Sir Jonathan Wolfe Miller, CBE (born 21 July 1934) is a British theatre and opera director, actor, author, television presenter, humourist, and medical doctor. While training in medicine, and specializing in neurology, in the late 1950s, he first came to prominence in the early 1960s with his role in the comedy revue Beyond the Fringe with fellow writers and performers Peter Cook, Dudley Moore and Alan Bennett. He began directing operas in the 1970s and has since become one of the world's leading opera directors with several classic productions to his credit. His best-known production is probably his 1982 "Mafia"-styled Rigoletto set in 1950s Little Italy, Manhattan. In its early days he was an associate director at the Royal National Theatre and later he ran the Old Vic Theatre. As writer/presenter of more than a dozen BBC documentaries, he has become a well-known television personality and familiar public intellectual in both Britain and the United States.
Miller grew up in St John's Wood, London, in a well-connected Jewish family. His father Emanuel (1892–1970), who suffered from severe rheumatoid arthritis, was a military psychiatrist, and subsequently a paediatric psychiatrist in Harley House. His mother Betty Miller (née Spiro) was a novelist and biographer. Miller's sister Sarah (died 2006) worked in television for many years and retained an involvement with Judaism that he, an atheist, has always eschewed. He was educated at Taunton School and St Paul's School, Londonwhere he developed an early (and ultimately lifelong) interest in the biological sciences. Miller studied natural sciences and medicine at St John's College, Cambridge (MB BCh, 1959), where he was a member of the Cambridge Apostles, before going on to University College London. While studying medicine, Miller was involved in the Cambridge Footlights, appearing in the revues Out of the Blue (1954) and Between the Lines (1955). Good reviews for these shows, and for Miller's performances in particular, led to him performing on a number of radio and TV shows while continuing his studies; these included appearances on Saturday Night on the Light, Tonight and Sunday Night at the London Palladium. He qualified as a medical doctor in 1959 and then worked as a hospital house officer for two years, including at the Central Middlesex Hospital as house physician for gastroenterologist Dr.(later Sir) Francis Avery Jones...
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