Gregg Miller
Gregg Miller

Gregg Miller, who led the art department at the Los Angeles Daily News where he worked for almost 20 years, has died.

He was 57.

Miller died in his sleep Saturday in his Woodland Hills home, his wife, Dyan Miller, said.

Born in Los Angeles, Miller grew up in and around the San Fernando Valley. After he graduated from Chatsworth High School, he worked his way up at a fabric store, from clerk to having partial ownership of the shop. Later, he and Dyan would open their own fabric store.

But art always called out to Miller, whose uncle was the accomplished painter Marvin Harden.

"Artistic abilities just run in the family," Dyan Miller said.

Miller joined the Daily News in 1988. He began running errands and worked his way up to manager overseeing the "copy kids" in the newsroom, his wife said.

"He talked to the art director at that time and showed interest," Dyan Miller said. "The art director had him do some work and he got on-the-job training."

Miller again worked his way up and became an assistant art director, then art director. He was laid off in January 2009 amid multiple staff cuts at the paper.

"He was a funny, professional, talented artist," said Daily News columnist Dennis McCarthy, who was Miller's friend. "We were so lucky to have him for as many years as we did."

McCarthy said Miller brought a creative element to the newsroom and produced some of the paper's most eye-catching front-page graphics.

Miller met Dyan when they were both 15 years old. She lived in Arizona and was visiting family in the San Fernando Valley one summer. They were pen pals for four years before he proposed and they married on June 21, 1973.

"He was an exceptional husband," she said. "And he was very talented. He did a lot of drawings on the computer. It was amazing to watch him work. I have his artwork all on my walls."

Plans for a memorial service are pending.