On Tuesday April 22nd at 3:00 p.m., my friend and co-publisher Stephan Miller was killed in a terrible tragedy, which is truly unbelievable. The phone call came to me while I was at a party for Girls Gone Wild, in Hollywood. A friend of Stephan’s sobbed into the phone, “Stephan was killed.” I fell apart. Stephan Miller? Gone? Are you kidding me?! But in a flash his life was extinguished at thirty-nine (just two weeks short of his 40th birthday).
Stephan, who had a background in animal training, was at his cousin's training facility, Predators In Action, when he was bit on the neck by a seven foot 700-pound grizzly bear he had raised from a cub. Stephan was the first person ever killed by a grizzly bear in California. You can read more about the story here: cbs2.com
I am deeply saddened by this loss of my friend who helped me turn my dream of making Girls and Corpses Magazine from a successful web magazine into a print magazine.
Stephan loved animals and especially the bear that wound up killing him, Rocky. Stephan loved bears so much that he was planning on getting a large tattoo for his 40th birthday next week, of a bear battling a man with a knife. (See attached photo of Tattoo artwork by Darren Frydendall). The tattoo was going to be on Stephan’s arm and back.
On April 27th, my friend and co-publisher "Skully" was laid to rest. It was a sobering and deeply painful funeral. I still can't believe it, nor can anyone who knew him. My thoughts and wishes go out to Stephan's wife and young son and daughter. What great kids he left behind.
Stephan was a lightning bolt of energy and enthusiasm. Longhaired, with tattoos and skull rings, he was exceptionally business savvy, a visionary and true entrepreneur. I met Stephan at the Fangoria convention several years ago where he told me that he wanted to help me and my magazine segue from a successful internet publication into a legit print magazine. It wasn't until a year later at the Haunt-X convention, when he approached me again, that I realized that Stephan wasn't one to give up easily. Now this crazy magazine I dreamed up, Girls and Corpses, is no easy pitch and combines horror and comedy in a way never before seen in print. Starting a business is never easy and there were and are many challenges. But I'll never forget the look in Stephan's eyes when the premiere magazine arrived, after we waited all day for the postman to deliver the first box. Today, Girls and Corpses Magazine is distributed on newsstands in the U.S. and Canada.
Stephan and I had a lot of good times and meals and screenings and conventions and many events and memories we shared together. I was at the Fangoria convention again last weekend where Stephan was supposed to be sitting by my side. How odd that I met Stephan at Fangoria and now just two years later he was gone and there was an empty seat by my side.
I really didn't want to do the Fangoria convention without Stephan but many friends who knew Stephan said that he would want the show to go on. So, I printed a memorial shirt in Stephan's honor, which we sold at the booth and I will donate the profits to the Stephan Miller Memorial fund to go to his wonderful, bright kids Liam and Katelin. On the sleeve of the t-shirt, I had Stephan's company logo added with the initials 'SM' and 'RIP.'
There were so many people who came up to the booth at Fangoria to see the memorial on the table to Stephan and have a chance to say what he meant to them.
I will miss you Stephan and I was glad we had this short time together on earth. I have been enriched by you, learned from you and will carry these memories with me forever.
Girls and Corpses Magazine will go on in your memory Stephan, with the next issue dedicated to you.
Robert Steven Rhine
Girls and Corpses Magazine
Here's how to donate to the Stephan Miller family
Stephan's family is very grateful for all of your prayers and kind words of sympathy. A memorial fund has been set up for his children, Liam and Katelin. If you would like to send money to help the family it should go to:
The Stephan Miller Children's Memorial Fund
16654 Soledad Canyon Road 171
Canyon Country, CA 91387
Or you can make a deposit directly at
Washington Mutual Bank
16520 Soledad Canyon Road
Canyon Country, CA 91387
Stephan Miller Children's Memorial Fund
Stephan Miller (under the pink umbrella) beside actress Sheri Moon Zombie,
two years before his death
©2008 (reprinted only with permission of author)