Miller was a British physician, theatre and opera director and television
Miller grew up in Hampstead in a well connected Jewish family -
his father Emanuel (1892-1970) was a psychiatrist specialising in
child development and his mother Betty (née Spiro) (1910-65)
was a novelist and biographer.
natural sciences and medicine at St John's College at the University
of Cambridge and University College London, graduating in 1959 and
worked as a hospital doctor for the next two years. He was, however,
also involved in the university drama society and the Cambridge
Footlights and in 1960 he helped write and produce 'Beyond the Fringe'
at the Edinburgh Festival which launched the careers of Alan Bennett,
Peter Cook and Dudley Moore.
quit the show shortly after its move to New York and took over
as editor and presenter of the BBC's flagship arts programme "Monitor".
In 1966 he wrote, produced and directed a play of Alice in Wonderland
for the BBC.
the later 1960s he had a major falling out with the magazine Private
Eye that Miller accounts to implicit anti-semitism.
the 1970s he started directing and producing operas for the Kent
Opera and Glyndebourne, with a new production of The Marriage
of Figaro for English National Opera in 1978. He has now become
one of the world's leading opera directors. At the same time he
held a research fellowship in the history of medicine at University
of his work for television has been for the BBC, starting by producing
a series of 12 Shakespeare plays between 1980-82. He also wrote
and presented several factual series drawing on his experience
as a physician, for example 'The Body in Question' 1978 (which
caused some controversy for showing the dissection of a cadaver),
'States of Mind' 1983, 'Who Cares' and 'Born Talking'.
2004 he wrote and presented a series on atheism, 'Atheism: A Rough
History of Disbelief' (on-screen title; but more commonly referred
to as 'Jonathan Miller's Brief History of Disbelief') for BBC
Four TV, exploring the roots of his own lack of belief and investigating
the history of atheism. Individual conversations, debates and
discussions for the series that could not be included, due to
time constraints - were individually aired in a six-part series
entited The Atheism Tapes. He is also an Honorary Associate of
the National Secular Society.
is a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (1983), a Fellow
of the Royal College of Physicians in London and Edinburgh and
a Foreign Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
He was knighted in 2002.
the film for television Not Only But Always about the careers
of Peter Cook and Dudley Moore, Jonathan Aris played Jonathan
Miller as a young man.