Warren Miller - Sport Builder - 1995
“All of a sudden, I was being invited to free tuna casserole dinners if I’d bring my projector and show the films.” So said Warren Miller about the start of his filming career shortly after being discharged from the Navy in 1940, purchasing an 8mm camera and shooting shots of his friends skiing and surfing. Legendary skier, filmmaker, artist, and more recently, newspaper columnist and book author, Warren Miller has established himself as a unique American icon who is a constant source of inspiration to everyone who meets him, young and old. Born and raised in Hollywood, California during the Depression, Warren took his early inspiration from Walt Disney, who was on eleven-year-old Warren’s newspaper route. It was Disney’s critics-be-damned attitude that at least partially inspired Miller to follow his dreams. In fact, Warren’s signature emulates that of the late Disney. Since that fateful day in 1937 when he traded $2 and a pair of roller skates for his first set of Spalding pine skis, he has lived a life of which most of us can only dream. His adventurous spirit has led him to almost every ski mountain in the world that has a chairlift (and several accessible only by helicopter) en-route to the unparalleled success of having produced 500 movies, including a profitable, feature length film each year for the past 45 years: a reputation no Hollywood producer can match. A little luck helped Warren achieve his goals. After too many tuna casserole dinners, Warren decided he needed a Bell and Howell camera but did not have the money to purchase it. Luckily for Warren, Chuck Percy, then president of Bell and Howell, and Hal Geneen, comptroller of the company were Warren’s ski students at Sun Valley. The men advanced Warren the use of the camera until he could pay for it, which he did three years later. With the camera in hand, Warren’s professional movie-making career was born. The hallmark of a Warren Miller movie is plenty of powder snow shots, radical skiing, and Warren’s own brand of humor mixed with his opinions of a world skiing slightly off-piste. The films are typically shot in exotic mountain locations with unsurpassed cinematography. Warren traveled thousands of miles every year, skied hundreds of miles, and met amazing people, who like him, believed the freedom one experiences skiing is the best feeling in the world. Through Warren’s movies, he brings that sense of freedom to anyone who watches his films. Warren writes, plans and visits with friends whenever possible. He and his stepson, Colin Kaufmann, have developed the Warren Miller Freedom Foundation to teach ethical principles of business and entrepreneurship to young people. Warren enjoys giving back to tomorrow’s entrepreneurs whenever he can.