Warren A. Miller, an iconic and beloved filmmaker who introduced generations to the thrills and freedom of skiing and outdoor adventures, died Wednesday.
Miller’s family said he passed away peacefully of natural causes at his home on Orcas Island, Wash.
Born in Hollywood, Calif., in 1924, Miller earned global acclaim and a passionate multigenerational following for his annual ski feature films, which kicked off the ski season for more than 60 years, showing in hundreds of cities across the U.S. and around the world.
Miller’s distinct, droll narration and humorous hijinks on the slopes highlighted his films, which were packed with adventure and exotic travel.
“Warren Miller was a globally loved ambassador for skiing and adventure sports, pioneering an entire genre of filmmaking,” Andy Clurman, CEO of Active Interest Media, the parent company of Warren Miller Entertainment, said in a statement.
AIM is also the parent company of Soundings Trade Only.
Although Miller is known as the original ski bum, his talents went well beyond ski filmmaking. He produced more than 500 films, primarily covering outdoor pursuits, including surfing, sailing and other water sports.
“Looking back on what set my films apart, it was the emphasis on entertaining people, which means making them laugh, rather than just filming people turning right or left,” Miller said in a remark quoted at his website.
As an artist, cartoonist, and author, he wrote 1,200 columns and 11 books.
Miller also was a World War II veteran, a ski instructor and ski racer, an accomplished surfer and a champion sailor. He took up windsurfing in his 60s, then turned to destination motor boating in his 70s and 80s, exploring the Northwest and Alaska from his home on Orcas Island.
During his 80s and 90s, Miller’s philanthropic efforts provided entrepreneurial training to thousands of youth nationwide, emphasizing hard work, ingenuity and creativity.
Perhaps one of his most cited quotes provides some insight as to how Miller packed so much into one lifetime:
“If you don’t do it this year, you’ll be one year older when you do,” he said.
“This is a sad day during which we draw some comfort from the fact that Warren’s legacy of adventure, freedom and humor carries on in the countless lives he touched,” said Laurie Miller, his wife of the past 30 years. “Warren loved nothing more than sharing his life’s adventures and hearing literally every day from friends old and new about how his stories inspired others to enrich and enjoy their own lives. All of us are better for knowing and loving Warren.”
Miller is also survived by his by his sons Scott (Melissa) and Kurt (Ali); by his daughter, Chris (David Lucero); his stepson, Colin Kaufmann; three granddaughters (Valeska, Kasimira, and Jenna) and two grandsons (Alexander and Ryan).
The family asks for privacy during this difficult time and encourages those who are able to ski a favorite run or enjoy another activity they love in Miller’s memory.
In lieu of memorial gifts, the family also invites those inclined to benefit the Warren Miller Performing Arts Center in Big Sky, Mont.