Author: Steven Applebaum (Redstar)
September 20, 2010
Of the many characters in Super Mario Bros. The Movie, perhaps none other is as often spoken of as the briefly seen street vendor. As portrayed by actor Mark Jeffrey Miller, the street vendor offers such food as the "spoiled spiny burger," "fried tweeter," and "little wiggler," thus providing some of the most obvious references to the game series the movie was adapted from.
Born June 9, 1953 in Terre Haute, Indiana, Mark is a prolific and skillful actor that has appeared in over 100 films and television series. Mark began acting in 1985 in the show Sparks and was a series regular until 1989. His first film role would be in the 1988 movie Bull Durham, as an uncredited grounds crewsman. He would continue to act in a variety of television and film roles, including as a technician in the 1990 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, a film in much the same category as his later Super Mario Bros.
Mark first heard of Super Mario Bros. through his agent and initially auditioned for the role of a guard along with fellow actor Jeff Pillars. They provided an improvisational audition and were so hilarious and enjoyable that both were brought onto the film, though not in the roles they had auditioned for. Mark was given the role of the street vendor and the additional, yet cut "Lizard Man."
When asked his opinion of the movie in our August 28th exclusive interview, Mark responded "Honestly, I loved it. I didn't know why it didn't do better at the box office." He also commented that he was disappointed that his prison block scene as the Lizard Man with John Leguizamo and Bob Hoskins was cut. He further stated that his work on Super Mario Bros. was one of the best movie shoots he's ever done, with only Cold Mountain being better. The cast and crew was "like a little family" to him and that everyone had a sense the film would be very successful.
Mark continues to act in a wide range of films, from the 1994 Radioland Murders which encountered much the same problems as Super Mario Bros. to more successful releases like October Sky, The Patriot and The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood. His most recently released film was 2010's It Happens, with appearances as the characters Harwood and Bailey to appear next year in the films Bloodworth and Bolden!. Mark can be reached for additional information about himself and how to acquire his acting skills through his website, at http://www.markjeffreymiller.net/.