Saturday, March 19, 2011

JASON MILLER----BACK ON STAGE

For several years, in the late 1970s and early 1980s I was good friends with Jason Miller, the writer and actor who won a Pulitzer Prize for his play That Championship Season and was Oscar-nominated for his role as the priest in The Exorcist.

We drank in the King's Head in Santa Monica, where we indulged in long, drink-fuelled discussions about art, literature and life, went to parties in Malibu and hung out at the beach house he was sharing at the time with fellow actor and longtime friend John Mahon.


Then Jason moved back to his hometown of Scranton, Pennsylvania to write the Great American Novel and we lost touch. It was a shock when I heard he'd died in May 2001, aged 62, although the venue of his death----Farley's Eatery and Pub in Scranton---seemed poignantly fitting.


Now the actor, who always preferred the theatre to movies, is back on the Broadway stage, appropriately enough in That Championship Season, which he wrote when he was 32.

His son Jason Patric, who is starring in the production with Kiefer Sutherland, Chris Noth and Brian Cox, keeps Miller's ashes in an urn on stage. "I don't think it's closure," says Patric, who for years was estranged from his father. "I'm trying to get on that same spiritual wavelength as that 32-year-old who, at that moment, was genius."

I know Jason would be proud and delighted that his son was finally recognising and appreciating his talents.

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