Golden Globe nominated actress Penelope Ann Miller got her start starring as Daisy on Broadway in Neil Simon's “Biloxi Blues” (1985), a role she reprised in the film adaptation of the play in 1988. She took home a Tony nomination for her portrayal of Emily Webb in a revival of Thornton Wilder's “Our Town” (1989). Sometimes credited as Penelope Miller, the Los Angeles native had her first taste in front of the film cameras playing Brenda in Chris Columbus' “Adventures in Babysitting” (1987) and won a Chicago Film Critics Association Award for her performance in Andrew Bergman's “The Freshman” (1990), which reunited her with “Biloxi Blues” costar Matthew Broderick. She, however, did not receive her Golden Globe nomination until she was cast as Gail in Brian De Palma’s “Carlito's Way” (1993), starring Al Pacino. She went on to receive Saturn nominations for her acting in “The Shadow” (1994) and “The Relic” (1997) and a Hollywood Film Festival Award for the TV film “Rhapsody in Bloom” (1998). Miller's more recent and upcoming film credits include “Along Came a Spider” (2001), “Funny Money” (2006), “The Messengers” (2007), “Blonde Ambition” (2007), “Free Style” (2008), “Saving Grace B. Jones” (2009), “Flipped” (2010) and “Robosapien: Rebooted” (2010). Miller has also appeared in the television series “The Popcorn Kid” (6 episodes, 1987), “The Closer” (5 episodes, 1998), “A Minute with Stan Hooper” (2003), “Vanished” (9 episodes, 2006) and “Men of a Certain Age” (6 episodes, 2009-2010).
Miller has been married twice. She and her husband James Patrick Huggins have two daughters. She was previously married to actor Will Arnett (together from 1994 to 1995). Her love life has also been linked to actors Al Pacino, Matthew Broderick and Woody Harrelson.
Childhood and Family:
Penelope Andrea Miller, professionally known as Penelope Ann Miller, was born on January 13, 1964, in Los Angeles, California, to Mark Miller (born on November 20, 1925), an actor best known for his starring role in the 1960s television sitcom “Please Don't Eat the Daisies,” and Beatrice Miller, a costume designer and publicist. Her parents divorced in 1974 when she was 10 years old. She has two sisters, Marisa Miller (older), who is also an actress and a set decorator, and Savannah Miller (younger), a social worker. Her stepmother is actress Barbara Stanger (born on May 25, 1949), who has been married to her father since December 1976. Penelope attended Menlo College in Menlo Park, California, but quit after a year to train with acting coach Herbert Berghof at the HB Studio in New York City.
On December 9, 1994, Penelope married Canadian actor Will Arnett (born on May 4, 1970), but they divorced in 1995. She then married James Patrick Huggins on May 28, 2000. The couple's first child, daughter Eloisa May Huggins, was born on December 10, 2000. Their second daughter, Maria Adela Huggins, was born on March 23, 2009.
The daughter of an actor, Penelope Ann Miller left Los Angeles to study theater in New York City when she was 18. Her first break arrived a few years later when she got the lead role of Daisy Hannigan in the Broadway production of Neil Simon's “Biloxi Blues,” opposite Matthew Broderick as Eugene Morris Jerome. The production, under the direction of Gene Saks, ran for 524 performances during March 1985 to June 1986 and won Tony awards for Best Play, Best Direction of a Play and Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Play.
On television, Miller appeared as Keena in a 1985 episode of “Tales from the Darkside” called “Ring around the Redhead,” followed by guest spots in “The Facts of Life” and “Family Ties” (both 1987). She then landed a role on the short lived CBS sitcom “The Popcorn Kid” (1987), where she portrayed Gwen Stottlemeyer. After the show's demise, she made guest appearances in “Miami Vice” and “St. Elsewhere” (1987). Still in 1987, Miller made her film debut with “Adventures in Babysitting,” a comedy written by David Simkins that was directed by Chris Columbus. After a film role in 1987's “Hotshot,” she reprised her stage role of Daisy in the big screen adaptation of “Biloxi Blues” (1988), again with Broderick. The film, directed by Mike Nichols, opened at No. 1 at the box office.
