James Pinckney Miller


Biography of James Pinckney Miller

James Pinckney Miller (December 18, 1919, San Antonio, Texas - November 1, 2001, Flemington, New Jersey), known to friends and associates by the nickname Pappy, wrote under the name JP Miller. He was a leading playwright during the Golden Age of Television, receiving three Emmy nominations. A novelist and screenwriter, he was best known for Days of Wine and Roses, directed by John Frankenheimer for Playhouse 90 (1958) and later a motion picture (1962) directed by Blake Edwards.

Miller was the son of construction engineer Rolland James Miller and touring actress Rose Jetta Smith Miller. At the age of 17, living in Palacios, Texas, he sold his first story to Wild West Weekly. That same year, he boxed professionally in Beaumont, Texas and other Texas rings under the name Tex Frontier, usually earning $10 a fight.

While attending Rice University in the late 1930s, he became a part-time reporter for the Houston Post. After graduating from Rice in 1941, he traveled to Mexico as a special feature writer but failed to send back any copy because he became interested in art and was studying sculpture at La Escuela de Artes Plasticas in Mexico City. Sick with jaundice, he returned to Texas, where he received a draft notice. He served in the Navy in the South Pacific, primarily as a gunnery officer, seeing combat first aboard the heavy cruiser U.S.S. Chester—torpedoed early in the war by a Japanese submarine. Aboard the aircraft carrier USS Cabot, he learned deep sea diving and adopted the name JP Miller (minus periods after the initials) after receiving orders in that format by U.S. Navy addressing machines. The Cabot returned to the United States with 13 battle stars, and a Presidential Unit Citation. Miller came back with a Purple Heart and Bronze Star. After WWII, he studied writing and acting at the Yale Drama School and then went to Houston where he sold real estate and Coleman Furnaces. Moving to New York, he sold York refrigerators and air conditioners while spending off hours at theaters, television studios and American Theater Wing classes.

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