Recently, Lara Jill Miller spoke with Snakkle about fame, animation, her almost daily runs to Denny’s with Nell Carter and her new role as adorable Lambie on Doc McStuffins, which premieres on Disney Junior on Friday, March 23, at 10 a.m./9 a.m. Central.
Snakkle: What are some of your best Gimme a Break memories?
Miller: Everything. I literally enjoyed everything about that show. I had done musical theater and Broadway on the East Coast. Gimme a Break was my first audition for a television show. I auditioned in New York with a casting director who looked just like Donny Osmond. Then in a whirlwind, I was flown to Hollywood and bam, I was in a TV show. It was utterly amazing. One audition and I booked a TV show.
Snakkle: Do people recognize you from Gimme a Break? And if so, what do they usually say to you?
Miller: People do still recognize me, which I can’t believe since it’s been quite a few years. Most of the time, people just point or ask, “Aren’t you Nell’s baby?” Or I get a lot, “Aren’t you that girl from that show?” Or the old “Where do I know you?” When I say I was on a TV show, they always insist that’s not it. It’s it.
Snakkle: Why did you step away from acting? And what made you come back?
Miller: Well, after Gimme a Break, it was time to go to school. I really wanted to focus on my education and go back east to be closer to home. So I went to NYU, where I majored in politics and minored in French. I really majored in tennis. Then I went to Fordham Law School, because it was close to my agent in NYC.
Then I thought, okay, I won’t be in show business anymore. So I took the bar exam in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Meanwhile, I was still living in New York, doing shows and summer stock. I took the bar exam for New York. So I thought I would just give being a full-time lawyer a try. I was a real lawyer for a couple of years. Who was I kidding? I still loved show business. So I decided I just needed to follow my heart and my dream. If I had loved law, I would have been a great lawyer. But I didn’t love it, and you have to do what you love.
Snakkle: This brings us to your current occupation as a respected voice-over artist. What interested you in voice work?
Miller: First, listen to me. [Snakkle confirms that Miller does have an excellent voice.] When I first started in New York, I did well because I don’t have a New York accent. I could sound really young for commercials and radio. When I came to L.A., I didn’t come thinking I would do animation. I booked some on-camera stuff. I got an agent, had auditions, and got Clifford’s Puppy Days, where I voiced Clifford’s puppy. This sent me on my way.
Snakkle: Who have been your favorite costars through the years?
Miller: I loved working with Nell Carter [of Gimme a Break]. She took me under her wing. She had a puppy on-set—and I was her puppy babysitter. Across the street from our studio was a Denny’s, where we went to lunch almost every day. We’d eat fried chicken and play Ms. Pac Man.
Then on Gimme a Break, we had so many great guest stars: Whitney Houston, Sammy Davis Jr., and Helen Hunt all appeared on the show, and it was all really cool seeing everyone come through. The studio where we shot also housed Diff’rent Strokes and The Facts of Life. So we all got to hang out together, which was really fun.
In voice-over, everyone is so nice and talented, funny, and witty. You’re sitting next to a guy who’s suddenly a squirrel, then a monkey, then President of the United States. On Clifford’s Puppy Days, I sat next to the wonderful Henry Winkler for 100 episodes.
Snakkle: What are you working on now?
Miller: Right now I’m still working on Curious George, where I am Allie, a little 7-year-old with orange hair. I am about to start the second season of SciGirls on PBS, which just won an Emmy.
This brings me to my latest project for Disney Junior, Doc McStuffins. Chris Nee, the creator of Doc, wrote some episodes of SciGirls. In Doc, I play the Lambie, Doc’s best friend, who loves to cuddle. I’m very excited about the songs on this show, because every week there’s original music. It’s really catchy. I dare anyone to watch the shows and not have the songs stick in their head!
Check out Miller as lovable Lambie on Doc McStuffins, which premieres on Disney Junior on Friday, March 23, at 10 a.m./9 a.m. Central.