Larry Miller Biography
Claim to Fame: Owner of Utah Jazz, Entrepreneur
DOB: April 26, 1944
Date of Death: February 20, 2009
Diabetes Type: 2
Larry Miller was born April 26, 1944 as Lawrence Horne West. Two years after his birth, his mother and father divorced, and in 1949 he was legally adopted by his stepfather, who changed the Larry's last name to Miller. As a young boy, Larry had a passion for softball and automobiles.
After high school, Larry landed a job in construction where he worked for about two years before he moved to American Auto Parts. In 1962 he finally broke into sports. He played pitcher for Salt Lake City Metro League and the Denver Metro League until 1985, and he raced cars from 1963 to 1970.
In 1966 Larry was manager of the parts and service departments for a Utah auto dealer before he was promoted to operations manager of a number of Toyota stores. Soon though, Larry's vision broadened and he decided to purchase and open a Toyota dealership of his own in Utah. On May 1, 1979 Larry H. Miller Toyota opened its doors to the citizens of Murray, Utah. But this was merely the first in a long line of automobile dealerships that Larry Miller would acquire throughout the 1980s and 1990s. With over forty-two dealerships spanning across the nation and sales of over $2.3 billion, Larry H. Miller Automotive Group was officially established by 2007.
On April 11, 1985 Larry purchased 50% of the Utah Jazz basketball team for $9.5 million, and then in June of the following year he proceeded to purchase the remaining 50% for $17.3 million. Larry has owned many other sports teams over the years: the Salt Lake Bees baseball team, the Salt Lake Gold Eagles ice hockey team, and the Utah Starzz WNBA team. Miller also owned the Larry H. Miller Megaplex, Miller Motorsports Park, Prestige Financial, Jordan Commons cinema/restaurant, and the radio station KJZZ-TV.
With all of Larry's success, he gave back and contributed a substantial amount to his community and different organizations in need. He donated $21 million to go towards a training center for law enforcement and corrections officers in Salt Lake City. In 1995, he founded Larry H. Miller Charities which has raised over $1 million for charitable organizations across America.
On February 20, 2009, surrounded by family at his home, Miller died of complications from type II diabetes.
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