New Zealand celebrity agent and music producer Harry M Miller, dies aged 84

New Zealand born music promoter and celebrity agent Harry M Miller has died aged 84.

The "visionary" entrepreneur died peacefully in Sydney on Wednesday, HMMG, the agency he founded, said in a statement.

"By his side were his long-term partner Simmone Logue, daughters Justine, Brook and Lauren and their mother Wendy," it said.

Harry Maurice Miller was born in Auckland, New Zealand on January 6, 1934, the only child of Jewish parents, Sadie and Jim Miller.

When Miller was two years old his father, who worked as an indent agent, broke his spine in a fall. He died six years later.

"The Jewish community bundled me off to a Jewish orphanage in Wellington... called Dextons," Miller later recalled.

Miller's first taste of showbiz was running a "peepshow" for fellow students - a shoebox with cellophane windows through which he would wind a comic strip: "I used to charge kids a marble."

After school Miller worked as a dairy hand, on a trans-Tasman passenger ship, as a salesman for knitwear and frypans, and in a restaurant.

He began organising entertainment - a sideline that led him to found a record company.

His first signing - four Maori singers known as the Howard Morrison Quartet - enjoyed local success.

Miller's first big-name act was US jazz musician Louis Armstrong. Miller travelled to the US to approach Armstrong's manager, Joe Glaser. When Glaser asked, "You got any bucks, kid?", Miller said he did not.

Miller recalled: "He thought it was so funny, that this kid was trying to buy Louis Armstrong, that he thought I should get it. And he did."

Armstrong toured in 1963 - the same year Miller moved to Australia, founding Pan Pacific Productions Pty Ltd with Keith and Dennis Wong, who owned Sydney's Chequers nightclub.

Miller brought out Judy Garland to do three concerts in 1964. Garland, a drug addict, held up for the Sydney Stadium shows, but the concert at Melbourne's Festival Hall was a shambles.

Miller stood near the back, "copping anger and abuse as the public filed out".

But he rarely put a foot wrong, coupling chutzpah with charm, good looks and a keen business nose.

Other acts he brought out in the 1960s included the Rolling Stones, conductor Artur Rubinstein, Herman's Hermits, the Beach Boys and Sonny and Cher.

In 1978 he overreached by establishing a ticketing company, Computicket. Sydney's Sun newspaper reported: "Harry M can see the day when, with the aid of cable TV, customers will be able to book shows from their living rooms."

The idea was visionary, but within six months Computicket was in receivership.

In 1982 Miller was convicted on five charges of fraudulent misappropriation of $728,000 in connection with Computicket, and spent ten months in Long Bay and Cessnock jails.

When he resumed his career, he was reluctant to discuss any aspect of the Computicket affair.

Miller attracted criticism for making money from tragedy and sensation. One example was Stuart Diver, who survived the 1997 Thredbo disaster. Miller also handled the funeral of INXS singer Michael Hutchence.

In 2010, Miller told the ABC's Talking Heads that his greatest success was handling Lindy Chamberlain when she was freed after being wrongfully jailed over the death of her daughter Azaria.

Miller described his role as "broker/salesman" and keeping unwanted media at bay until he had sold Chamberlain's story: "What the media quickly learned, thank God, was that if they didn't play the game, they weren't even in the game."

Miller's private life was complicated. "My wandering eye is something I have struggled to control all my adult life," he wrote in his autobiography.

His first marriage, in 1957 to Zoe von Uht, resulted in a son, Simon, but ended in 1962.

He married American Patricia Mitchell in 1963, but that ended unhappily four years later when she took their two children back to the US.

"She took everything. I remember coming back from a trip and standing in our empty house. I think the kitchen sink was still there but very little else," Miller recalled in his 2009 autobiography, Confessions Of A Not-So-Secret Agent.

In 1972, following the death of his mother Sadie, Miller married 23-year-old vet Wendy Paul and they had two daughters, Brook and Lauren. Wendy stood by him during the Computicket scandal, running both the Harry M Miller Group and their large Simmental cattle property, Dunmore, at Manilla, in the NSW New England area.

This was followed by an 11-year relationship with the model Deborah Hutton, whom the Harry M. Miller Group had steered into the corporate world. (Hutton was initially the public face of the department store Grace Bros.)

In the late 1990s Miller met society caterer and businesswoman Simmone Logue, who he described in 2010 as "the love of my life".

Miller retired in 2009 and handed his business to his daughter, Lauren Miller Cilento.

In 2011 Miller was diagnosed with vascular dementia. He moved into an aged-care facility but spent weekends with Logue. In August 2015, when he and Logue were photographed in Sydney's east, she was pushing his wheelchair.

Miller is survived by Logue and his five children - sons Simon and Miles and daughters Brook, Lauren and Justine.

Miller leaves a shining legacy in the world of showbiz. Source: 1 NEWS


Ozzy Osbourne confirms two New Zealand shows as part of farewell world tour

Ozzy Osbourne has confirmed two final shows in New Zealand in March 2019 as part of his farewell world tour, No More Tours 2.

