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By DOUG BROWN
She has blue eyes. They sparkle. She has blonde hair. It glutens in the sunlight. She has personality, a charming smile, a determination, and a way with animals. Cheryl Miller sat in the shade at the Spa, very relaxed. She was here this week sampling the hotel health program.
The female lead star of television’s hit program “Daktari” has a five-week rest from filming in television’s Africa, the Mojave Desert here in California. She is a young actress obviously moving into a big future.
Before she made the Daktari scene she starred in “Clarence, The Cross-Eyed Lion,” the Disney comedy about a jungle animal doctor’s daughter who becomes the bosom pal of a cross-eyed lion. And there have been other animals in her life too. There have been six “Flipper” shows this season, and the monkey when she was in Disney’s “The Monkey’s Uncle.”
Los Angeles born Miss Miller had an early entry into show business. She started working twenty days after she was born. But her serious acting and stage and film work has been in the past five years.
However, that first part came when a baby boy was needed who did not cry. Cheryl Miller didn’t cry. She had the part. Two years ago she auditioned for the part in the cross-eyed lion film. “It was funny how I got it.” she said. “The studio had been interested in several girts from London. They flew them over, but the lion wasn’t interested in them. Ivan Tors,the producer, asked me if I would go up to the lion. I did, and Clarence just rolled over and fell asleep in my lap. It was the first time he had ever done that I got the job,” she smiled.
“From then on Clarence became very possessive and would not let anyone come near me. Now I’ve been replaced and he’s that way with a sofa,” said the vibrant actress.
Of her successful series, the blue-eyed young lady commented: “It’s a wonderful experience to be in a series in a starring position, and to be in one that is a success.”
Daktari is one of the shows (and there are not many) that has been booked for next fall.)
About the big screen. Cheryl Miller said she would wait until next summer before making any more moves in that direction. “I am negotiating offers at the moment. I am really looking forward to it. Television has given me the biggest boost of my life, but of course I want too make more films,” she said. “I also hope to do musicals.”
“Daktari is a family, educational show,” she said, in each of the episodes we try to inform about the various types of animals, their habits and the the methods used to capture, cure, and care for them.
In the big business of films and television all is not strawberries and honey. It has its rewards, which can be mighty material, but it also has its human and realistic risks. For instance, on location in the Mojave Desert this past year at Christmas and New Year’s Eve the cast and crew found themselves in the middle of a flood .”We were carried out on a fiat-, bed truck forty-five m rates before the dam broke. That was real-life adventure all right,” she recalled.
She is exuberant for life and enjoys every moment. “If you can’t enjoy it you might as well not be alive,” she smiled.
Cheryl Miller is very, very much alive. She is enjoying success. Inevitably she will enjoy much more.