Cheryl Lynn Miller was born in Sherman Oaks, CA, one of five children of an architect father and accountant mother (Elsie). As a mere infant she made her movie debut in Casanova Brown (1944). She was destined to become a popular ingenue of the mid-1960’s, in movies and on television, known for her healthy and wholesome beauty.
She graduated from Ulysses S. Grant High School favoring science and music. She pursued the latter at the Los Angeles Conservatory of Music while taking occasional acting roles on series such as Bachelor Father, Our Man Higgins, The Donna Reed Show, My Three Sons, The Farmer’s Daughter, Leave It To Beaver and Perry Mason. She also did some modeling spots.
In the year 1965, a series of fortunate breaks eventually landed her as a series regular on Daktari. It began with two guest spots on Flipper (one spot being a three-part episode, “Flipper and the Elephant”). Her work with an elephant and a chimp caught the attention of producer Ivan Tors. He proceeded to cast her in the feature film Clarence, The Cross-Eyed Lion (1965) which became a breakout hit, spawning the TV series, Daktari.
Discovered by Disney
That same year she was discovered by Walt Disney and cast in a supporting role in The Monkey’s Uncle (1965) She was dubbed “The Typical American Girl.”
In November of 1965, she was awarded the title of a Hollywood Deb Star of 1966; the group of a dozen actresses included Melody Patterson, Edy Williams, Peggy Lipton, and Sally Field. A television special, “Hollywood Deb Star Ball of 1966” ensured that January.
She was also named “Miss Golden Globe” in 1966, assisting Andy Williams in the presentation of the Golden Globe Awards.
Daktari debuted mid-season in 1966 on CBS and was a surprise hit, achieving top ten status in the ratings by the second season. It spawned an industry of toys, trading cards, comic books, children’s books and the like. It lasted three and one half seasons, finally being cancelled in 1969.
Miller was an active, athletic young woman and a bit of a daredevil who relished in making a splash. Blessed with a zest for life and passionate interests, she enjoyed many creative activities (including singing and designing her own dresses) along with sports such as skiing, jogging and horseback riding.
In 1966 she became engaged to Lt. Charles Hutter III who was stationed in Colorado in the Air Force. His doctor dad arranged a date between the two after treating Miller for a foot ailment. The two announced their engagement at a party on New Year’s Eve with the intention of marrying the following year. However, they called off the wedding several months later, “substituting friendship for marriage.”
After meeting on a blind date several months before, Miller married stockbroker Stanley Shapiro in December of 1968 wearing a backless white mini-gown. Three days later she broke her ankle and was told that Daktari had been cancelled. She and Shapiro would divorce in 1971.
Movie and TV appearances
Miller was picked up in 1969 by the short-lived daytime drama Bright Promise, playing the role of Samantha Pudding. She also worked regularly throughout the 1970s, mostly in guest starring roles:
- Cade’s County
- Love, American Style
- Barnaby Jones
- The Streets of San Francisco
- The Wide World of Mystery
- Gemini Man
- The Six Million Dollar Man
- Police Story
Movie appearances included:
- Doctor Death: Seeker of Souls, as Sandy
- Guardian of the Wilderness (aka Mountain Man) as Kathleen Clark
- The Man from Clover Grove, as Millie Swickle
- Mr. Too Little, as Carola
- Revolution, as Cuffy* (as Miller’s name is common, there is some question about this. Blockbuster’s site listed it)
In 1970-71, Miller took over for Joan Parker as the Dodge “Fever Girl,” appearing in magazine spreads, commercials and national car shows.
For a time she attempted a singing career making two appearances on The Tonight Show starring Johnny Carson in 1972.
The year 1980 marked her last TV appearance in an episode of The Misadventures of Sheriff Lobo. Her last movie appearance was in 1985 with Al Pacino in Revolution* (see above for note).
Here are photos of Cheryl Miller as her more glamorous self:
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