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A memorial service in Manhattan is being planned for later this month for John Robert Miller, managing director of Stephen Burrows, who died Monday.
Miller, 57, died of heart failure at Beth Israel Hospital, according to his sister Kathy Bennett.
Burrows said Tuesday, “John has been a partner, friend and my right hand for 10 years. His strength, intelligence and presence have been a tremendous part of my recent success. John was always thinking positive and coming up with new ideas for us. I already miss his support, sense of humor and laughter.”
Born in Williamsport, Pa., Miller grew up the son of a preacher in the Harrisburg area. Post high school, he studied at the University of Derby in the U.K., earning a degree with honors in fashion design. He subsequently started his career as a costume designer in British repertory theater, working in the West End for such productions as “The Seagull” starring Alan Bates.
In the late Seventies, Miller returned to the U.S. and worked as a design assistant to Halston. He later held similar roles at Yeohlee and Albert Nipon. With that experience, he ventured out to open a bespoke clothing company that dressed celebrities including Chaka Khan, Vanessa Redgrave and Barbra Streisand. At the same time, Miller designed costumes for “Dallas” and “Knots Landing” as well as other popular TV shows in the Eighties. With the dawn of MTV, he added stylist to his résumé by working on music videos as well as print ads.
By the mid-Eighties, Miller made yet another career change, joining Henri Bendel as a private label designer. That is where he first got to know Burrows. A self-described Anglophile and avid reader, Miller took particular interest in autobiographies especially those about British royalty. That and his U.K. education were added incentives for him in the late Nineties to join Denza International, a London-based fashion recruiting firm. Miller remained in New York but traveled to London, working with leading fashion and design companies internationally.
“Everything he did was larger than life. He was a big guy with a big voice and big dreams,” Bennett said of her 6-foot, 4-inch brother.
Miller is also survived by another sister, Mary Pogue.