Next, Miller costarred with Paul Reubens, Valeria Golino and Kris Kristofferson in “Big Top Pee-wee” (1988), a sequel to the 1985 comedy “Pee-wee's Big Adventure,” played Sally in the movie “Miles from Home” (1988), which starred Richard Gere and was directed by Gary Sinise, and starred with Don Johnson in John Frankenheimer's action thriller “Dead Bang” (1989). In addition, she worked with Rita Moreno and D.W. Moffett in the made for TV film “Tales from the Hollywood Hills: Closed Set” (1988) and starred as Emily Webb in a Broadway revival of Thornton Wilder's “Our Town” (1989), where she was nominated for a Tony Award for her performance. The play earned an additional four Tony nominations and won one in the category of Best Revival. It was broadcasted on PBS later that same year as part of the “Great Performances” series.
Miller appeared in four films in 1990. She first teamed up with Anthony Edwards, Forest Whitaker and Joe Pantoliano for the cop action film “Downtown,” for director Richard Benjamin, was cast as Marlon Brando's daughter, Tina Sabatini, in Andrew Bergman's “The Freshman,” which also marked a reunion with Matthew Broderick, and supported Robert De Niro, Robin Williams and John Heard in Penny Marshall's Academy Award nominated drama “Awakenings,” based on the 1973 memoir of the same name by Oliver Sacks. Her good performance in “The Freshman” earned a 1991 Chicago Film Critics Association for Emerging Actress. She also memorably portrayed Arnold Schwarzenegger's love interest, Joyce Palmieri, on the Ivan Reitman comedy “Kindergarten Cop.” Following a guest stint in the TV series “Morton & Hayes” (1991), she played the stepdaughter of Gregory Peck, a lawyer named Kate Sullivan, in “Other People's Money” (1991), a Norman Jewison film adaptation of the play of the same name by Jerry Sterner, starred with Timothy Daly in the Peter Yates comedy “Year of the Comet” (1992) and portrayed Mrs. Elizabeth Perkins, a neglected, small town librarian who confesses to a murder she did not commit in order to get attention, in Allan Moyle's “The Gun in Betty Lou's Handbag” (1992). In 1992, Miller also gave a notable performance as silent screen actress Edna Purviance in the biographical film “Chaplin,” which starred Robert Downey Jr. as the legendary comedian Charlie Chaplin. She was then cast as Carlito's girlfriend Gail in “Carlito's Way” (1993), a crime film adapted from the novels “Carlito's Way” and “After Hours” by Judge Edwin Torre with a screenplay by David Koepp. Under the direction of Brian De Palma, she received a 1994 Golden Globe nomination in the category of Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture for her effort. The film starred Al Pacino and Sean Penn and garnered mixed reviews from critics.
Miller next played an affluent socialite named Margo Lane in the Alec Baldwin starring vehicle “The Shadow” (1994), which reunited her with “Carlito's Way” writer David Koepp, and was nominated for a Saturn Award for Best Actress for her performance. The same year, she starred opposite Dennis Hopper in the HBO film “Witch Hunt” (1994). After her divorce from actor Will Arnett, she disappeared from the screen for a time and resurfaced in 1997 when she took on the role of Dr. Margo Green in the big budget horror film “The Relic,” for which she earned her next Saturn nomination. The film’s cast also included Tom Sizemore, Linda Hunt and James Whitmore. It was followed by a costarring role opposite Jon Bon Jovi in “Little City” (1997) for filmmaker Roberto Benabib, a featured role on the CBS miniseries “The Last Don” (1997), an adaptation of Mario Puzo's novel of the same name, and a starring role in the Lifetime movie “The Hired Heart” (1997).
