving NBC to direct the Barbra Streisand special The Belle of 14th Street with choreographer Joe Layton
06:24
Walter C. Miller on directing Sinatra: Concert for the Americas and his friendship with Frank Sinatra
05:57
Walter C. Miller on a typical work day directing The Grammys, and on dealing with artists like Beyonce in relation to their performances
01:43
Walter C. Miller on Eminem and Elton John's duet on The Grammys
00:41
Full Interview

Chapter 1

On his early life and influences; on his first job in television, at NBC; on directing Sing Along with Mitch, starring Mitch Miller, and on directing a George Balanchine ballet
10:27
On his time as an engineer in the early years of NBC television, and on how that background helped him as a director; on a memorable blooper during a live broadcast of The Aldrich Family; on directing The Bell Telephone Hour, and on his music background
04:44
On a conversation he had with Milton Berle on the day of President John F. Kennedy's assassination; on filling in for the announcer on Hopalong Cassidy and on playing a prank on Don Pardo; on a blooper on The Bell Telephone Hour episode, "The Music of Romance" with Helen Hayes and Farley Granger
07:27
On leaving NBC to direct the Barbra Streisand special The Belle of 14th Street with choreographer Joe Layton; on directing various variety specials featuring Debbie Reynolds, Anne Bancroft, Jack Lemmon and Fred Astaire; on The Hallmark Hall of Fame production of "You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown"
15:58
On working on various variety specials with performers including Perry Como, John Denver, Johnny Cash, and the Osmonds; on directing Doug Henning's World of Magic, and on the challenges of doing magic on television; on directing Sha Na Na, which led to him directing The Grammys
06:47
On working with George Burns and Rodney Dangerfield; on directing Fame and Hangin' In; on directing Comic Relief and Liberty Weekend
07:23

Chapter 2

On directing Liberty Weekend, with Whitney Houston; on directing Sinatra: Concert for the Americas and his friendship with Frank Sinatra; on working with Jerry Lewis and Sammy Davis, Jr.
09:52
On directing HBO stand-up comedy specials for Steven Wright, Alan King, Howie Mandel, and Jerry Seinfeld; on directing Comic Relief with Whoopi Goldberg, Robin Williams, and Billy Crystal; on directing the 1989 Presidential Inaugural Gala
11:15
On directing Dolly Parton's Christmas at Home; on directing A Capital Fourth; on directing The Country Music Awards
11:50
On directing and producing The Grammys; on the preparation he does to direct The Grammys; on a typical work day directing The Grammys, and on dealing with artists like Beyonce in relation to their performances
07:30
On how performers are chosen to be on The Grammys and on the logistics of putting on the show; on the biggest technical challenges of directing an awards show; on being unhappy with the results from a year he directed The Emmy Awards
06:02
On the experience of directing a live telecast, and on working with the performers; on how the audiences for The Grammys have changed over the years
04:56

Chapter 3

On memorable moments on The Grammys; on his longevity as The Grammys director, and on getting a special Grammy for his service; on being a consulting producer for The Grammys, and on his retirement from directing the show
09:06
On directing the Tony Awards; on various Tony Awards hosts, including Angela Lansbury and Rosie O'Donnell; on what makes a good awards show host and on directing the People's Choice Awards and the Latin Grammys
11:42
On working with Vince Gill; on liking directing more than producing, and on the challenge of doing both; on his friendship with Joseph Cates and on doing some sports directing for NBC
09:13
On advice he gave his children, who are both in the business, about directing; on how directing celebrities has changed over the years; on career achievements and regrets
04:32
On the secret to his success as a director; on how he would like to be remembered
01:11
Shows

...And Debbie Makes Six

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Walter C. Miller on directing ...And Debbie Makes Six, starring Debbie Reynolds
00:43

Aldrich Family, The

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Walter C. Miller on a memorable blooper during a live broadcast of The Aldrich Family
01:20

