Los Angeles, CA - December 11, 2014 - AIDS Project Los Angeles
AIDS Project Los Angeles (APLA) mourns the death of former APLA Board Chair Dana Miller. Miller, who was well-known for his work in the LGBT and HIV/AIDS communities in Los Angeles, died this past week in South Pasadena, CA. He was 59.
Miller joined APLA’s board of directors in the early 1990s and served as fund development chair before becoming board chair—a position he held from 1994 to 1997. His passionate work with and on behalf of APLA took many forms for over 20 years. He was well-known for producing the seventh through 11th installments of APLA’s annual “Commitment to Life” benefit, an event Dame Elizabeth Taylor created, driven by her personal belief that something had to be done to help in the fight against AIDS. During that time the benefit honored many celebrities and notable public figures, including Hillary Clinton, Tom Hanks, Rosie O’Donnell, Gerald Levine, Nathan Lane, and Janet Jackson, to name just a few.
In fact, Miller was instrumental in galvanizing Hollywood to respond to the AIDS epidemic at a time when the disease was devastating gay America and fund raising around the issue was not popular. He was a driving force in rallying entertainment industry leaders such as David Geffen, Jeffrey Katzenberg, Barry Diller, Steve Tisch, Ron Meyer, and Sandy Gallin to the cause and, by extension, some of the biggest and brightest Hollywood stars, political leaders, and corporate titans.
“For over 20 years Dana Miller was a powerful voice for people living with HIV/AIDS and those at high risk—blending his unique skills as a producer and a consensus builder and raising tens of millions of dollars, as well as unprecedented awareness,” APLA and APLA Health & Wellness CEO Craig E. Thompson says. “There was no idea or fundraising event that was too big or too small for Dana. He was interested in anything that could help our community.”
Another of Miller’s initiatives that has made a lasting impact is his work as the unofficial “Santa” for the annual Toy Box Party, which collects toys for APLA clients and their families during the holiday season. Every year, Miller would bring friends and colleagues—or “Elves”—together to get the word out and make an appeal for the toy drive. He was organizing the 19th annual Toy Box Party when he passed away.
Miller produced or co-produced numerous additional events that benefitted APLA over the last two decades, including “The Concert – 20 Years of AIDS,” which also benefitted the Elton John AIDS Foundation and featured John, Sting, Alicia Keyes, Rufus Wainwright, and others; APLA’s Summer Party; and “30 Heroes for 30 Years,” which was held at Ron Burkle’s estate.
To his partner, Brody Darren Robertson, as well as family and large circle of friends, APLA extends its deepest condolences on the loss of a tireless champion for the Los Angeles LGBT community and people living with HIV/AIDS.