Geoff Miller, Los Angeles Magazine co-founder and editor was 74 *

Geoff-Miller-portrait---198.jpgGeoff Miller was the first editor of Los Angeles, starting in 1960 when it was called The Prompter, and in 1990 became the magazine's publisher. He retired in 1994. Miller died today at home in Los Angeles of progressive supranuclear palsy, The Wrap reports. (Lew Harris, who succeeded Miller as editor of the magazine, is managing editor of The Wrap.)

Born on August 1, 1936, Miller was developing an urban arts magazine while getting his Masters in journalism at UCLA when he met David Brown, an ad executive with an idea for a magazine that would celebrate their native city and highlight its offerings.

They launched The Prompter in the summer of 1960 for just $50,000; six months later the name was changed to Los Angeles Magazine. Brown left the magazine in 1974.

Despite a shoestring budget, Los Angeles Magazine still managed to attract top writers. Regular contributors included Jim Murray, Charles Champlin and Art Seidenbaum, together with occasional pieces from brand name writers like Robert Towne, Ray Bradbury, Joseph Wambaugh, Harlan Ellison, Caroline See and Budd Schulberg.

Miler said they got them to agree to do some of their best work for almost no money by providing them with a journalistic freedom they rarely found in other publications of the day -- as well as with frequent three-martini lunches.

Los Angeles pioneered the use of celebrity covers in the early 1970s, portraying top film and TV stars as fellow residents of the city, often talking them into spoofing themselves in a good-natured way in photos themed around special features of the magazine like dining out and weekend travel guides.

Also this: "Miller took pride in the fact that Los Angeles outlasted many worthy and often better-financed competitors that were spawned by his magazine's success, including New West, founded by New York magazine editor Clay Felker; LA Style; California; and Buzz. He attributed that to other publications' tendency to misread the L.A. landscape -- and thus often too New York focused."

* Fixed: The Wrap updated its birth date and age for Miller.

1989 photo of Miller from Warren Morse

More by Kevin Roderick:
Ralph Lawler of the Clippers and the age of Aquarius
Riding the Expo Line to USC 'just magical'
Last bastion of free parking? Loyola Marymount to charge students
Matt Kemp, Dodgers and Kings start big weekend the right way
LA Times writers revisit their '92 riots observations
Recent Magazines stories on LA Observed:
Balboa Island has to decide if it believes in global warming
Q&A with Griffith Observatory curator Laura Danly
Campaign 2012: The view from over there
Los Angeles mag a finalist for two Ellies
Architecture critic Paul Goldberger jumps to Vanity Fair

New at LA Observed
Follow us on Twitter

On the Media Page
Go to Media
On the Politics Page
Go to Politics

LA Biz Observed
Arts and culture

Sign up for daily email from LA Observed

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

LA Observed on Twitter and Facebook