Sun | May 24, 2020

Legendary entertainer Count Prince Miller dies

Published:Thursday | August 16, 2018 | 12:00 AM
Clarence 'Count Prince' Miller (right) receives his Order of Distinction, Officer Class, from then Governor General Sir Kenneth Hall at the National Indoor Sports Centre in 2007.
Former Jamaican High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, presenting an award to entertainer Clarence 'Count Prince' Miller at the 2012 Friends of the Caribbean Charity Ball.

Legendary entertainer Clarence ‘Count Prince’ Miller, died this morning in London, England today from cancer. He was 83 years old. 

Count Prince was a giant of Jamaican entertainment. Whether its for his iconic record Mule-train, his pivotal role in the ground-breaking Caribbean Music Festivals at Wembley in 1969 and 1970, his association with the James Bond movies, or a score of musical, compère or acting, Miller was at the core of Jamaican entertainment for over six decades.

Born in Port Maria, St Mary in 1935, the trained laboratory assistant decided that his future was in music. It was the filming of the James Bond film “Dr No” in Jamaica, that sparked the interest of the England entertainment industry in the music of the island. Count Prince’s appearance in the film in which he played a frenzied nightclub dancer, had a great influence on his career. Based on the strength of that performance, he was invited to England.

Count Prince went to London with Jimmy James and the Vagabonds in the early 1960s. The Vagabonds toured extensively in England, and throughout Europe. Count Prince was an easily recognisable figure in the London-based black club scene of the 1960s.

His most iconic song was Mule-Train, which he and producer Ed Lewis, changed from the ballad associated with Frankie Laine into a full throttle number for Count Prince's powerful vocals, and provided the images of some powerful album covers and, more recently, videos.

Count Prince’s energy and showmanship, which has been described as being “the spark that ignites our social moods”, was the only possible person who could compère the Caribbean Music Festival extravaganza at the Empire Pool, Wembley on September 21, 1969. It was the first time that the leading stars of West Indian music, then riding the crest of reggae popularity, had been brought together on the same stage.

Count Prince was a proud Jamaican and the government recognised his contribution to the Jamaican entertainment industry when he awarded the Order of Distinction (Officer Class) from Governor-General Sir Kenneth Hall in 2007.

Fomer band mate Jimmy James, said, “I am so sad to hear of the passing of Clarence ‘Count Prince’ Miller, who had been my lifelong friend since we came to the UK together as members of The Vagabonds band well over 50 years ago. Not only was Count Prince an enjoyable person to be with, but he was an entertainer extraordinaire in his own right. His craft was exceptional when we performed in the clubs in the 1960s and 70s, and he later showed us the range of his talent when he ventured into television and film. He was a giant among men.”

Count Prince Miller is survived by his son Jean-Pierre Miller