The former Black Sabbath singer will play shows in Christchurch at Horncastle Arena on March 13 and Auckland’s Spark Arena on March 16.

Heavy metal legends Judas Priest, who are on their first New Zealand tour, will open for Osbourne.

The 69-year-old will celebrate a career which began in 1968 when Black Sabbath was formed alongside long-time collaborators, guitarist Zakk Wylde, Blasko on bass, drummer Tommy Clufetos and Adam Wakeman on keyboards.

Ozzy Osbourne.


Roseanne Barr plans to leave the US to 'escape negativity'

Controversial TV star Roseanne Barr has revealed she intends to travel to Israel when the Roseanne spin-off airs because she doesn't want to "get drawn into a negative thing".

The 65-year-old actress' eponymous sitcom was axed earlier this year after she posted an offensive message about Valerie Jarrett, an adviser to former US President Barack Obama, on Twitter, and Roseanne has now revealed why she plans to leave the US before The Conners airs in October.

She shared: "Oh, yeah, I don't want to be around, because I, you know, I'll get drawn into a negative thing.

"Defending myself or being angry for being mischaracterised and, you know, I don't ... I want to stay away from it. I want to stay in a joyous, positive, happy place that I've worked my way to again in my life."

The Conners will feature all of the main cast of the original show except Rosanne, who plans to focus on her Hebrew while in Israel.

She told The Dr. Oz Show: "I want to be able to learn Hebrew, speak Hebrew fluently, because, you know, I read very slow but I know the letters and I love the letters, but, I want to speak it.

"And also I have quite a few teachers over the years that live there and, you know, I want to study."

Meanwhile, Roseanne recently revealed the spin-off show will kill off her character with an "overdose".

The actress claimed that her character will meet her end at the hands of an "opioid overdose", which she says is "cruelly insulting" to the fans of the original programme.

Roseanne said: "Oh ya, they killed her. They have her die of an opioid overdose.

"There's nothing I can do about it. It's done. It's over. [But it] so cruelly insults the people who loved that family in that show."

Her show was cancelled by ABC following her comments directed at a former advisor to Barack Obama.
Source: 1 NEWS


Rihanna asks for Jacinda Ardern's help in tweet - 'Its been a big year for you'

Popstar and fashionista Rihanna has reached out on Twitter to try and enlist the help of Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern for one of the singer's charitable causes.

Rihanna started out by congratulating the PM before asking for help. 

"Kia ora @jacindaardern! It's been a big year for you & NZ - congrats!

"I hope you & @MFATgovtNZ agree that educating every child can change the world!" the singer wrote before linking to the Clara Lionel Foundation which she started in 2012.

The tweet also contained a link to a piece Rihanna wrote for The Guardian yesterday, calling for more support for young students in developing countries. 

Rihanna and Jacinda Ardern. Source: Associated Press

Read Deadpool 2 star Rob Delaney's heartbreaking essay on son's cancer battle

Rob Delaney has penned a heartbreaking essay on his son's cancer battle, after the toddler passed away aged just two-years-old.

The Deadpool 2 star was struck by tragedy earlier this year when his son Henry - whom he had with his wife Leah - lost his battle with brain cancer, and has now shared an emotional essay that was originally penned as part of a book he wanted to release for parents of sick children.

Rob decided to stop writing the book when he saw his son's last "bad MRI scan", saying he and his family "just wanted to be with him around the clock and make sure his final months were happy."

Read full essay excerpt here.

Explaining why he posted the excerpt on Medium yesterday, the 41-year-old comedian wrote: "The reason I'm putting this out there now is that the intended audience for this book was to be my fellow parents of very sick children.

"They were always so tired and sad, like ghosts, walking the halls of the hospitals, and I wanted them to know someone understood and cared.

"I'd still like them to know that ... But I can't write that book anymore because our family's story has a different ending than I'd hoped for. Maybe I'll write a different book in the future, but now my responsibility is to my family and myself as we grieve our beautiful Henry."

The essay focuses on the months surrounding Henry's diagnoses and how his family helped the tot deal with his treatment, and Rob says that despite his son's condition, he felt "excited" to see him at the hospital.

Rob writes in part: "I may wish Henry wasn't in the hospital and it may make me f***ing sick that my kids haven't lived under the same roof for over a year. But I'm always, always happy to enter the hospital every morning and see him.

"It's exciting every day to walk into his room and see him and see him see me."

The actor cuts off his essay "abruptly", as he never finished the story before he learned Henry's diagnoses was terminal.

He said: "I'm aware this ends somewhat abruptly. The above was part of a book proposal I put together before Henry's tumour came back and we learned that he would die. I stopped writing when we saw the new, bad MRI.

"My wife and his brothers and I just wanted to be with him around the clock and make sure his final months were happy. And they were."

Rob Delaney with his son Henry. Source: Twitter