Jason Miller Cause of Death: How the Pulitzer Prize Winner Died of a Heart Attack

Jason Miller was a renowned playwright and actor who won the Pulitzer Prize and the Tony Award for his play That Championship Season in 1973. He was also nominated for an Academy Award for his role as Father Damien Karras in the horror film The Exorcist. He had a prolific career in theater, film, and television, but he also struggled with personal issues and health problems. He died of a heart attack at the age of 62 in his hometown of Scranton, Pennsylvania. Here is a brief overview of his life and death.

Early Life and Education

Jason Miller was born John Anthony Miller Jr. on April 22, 1939, in Queens, New York City. His parents were John Anthony Miller Sr., an electrician, and Mary Claire Collins, a teacher. His ancestry was primarily Irish Catholic, with some German. His family moved to Scranton in 1941, where he attended St. Patrick’s High School and the Jesuit-run University of Scranton. He graduated with a degree in English and philosophy.

He then enrolled in the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., as a graduate student in the speech and drama department. However, he was asked to leave the school before taking a degree for never attending classes, never taking tests, and never getting the girls back to their dormitory by 10 o’clock, according to The Celebrity Deaths. During this period, he taught drama and English at nearby Archbishop Carroll High School.

Career Highlights

Miller began his career as an actor and playwright in New York City. He made his Broadway debut in 1968 in Nobody Hears a Broken Drum. He also appeared in several off-Broadway productions, such as The Cuban Thing and The Love Suicide at Schofield Barracks.

He achieved fame and acclaim in 1972 by winning the Pulitzer Prize and the Tony Award for his play That Championship Season, which he wrote and directed. The play was about four former high school basketball teammates who reunite with their coach 20 years later and confront their failures and regrets. The original Broadway cast featured Charles Durning, Richard Dysart, and Paul Sorvino.

That same year, he was offered the role of the troubled priest Father Damien Karras in William Friedkin’s horror film The Exorcist, based on the novel by William Peter Blatty. He accepted the role after Jack Nicholson turned it down. He delivered a memorable performance as the priest who tries to exorcise a demon-possessed girl played by Linda Blair. He was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role.

He reprised his role as Father Karras in The Exorcist III (1990), which was written and directed by Blatty. He also appeared in other films, such as The Nickel Ride (1974), Rudy (1993), and Toy Soldiers (1991). He also had roles in television shows, such as Quincy M.E., Murder, She Wrote, and The Twilight Zone.

He also continued to work in theater as an actor and director. He directed the screen version of That Championship Season in 1982, starring Robert Mitchum, Martin Sheen, Stacy Keach, Bruce Dern, and Paul Sorvino. He also directed other plays, such as A Touch of the Poet by Eugene O’Neill and A View from the Bridge by Arthur Miller.

He later became the artistic director of the Scranton Public Theatre in Scranton, Pennsylvania, where That Championship Season was set. He also taught drama at the University of Scranton.

Personal Life and Death

Miller was married four times and had four children. His first wife was Linda Gleason, the daughter of actor Jackie Gleason. They married in 1963 and divorced in 1973. They had one son, Jason Patric, who became an actor.

His second wife was Susan Bernard, a Playboy model and actress. They married in 1974 and divorced in 1983. They had one son, Joshua John Miller, who also became an actor.

His third wife was Ruth Josem, a lawyer. They married in 1984 and divorced in 1990.

His fourth wife was Katherine Boyce, a nurse. They married sometime after 1990.

Miller suffered from depression and alcoholism throughout his life. He also had a long-term respiratory illness that hindered his career.

On May 13, 2001, Miller died of a heart attack in Scranton. He was found dead in his apartment by his wife Katherine Boyce. He was 62 years old.

The Lackawanna County coroner Joseph Brennan confirmed that the cause of death was a heart attack. He also said that Miller had been suffering from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Miller’s death shocked and saddened his family, friends, fans, and colleagues. His son Jason Patric said that his father was “a great writer, a great actor, and a great man”. His friend and fellow actor Paul Sorvino said that Miller was “a genius” and “a very sweet man”.

Miller was buried in St. Mary’s Cemetery in Scranton. His grave is marked by a simple headstone that reads “Jason Miller 1939-2001”.

Doms Desk

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