Miller maintained her small screen presence throughout the late 1990s with performances in such TV films as “Merry Christmas, George Bailey” (PBS, 1997), “Rhapsody in Bloom” (1998), from which she won a Hollywood Film Festival Special Jury Award for Best Acting in a Feature for her portrayal of artist Lilah Bloom, “Ruby Bridges” (ABC, 1998) and “Rocky Marciano” (1999). She also played Erica Hewit in the Tom Selleck short lived sitcom “The Closer” (CBS, 1998). On the big screen, she supported Bridget Fonda and Kiefer Sutherland in the thriller “Break Up” (1998), Robert Forster and Kevin Pollak in J.S. Cardone's “Outside Ozona” (1998) and Dylan Walsh and Laurel Holloman in the independent film “Chapter Zero” (1999).
In 2000, Miller was cast as a scandalous teacher in the USA Network TV film “Mary Kay Letourneau: All American Girl” (2000) and costarred with Kim Coates and Daniel Baldwin in Showtime's “Killing Moon” (2000). She then portrayed the wife of David James Elliott in “Dodson's Journe” (CBS, 2001), costarred with Angus Macfadyen in “A Woman's a Helluva Thing” (Showtime, 2001), portrayed Dr. Gillian Hayes in “Dead in a Heartbeat” (TNT, 2002), and starred with Reed Diamond and Doug Clifson in “Scared Silent” (Lifetime, 2002). She also took on the role of Donna Hanover in the biopic “Rudy: The Rudy Giuliani Story” (USA Network, 2003), worked with Bryan Cranston and Judge Reinhold in “Thanksgiving Family Reunion” (TBS, 2003), starred as Harriet in “Carry Me Home” (Showtime, 2004) and played attorney Bonnie Locke in “Personal Effects” (Lifetime, 2005). In addition, she played Lucy Valdon in a two part episode of the A&E series “A Nero Wolfe Mystery” (2002), appeared in an episode of “CSI: New York” (2005) and as Fran Ferrara in the “Desperate Housewives” episode “Coming Home” (2005). She next received the role of Molly Hooper in the short lived Fox sitcom “A Minute with Stan Hooper” (2003), which was co-created by and starred Norm Macdonald. Miller irregularly revisited the cinematic industry with roles in “Forever Lulu” (2000), starring Melanie Griffith, costarred with Fred Ward, Christopher Plummer and Rachel Ticotin in the thriller “Full Disclosure” (2001), and had a supporting role in “Along Came a Spider” (2001), a mystery film adapted from James Patterson's 1993 novel of the same title.
In 2006, Miller was cast as Jessica Nevins in the Fox’s “Vanished,” opposite Gale Harold, Eddie Cibrian, John Allen Nelson, Joanne Kelly, Margarita Levieva, John Patrick Amedori, Christopher Egan, Robert Hoffman, Ming-Na and Rebecca Gayheart. The same year, she also starred as Laura Martin in the thriller “The Deal,” helmed by Bryan Goeres, and starred with Chevy Chase in the feature film adaptation of Ray Cooney's “Funny Money,” which was directed by Leslie Greif. During the following years, she starred with Kristen Stewart, Dylan McDermott and John Corbett in “The Messengers” (2007), a supernatural thriller by the Pang Brothers, played Debra in the Scott Marshall directed “Blonde Ambition” (2007), and appeared in “Free Style” (2008), starring Corbin Bleu. Still in 2008, she played a supporting role in the TV film “The Deadliest Lesson.”
Miller next portrayed Sonia Tranelli in the first season of TNT series “Men of a Certain Age” from December 2009 to February 2010, and Bea Bretthorse in “Saving Grace B. Jones” (2009), a drama written and directed by Connie Stevens. Costars of the film included Michael Biehn, Tatum O'Neal, Joel Gretsch and Evie Thompson. She is set to play Trina Baker in Rob Reiner's “Flipped” and will star as Joanna in director Sean McNamara's “Robosapien: Rebooted” (2010).
Hollywood Film Festival: Special Jury Award, Best Acting in a Feature, “Rhapsody in Bloom,” 1998
Chicago Film Critics Association (CFCA): Emerging Actress, “The Freshman,” 1991