Sylvia Miles
Birth Date:
September 9, 1932
Birth Place:
New York, New York, USA
5' 5½" (1.66 m)
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Midnight Cowboy
Midnight Cowboy


“People will come and go, but theatrical memorabilia will never let you down as long as you keep it in clear plastic.” Sylvia Miles  

American actress Sylvia Miles is best known for her Academy Award nominated roles in John Schlesinger's “Midnight Cowboy” (1969) and Dick Richards' “Farewell My Lovely” (1975). She also offered remarkable performances in “The Funhouse” (1981), “Evil Under the Sun” (1982),  “Wall Street” (1987) and its sequel, “Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps” (2010) and “She-Devil” (1989). She picked up a New York International Independent Film & Video Festival Award for her role in “High Times Potluck” (2002). Miles also has appeared on Broadway and Off-Broadway plays. In 1973, the actress became known for dropping a plate of spaghetti on the head of film critic John Simon after he gave her a less than stellar review.

Miles has been married and divorced three times.     

Reuben Lee

Childhood and Family:

Sylvia Miles was born Sylvia Reuben Lee on September 9, 1932, in New York City, New York.  Her father, Reuben Lee, was a furniture maker. Her mother's name is Belle Lee (née Fellman). Her parents were divorced. She attended the Pratt Institute, the Actors Studio, the Dramatic Workshop of the New School for Social Research and the Group Theatre.

Sylvia has been married three times. She married her first husband, William Miles, in 1948, when she was 16 years old. The couple divorced after a two year of marriage. She married second husband Gerald Price, a NY stage actor, from 1952 until they divorced in 1958. On September 4, 1963, she married New York City radio personality Ted Brown (born May 5, 1924, died March 20, 2005), but the marriage later ended in divorce in 1970.

Sylvia has a sister who now living in Las Vegas.

Farewell, My Lovely


Sylvia Miles began as a revue comedy performer, and in 1949, she joined the touring company of “Made in Heaven.” In 1950, she made her first television appearance on a Bob Hope NBC show. She became more exposed to the theater following her marriage to NY stage actor Gerald Price during 1952-1958. Miles made her Off Broadway debut in “A Stone for Danny Fisher” in 1954, and followed by a string of supporting roles, including as Margie in  the 1956 Circle in the Square massively acclaimed production of “The Iceman Cometh,” starring Jason Robards as Hickey and directed by José Quintero.

1960 saw Miles venture to the big screen when she landed the small role of Sadie in “Murder, Inc.,” a drama/crime movie co-directed by Burt Balaban and Stuart Rosenberg and starring Stuart Whitman, May Britt and Henry Morgan. The film was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role for Peter Falk turn as Reles. The same year, she could also be seen playing Sally Rogers in a TV pilot, “Head of the Family” and  Miss Phipps in the “Play of the Week” episode, ““Uncle Harry.” In the following year, Miles got her next film role in “Parrish,” a drama directed and scripted by Delmer Daves and starring Claudette Colbert, Troy Donahue and Karl Malden. She appeared in two episodes of “Route 66,” in that same year, and in three episodes of “Naked City” between 1961 and 1963.

Miles eventually made her Broadway debut in “The Riot Act” in 1963. She reappeared on stage two years later in “Matty, and the Moron and Madonna” at the Orpheum Theatre. In between the productions, she acted on two films: “Violent Midnight” (1963), a horror film directed by Richard Hilliard and starring Lee Philips, Shepperd Strudwick and Jean Hale, and the Allen Baron drama "Terror in the City" (1964), starring Lee Grant, Richard Bray and Michael Higgins. In 1967, Miles made a guest appearance in as Mrs. Franklin in an episode of “N.Y.P.D.” called “To Catch a Hero.” She joined the Actors Studio in the following year.

Miles' screen breakthrough came when she was cast as Cass, an affluent woman who invites Joe Buck (played by Jon Voight) up to her apartment for sex, apparently unconscious that he is a prostitute in the drama film “Midnight Cowboy” (1969), which was based on the 1965 novel of the same name by James Leo Herlihy. Under the direction of John Schlesinger, she was nominated for an Academy Award in the category of Best Actress in a Supporting Role for her performance. The film won the Oscars for Best Picture, Best Director and Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium, in addition to six BAFTA Awards, a Golden Globe Award, a Berlin International Film Festival Awards, a Bodil Award, two David di Donatello Awards, a DGA Award, a Grammy Award, an Italian National Syndicate of Film Journalists Award, two Kansas City Film Critics Circle Awards, three Laurel Awards, a National Film Preservation Board Award, a National Society of Film Critics Award, a New York Film Critics Circle Award and a WGA Award.   

