Earl Miller

A man smoking a pipe.

Courtesy FDR Library

Quick Facts
Navy Officer, New York State Trooper, and Bodyguard and Confidant of Eleanor Roosevelt
Place of Birth:
Schenectady, NY
Date of Birth:
May 9, 1897
Place of Death:
Hollywood, FL
Date of Death:
May 2, 1973
Place of Burial:
Cemetery Name:
Ashes Scattered at Sea

Earl Miller was escort, companion, and confidant of Eleanor Roosevelt from 1928 until her death in 1962. A New York state trooper, Miller was assigned to the Executive Mansion in Albany in 1928 and accompanied Eleanor Roosevelt on her tours of state prisons and other institutions. He became a lifelong friend.

Miller was homeless by the age of 12 and held a variety of jobs throughout his life including, stuntman, prison warden, boxer and acrobat. After FDR was elected president in 1932, he appointed Miller director of personnel for New York state's Department of Correction. In World War II, Miller served as a lieutenant commander in the Navy and became the director of physical training at the Naval Air Station in Pensacola, Florida.

Miller was completely devoted to Eleanor. Handsome and athletic, he gave her riding lessons (and later bought her a chestnut mare named Dot), coached her in tennis and swimming, taught her to shoot a pistol, and generally built her confidence. Eleanor came to rely on Miller, perhaps even held romantic feelings for him. Her son James described the relationship as possibly "the one real romance in mother's life outside of marriage." She always kept a room for him wherever she lived. Numerous framed photos of Miller decorated the rooms of Val-Kill and Eleanor's New York City apartment.

Miller was married three times and had two children—Eleanor and Earl Jr. He died on May 2, 1973 in Hollywood, Florida.

Eleanor Roosevelt National Historic Site

Last updated: March 26, 2020