Edit
Michael Dunn Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (5) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (1) | Trivia (9) | Personal Quotes (1)

Overview (5)

Date of Birth 20 October 1934Shattuck, Oklahoma, USA
Date of Death 29 August 1973Knightsbridge, London, England, UK  (complications from chondrodystrophy)
Birth NameGary Neil Miller
Nickname Mike
Height 3' 11" (1.19 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Michael Dunn was born Gary Neil Miller in Oklahoma. His parents were Mr. and Mrs. Fred Miller. They moved to Detroit, Michigan, in 1938. Dunn was 5 years old when he knew he'd be a dwarf but was determined not to let it stop him or make him dependent. He graduated from Detroit's Redford High School in 1951, where he had been active in many school activities, including the student council, and was captain of the cheer-leading team. At 18 he enrolled as a student at the University of Michigan, but a leg injury incurred when he was accidentally knocked down a flight of stairs forced him to leave. Later he transferred to the University of Miami, where he acted, was a cheer leader and editor of the college newspaper, and he received his degree in 1956. He'd supported himself during school by singing at local bars, and knew by graduation that he wanted to be an actor. "Frankly", he told a reporter, "I knew there wouldn't be too much competition for roles. There are a great many professional midgets, but there aren't too many dwarfs who can act". Waiting for his big break, he found employment as a sports reporter, a hotel detective and a missionary. When he hit New York he finally got some acting parts in off-Broadway plays--and when he was nominated for a Tony Award in 1963 (for his role in Edward Albee's "Ballad of A Sad Cafe"--his luck changed for the better. He even landed an Oscar nomination for his role as narrator in Ship of Fools (1965). Still, Dunn was frustrated by the lack of variety in the parts he was offered. While filming on location in England in 1973, the 3'11" actor died. He was 38.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Tiffany Banks

Spouse (1)

Joy Talbot (14 December 1966 - ?) (divorced)

Trivia (9)

Had an IQ of 178.
Was a concert pianist at age 15, until he suffered from chondrodystrophy, crippling his elbows and ruining his career as a pianist. He then took up acting.
Rumors of suicide have been unfounded. He did develop an acute alcohol problem and liver cirrhosis probably hastened his early death. The general consensus is that he died of heart failure in his sleep as a result of the disease.
In the 60s, encouraged by actor Roddy McDowall, he and actress Phoebe Dorin formed a slightly bizarre but popular New York song-and-comedy nightclub act, which eventually led to their being cast on TV's The Wild Wild West (1965) as evil Dr. Loveless and his assistant, Antoinette.
Was nominated for Broadway's 1964 Tony Award as Best Supporting or Featured Actor (Dramatic) for "The Ballad of the Sad Cafe."
Michael Dunn was buried in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, by his parents, as they thought they would be moving there; however, they both died in their native state of Oklahoma and were buried in Sunset Memorial Park in Norman, Oklahoma. In July of 2007, three of Dunn's cousins, his closest living kin, were able to have his remains moved from Florida to Oklahoma, where he was buried in the same cemetery as his parents.
Phoebe Dorin, Dunn's singing partner and The Wild Wild West (1965) co-star, is extensively interviewed about their relationship in Tom Weaver's book "Science Fiction Confidential" (McFarland & Co., 2002).
A photograph of Dunn in his role as Mr. Big in the original series Get Smart (1965) appears during the opening credits of Get Smart (2008).
Chondrodystrophy (i.e. cartilage maldevelopment) that defined Dunn's physiology refers to a skeletal condition caused by one of myriad genetic reasons that can affect the cartilage resulting thus a form of dwarfism.

Personal Quotes (1)

"Here's a midget part", [producers] say. "Mike's available". Then they soft-soap me about what a great [actor] I am. I don't want to play Charlton Heston parts, but there are a lot of roles I can do.

See also

Other Works | Publicity Listings | Official Sites | Contact Info

Contribute to This Page