Miles had a small part as script clerk in the Dennis Hopper film “The Last Movie” (1971), co-starred with Red Buttons and Conrad Bain in the crime/mystery movie “Who Killed Mary Whats'ername?” (1971), directed by Ernest Pintoff, and portrayed a former Hollywood starlet named Sally Todd in “Andy Warhol's 'Heat'” (1972), opposite Joe Dallessandro and Andrea Feldman. After disappearing for a few years, she bounced back with a notable supporting turn as Jessie Halstead Florian, the drunken widow of a nightclub owner and subsequent murder victim in “Farewell, My Lovely” (1975), a neo-noir film helmed by Dick Richards and starring Robert Mitchum and Charlotte Rampling. The role brought Miles her second Academy Award nomination for Best Actress in a Supporting Role. Th same year, she also appeared with Peter Fonda, Warren Oates and Margot Kidder in the Thomas McGuane drama/comedy film “92 in the Shade.” She continued to appear in movies like “The Great Scout & Cathouse Thursday” (1976), opposite Lee Marvin, Oliver Reed and Robert Culp, Michael Winner's “The Sentinel” (1977), starring Cristina Raines, Ava Gardner and Chris Sarandon, the Don Weis directed comedy “Zero to Sixty” (1978), which she starred along with Darren McGavin and Joan Collins, and “Shalimar” (1978), a Bollywood/Hollywood co-production directed by Krishna Shah.    

Miles wrote the book and lyrics for her one woman show, “It's Me, Sylvia,” which ran at the Playhouse Theatre in 1981. The same year, she delivered a memorable turn as Madame Zena in the Tobe Hooper directed horror film “The Funhouse,” which starred Elizabeth Berridge, Shawn Carson and Jeanne Austin. In the following year, she portrayed Myra Gardener, a Broadway producer,  in the Agatha Christie murder mystery “Evil Under the Sun,” opposite Peter Ustinov, James Mason and Maggie Smith. She also had a brief recurring role as Jackie Diamond in the ABC daytime drama “All My Children.” Miles remained on the small screen throughout 1986, with roles on the 1983 TV film “No Big Deal,” where she played Principal Bellows, on an episode of “ Miami Vice” called “The Home Invaders” (1985), as Mrs. Abraham 'Murial' Goldman, on “ABC Afterschool Specials'” “Cindy Eller: A Modern Fairy Tale” (1985) and in the “The Equalizer” episode, “Out of the Past” (1986).  

Miles revisited the silver screen when she landed the supporting role of Nurse Maggie Lesser in the Michael Apted comedy film “ Critical Condition” (1987), starring Richard Pryor, Rachel Ticotin and Rubén Blades. The same year, she also portrayed Red Fairy in the family/musical film “Sleeping Beauty,” directed by David Irving and starring Tahnee Welch, Kenny Baker and Morgan Fairchild, and was cast as a real estate agent in Oliver Stone's “Wall Street,” starring Charlie Sheen, Michael Douglas and Tamara Tunie. She then worked with Amy Irving, Peter Riegert and Reizl Bozyk in the film adaptation of Susan Sandler's play,  “Crossing Delancey” (1988), directed by Joan Micklin Silver, portrayed Congresswoman in the Paul Morrissey comedy film “Spike of Bensonhurst” (1988), opposite Sasha Mitchell, Ernest Borgnine and Anne De Salvo, and appeared as Meryl Streep's annoying mother in Susan Seidelman's “She-Devil” (1989), a  film adaptation of the novel “The Life and Loves of a She-Devil” by British writer Fay Weldon.  

Miles appeared as Sharon, Gail's aunt in “Denise Calls Up”  (1995), a comedy film directed and written by Hal Salwen and starring Tim Daly, Caroleen Feeney and Dan Gunther. It was her only film appearance during the decade. Miles resumed her film career five years later by appearing in Sally Kirkland's comedy, “The Boys Behind the Desk” (2000). It was followed by a supporting role as Ma in the award winning comedy film “High Times Potluck” (2002), directed by Alison Thompson. She won  New York International Independent Film & Video Festival's Feature Film Award,for Best Supporting Actress for her work in the film. 2002 also found her making guest appearances in the television series “Sex and the City,” as Joan in the episode “Anchors Away,” and as Stella in an episode of “One Life to Live.”   

In 2003, Miles portrayed Ms. P in Frank Patterson's comedy/drama film, “Confessions of a Florist,” which won the Grand Jury Award for Best Picture at the 1999 Dances With Films, the Audience Award for Best Picture at the 1999 Marco Island Film Festival, the Audience Choice Award for Best Picture at the 1999 RiverRun International Film Festival and the Gold Award for Best Feature Film, Comedy at the 1999 WorldFest Houston.

In 2007, Miles appeared with Willem Dafoe, Bob Hoskins and Matthew Modine in “Go Go Tales,” an independent film directed and written by Abel Ferrara. The film was screened out of competition at the 2007 Cannes Film Festival.

In 2008, Miles played Mrs. Salvaggio in an episode of the ABC drama series “Life on Mars” called “ The Real Adventures of the Unreal Sam Tyler.”

In 2010, Miles reprised her turn as Realtor in Oliver Stone's  “Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps,” the sequel to 1987's “Wall Street.” The film was a success at the box office.     


New York International Independent Film & Video Festival: Feature Film Award, Best Supporting Actress, “High Times Potluck,” 2003
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