Longtime Warner Bros executive James (Jim ) R. Miller who worked at the studio for 20 years and guided many of its financial deals and joint ventures, died June 6 at age 72. He was battling pancreatic cancer but was undergoing a surgery on Monday and was expected out. He died suddenly and no exact cause of death is known yet.
Miller initially joined the studio in 1979 and was instrumental in creating off balance-sheet financing and financial joint ventures that propelled slate after studio slate. Simply put, he was the financial brains behind the studio to get movies financed and produced — the financial architect, if you will. He began at the studio as VP of business affairs and left in 2000 as president of worldwide theatrical business operation. He set the entire financial course for all of the studio’s motion picture operations.
Miller helped establish long-term relationship with Village Roadshow, helped with the PolyGram deal to acquire CastleRock Entertainment, and also set up the joint venture between such companies as Arnon Milchan’s New Regency Enterprises; Jim Robinson’s Morgan Creek; producer Jerry Weintraub; producers Joel Silver; and Jon Peters.
“Jim was an extraordinary executive,” said Bob Daly (former Warner Bros. co-chair) in a statement, “and the way Warner Bros. approaches deals today reflects the creativity and strategic thinking he instilled during his long tenure at the studio.” He was known as a smart guy in structuring deals but also known as a tough guy and negotiator for the studio. And …