Annie, the Women in the Life of a Man

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Walter C. Miller on directing Annie, the Women in the Life of a Man, starring Anne Bancroft
01:03

Barbra Streisand Specials

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Walter C. Miller on leaving NBC to direct the Barbra Streisand special The Belle of 14th Street with choreographer Joe Layton
06:24

Bell Telephone Hour, The

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Walter C. Miller on directing The Bell Telephone Hour, and on his music background
02:11
Walter C. Miller on a blooper on The Bell Telephone Hour episode "The Music of Romance" with Helen Hayes and Farley Granger
03:09

Comic Relief Specials

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Walter C. Miller on directing Comic Relief for HBO
01:04
Walter C. Miller on directing Comic Relief, with Whoopi Goldberg, Robin Williams, and Billy Crystal
04:37

Emmy Awards, The (Primetime and Daytime)

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Walter C. Miller on directing 'S Wonderful, 'S Marvelous, 'S Gershwin, starring Jack Lemmon and Fred Astaire for which he won an Emmy Award
01:50
Walter C. Miller on being unhappy with the results from a year he directed The Emmy Awards
01:16

Fame (1982-87)

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Walter C. Miller on directing Fame and Hangin' In
00:23

Frank Sinatra Specials

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Walter C. Miller on directing Sinatra: Concert for the Americas and his friendship with Frank Sinatra
05:57

Grammys, The

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Walter C. Miller on directing Sha Na Na, which led to him directing The Grammys
02:30
Walter C. Miller on directing and producing The Grammys
02:46
Walter C. Miller on working with The Grammys producer Pierre Cossette
01:09
Walter C. Miller on the preparation he does to direct The Grammys
01:52
Walter C. Miller on a typical work day directing The Grammys, and on dealing with artists like Beyonce in relation to their performances
01:43
Walter C. Miller on how performers are chosen to be on The Grammys and on the logistics of putting on the show
02:45
Walter C. Miller on how the audiences for The Grammys have changed over the years
02:30
Walter C. Miller on Eminem and Elton John's duet on The Grammys
00:41
Walter C. Miller on Bono giving Frank Sinatra a lifetime achivement award on The Grammys
01:35
Walter C. Miller on his longevity as The Grammys director, and on getting a special Grammy for his service
03:58
Walter C. Miller on being an consulting producer for The Grammys, and on his retirement from directing the show
02:52

Hallmark Hall of Fame

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Walter C. Miller on the Hallmark Hall of Fame production of "You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown"
00:56

Hopalong Cassidy

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Walter C. Miller on filling in for the announcer on Hopalong Cassidy
01:51

People's Choice Awards

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Walter C. Miller on directing the People's Choice Awards and the Latin Grammys
02:34

Sha Na Na

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Walter C. Miller on directing Sha Na Na, which led to him directing The Grammys
02:32

Sing Along with Mitch

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Walter C. Miller on directing Sing Along with Mitch starring Mitch Miller, and on directing a George Balanchine ballet
03:11

Tony Awards

View Show Page
Walter C. Miller on directing the Tony Awards
04:33
Walter C. Miller on various Tony Awards hosts, including Angela Lansbury and Rosie O'Donnell
03:57
Topics

Advice

View Topic
Walter C. Miller on advice he gave his children, both in the business, about directing
01:02

Bloopers

View Topic
Walter C. Miller on a memorable blooper during a live broadcast of The Aldrich Family
01:20
Walter C. Miller on a blooper on The Bell Telephone Hour episode "The Music of Romance" with Helen Hayes and Farley Granger
03:11

Emmy Awards

View Topic
Walter C. Miller on directing 'S Wonderful, 'S Marvelous, 'S Gershwin, starring Jack Lemmon and Fred Astaire for which he won an Emmy Award
01:50

Historic Events and Social Change

View Topic
Walter C. Miller on a conversation he had with Milton Berle on the day of John F. Kennedy's assassination
00:44

JFK Assassination and Funeral

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Walter C. Miller on a conversation he had with Milton Berle on the day of John F. Kennedy's assassination
00:44

