Susan Miller, A&C radio vocalist, dies at 98

Susan Miller, vocalist on Abbott and Costello’s ABC radio program for the 1947-1948 season, passed away August 26 in Phoenix, Arizona. She was 98.

Born in Clark’s Summit, Penn., on March 13, 1920, Miller won a radio contest in Scranton shortly after graduating high school. She toured with Earl Carroll’s Vanities, and in 1941 appeared on the Rudy Vallee radio show. She was signed by Universal and made her film debut in Swing It Soldier (1941), then had a larger role as Margaret Dumont’s virginal daughter, Ouilotta, in the W.C. Fields classic Never Give a Sucker an Even Break (1941). She also had a bit part in Olsen and Johnson’s film version of Hellzapoppin’ (1941).

The following year Miller appeared on Broadway in two short-lived musicals, George Abbott’s “Beat the Band,” and “For Your Pleasure.” During the war she did nightclub, hotel and stage show gigs. Her reviews were usually very good.

In October 1947 she became the featured vocalist on Abbott and Costello’s pre-recorded radio program on ABC. (The team had switched networks after five years at NBC.) Miller sang and often traded dialogue with the boys. In a review of the program’s first episode, Variety wrote, “This girl, whose outstanding quality is her warmth, not only knows her way around a pop number but she’s exceptionally deft with the lines.”

After her last film, An Innocent Affair (1948), she spent the next 52 years performing in supper clubs, local theatre, and her own one woman show. Following her 80th birthday she retired and lived with her two younger siblings in a retirement complex in Phoenix. She never married nor had any children.

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