What the Hell Happened to Penelope Ann Miller?
Once upon a time, she was Hollywood’s “It” Girl. All signs pointed to Penelope Ann Miller being a household name. She was beautiful, talented and sought-after by casting agents. She appeared opposite De Niro, Pacino and Brando. And yet, somehow the A-list eluded her grasp.
What the hell happened?
Penelope Ann Miller started off as a stage actress. She got her big break opposite Matthew Broderick in Neil Simon’s Biloxi Blues. Biloxi is the middle chapter in Simon’s “Eugene trilogy”. The play was a big hit. Three years later, Broderick and Miller would reprise their roles for a film adaptation.
Off stage, Miller and Broderick were a couple. Miller described Broderick as her “first love”. She also had a relationship with an understudy, Woody Harrelson.
Miller made the leap to the big screen as Elisabeth Shue’s best friend in Chris Columbus’ 1987 comedy, Adventures in Babysitting.
As you can see from the still above, it wasn’t exactly a glamorous role. Miller was required to freak out in pretty much every scene. But she did it excellently.
In the mid-80’s it was practically a rite of passage for young actresses to guest star on Miami Vice. In 1987, Miller appeared in an episode entitled “Death and the Lady.” She appeared on several other shows as well as she paid her dues.
In 1998, Miller had a couple of high-profile roles. She was reprised her role Matthew Broderick’s fresh-faced love interest in Mike Nichol’s adaptation of Biloxi Blues.
It was a prestigious project, but Miller’s role is pretty small. Biloxi Blues is all about the soldiers.
Off-screen, Miller and Broderick were dating.
The same year, Miller also appeared as Paul Reubens’ fiancée in the follow-up to Pee Wee’s Big Adventure, Big Top Pee Wee.
Big Top Pee Wee was nicknamed, Big Flop Pee Wee when it was released. It answered the question: What do you get when you make a Pee Wee Herman movie without Tim Burton?
Later that year, Miller appeared in the drama, Miles from Home. Miles was directed by Gary Sinese and co-starred Richard Gere and Helen Hunt.