Memorable Moments on Television

View Topic
Walter C. Miller on Eminem and Elton John's duet on The Grammys
00:41

Technological Innovation

View Topic
Walter C. Miller on his time as an engineer in the early years of NBC television, and on how that background helped him as a director
01:13

Television Industry

View Topic
Walter C. Miller on advice he gave his children, both in the business, about directing
01:02

Television and the Presidency

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Walter C. Miller on working as a technical director on political conventions in the 1960s
01:43
Walter C. Miller on directing the 1989 Presidential Inaugural Gala
01:12
Professions

Directors

View Profession
Walter C. Miller on how he goes about directing variety specials
05:00
Walter C. Miller on the biggest technical challenges of directing an awards show
02:01
Walter C. Miller on the experience of directing a live telecast, and on working with the performers
02:25
Walter C. Miller on liking directing more than producing, and on the challenge of doing both
02:31
Walter C. Miller on the atmosphere he likes to maintain on his sets
00:42
Walter C. Miller on advice he gave his children, who are both in the business, about directing
01:02
Walter C. Miller on how directing celebrities has changed over the years
00:57
Walter C. Miller on the secret to his success as a director
00:46
Genres

Awards Shows

View Genre
Walter C. Miller on directing The Country Music Awards
08:18
Walter C. Miller on directing and producing The Grammys
18:32
Walter C. Miller on being unhappy with the results from a year he directed The Emmy Awards
01:16
Walter C. Miller on what makes a good awards show host
00:39
Walter C. Miller on directing The Grammys
09:06
Walter C. Miller on directing the Tony Awards
09:08
Walter C. Miller on directing the People's Choice Awards and the Latin Grammys
02:34

Classic Anthology Series

View Genre
Walter C. Miller on directing The Bell Telephone Hour, and on his music background
02:11

Comedy Series

View Genre
Walter C. Miller on a memorable blooper during a live broadcast of The Aldrich Family
01:20
Walter C. Miller on directing Fame and Hangin' In
00:23

Drama Series

View Genre
Walter C. Miller on directing Fame and Hangin' In
00:23

Music Shows & Variety Shows/Specials

View Genre
Walter C. Miller on directing Sing Along with Mitch
05:41
Walter C. Miller on leaving NBC to direct the Barbra Streisand special The Belle of 14th Street with choreographer Joe Layton
06:26
Walter C. Miller on directing ...And Debbie Makes Six starring Debbie Reynolds
00:43
Walter C. Miller on directing Annie, the Women in the Life of a Man starring Anne Bancroft
01:05
Walter C. Miller on directing 'S Wonderful, 'S Marvelous, 'S Gershwin starring Jack Lemmon and Fred Astaire for which he won an Emmy Award
01:50
Walter C. Miller on directing Doug Henning's World of Magic, and on the challenges of doing magic on television
02:04
Walter C. Miller on directing Sha Na Na
02:32
Walter C. Miller on directing Liberty Weekend
02:28
Walter C. Miller on directing Liberty Weekend, with Whitney Houston
02:43
Walter C. Miller on directing Sinatra: Concert for the Americas and his friendship with Frank Sinatra
05:55
Walter C. Miller on directing the 1989 Presidential Inaugural Gala
01:12
Walter C. Miller on directing Dolly Parton's Christmas at Home
01:24
Walter C. Miller on directing A Capital Fourth
02:05

Sports

View Genre
Walter C. Miller on doing some sports directing for NBC
02:11

TV Movies/Miniseries/Dramatic Specials

View Genre
Walter C. Miller on The Hallmark Hall of Fame production of "You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown"
00:56
People

Fred Astaire

View Person Page
Walter C. Miller on directing 'S Wonderful, 'S Marvelous, 'S Gershwin, starring Jack Lemmon and Fred Astaire for which he won an Emmy Award
01:50

