Death of Milland's son ruled suicide

March 26, 1981
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LOS ANGELES -- The only son of Oscar-winning actor Ray Milland committed suicide with a shotgun blast to his head in the latest violent death to strike the family of a Hollywood celebrity.

The body of Daniel Milland, 41, was discovered Tuesday night in a West Los Angeles duplex he shared with two women.

A .22-caliber AK-7 'survival rifle' lay beside him on his bed and he had a wound in his head. No suicide note was found.

Senior Coroner's Investigator John W. Finken said an autopsy Wednesday confirmed the death was a suicide. A spokesman for Milland's 74-year-old actor-father said he would have no comment on his son's death.

'The roommates said he had been drinking heavily and was intoxicated when they last talked to him the night before,' Detective Lee Kingsford said.

Kingsford said Milland was unemployed. He added Milland's two roomates, Jacqueline May and Valerie Hartnett, said he had difficulty holding a job.

The death of Milland's son came five months after Mary Tyler Moore's only son accidentally shot and killed himself in a Los Angeles house he shared with two young women.

An autopsy disclosed Richard Carlton Meeker Jr., 24, died Oct. 14 when he somehow triggered his sawed-off shotgun while talking to his roommate.

The young Milland had a history of drug abuse. He pleaded guilty in 1966 to a charge of heroin possession in Santa Barbara, Calif., and was arrested the same year in neighboring Ventura County for forging prescriptions to obtain narcotics.

In 1965, Milland said his son was attempting to become an actor, but when he was arrested on the drug charges he was working as a salesman in a men's clothing store.

The elder Milland won an Academy Award for best actor for his portrayal of an alcoholic writer in the 1945 film 'Lost Weekend.' He also gained critical praise for the role of a father seeking to establish a relationship with his son in the movie 'Love Story.'

During his long film career in more than 120 movies, the elder Milland also appeared in such well-known films as 'Dial M For Murder,' 'The Glass Key,' 'Beau Geste' and 'The Big Clock.'

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