George Balanchine

View Person Page
Walter C. Miller on directing Sing Along with Mitch starring Mitch Miller, and on directing a George Balanchine ballet
03:11

Anne Bancroft

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Walter C. Miller on directing Annie, the Women in the Life of a Man, starring Anne Bancroft
01:05

Milton Berle

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Walter C. Miller on a conversation he had with Milton Berle on the day of John F. Kennedy's assassination
00:44

Osmond Brothers, The

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Walter C. Miller on working on various variety specials with performers including the Osmonds
01:18

George Burns

View Person Page
Walter C. Miller on working with George Burns on various specials
02:12

Johnny Cash

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Walter C. Miller on working on various variety specials with performers including Johnny Cash
01:37

Joseph Cates

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Walter C. Miller on his friendship with Joseph Cates
02:33

Perry Como

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Walter C. Miller on working on various variety specials with performers including Perry Como, John Denver, Johnny Cash, and the Osmonds
02:11

Pierre Cossette

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Walter C. Miller on working with The Grammys producer Pierre Cossette
01:09

Billy Crystal

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Walter C. Miller on directing Comic Relief with Whoopi Goldberg, Robin Williams, and Billy Crystal
04:37

Rodney Dangerfield

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Walter C. Miller on directing Rodney Dangerfield in several specials
02:20

Sammy Davis, Jr.

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Walter C. Miller on working with Jerry Lewis and Sammy Davis, Jr.
01:12

John Denver

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Walter C. Miller on working on various variety specials with performers including John Denver
01:45

Whoopi Goldberg

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Walter C. Miller on directing Comic Relief with Whoopi Goldberg, Robin Williams, and Billy Crystal
04:37

Helen Hayes

View Person Page
Walter C. Miller on a blooper on The Bell Telephone Hour episode "The Music of Romance" with Helen Hays and Farley Granger
03:11

Doug Henning

View Person Page
Walter C. Miller on directing Doug Henning's World of Magic, and on the challenges of doing magic on television
02:03

Whitney Houston

View Person Page
Walter C. Miller on directing Liberty Weekend, with Whitney Houston
02:43

Alan King

View Person Page
Walter C. Miller on directing HBO stand-up comedy specials for Steven Wright, Alan King, Howie Mandel, and Jerry Seinfeld
03:39

Angela Lansbury

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Walter C. Miller on various Tony Awards hosts, including Angela Lansbury and Rosie O'Donnell
03:56

Jack Lemmon

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Walter C. Miller on directing 'S Wonderful, 'S Marvelous, 'S Gershwin, starring Jack Lemmon and Fred Astaire for which he won an Emmy Award
01:50

Jerry Lewis

View Interview Page
Walter C. Miller on working with Jerry Lewis and Sammy Davis, Jr.
01:12

Mitch Miller

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Walter C. Miller on directing Sing Along with Mitch starring Mitch Miller, and on directing a George Balanchine ballet
03:11

Rosie O'Donnell

View Person Page
Walter C. Miller on various Tony Awards hosts, including Angela Lansbury and Rosie O'Donnell
03:56

Don Pardo

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Walter C. Miller on playing a prank on Don Pardo
01:41

Dolly Parton

View Person Page
Walter C. Miller on directing Dolly Parton's Christmas at Home
01:25

Debbie Reynolds

View Person Page
Walter C. Miller on directing ...And Debbie Makes Six, starring Debbie Reynolds
00:43

Charles M. Schulz

View Person Page
Walter C. Miller on his friendship with "Peanuts" creator Charles M. Schulz
01:38

Frank Sinatra

View Person Page
Walter C. Miller on directing Sinatra: Concert for the Americas and his friendship with Frank Sinatra
05:55

Barbra Streisand

View Person Page
Walter C. Miller on leaving NBC to direct the Barbra Streisand special The Belle of 14th Street
04:54

Robin Williams

View Person Page
Walter C. Miller on directing Comic Relief with Whoopi Goldberg, Robin Williams, and Billy Crystal
04:37

All Interviews

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