She’s affectionally known as Teddy Bear Girl by The Walking Dead fandom, but did you know her real character name is Summer? The first walker killed by Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) on screen was a small girl in pajamas, a bathrobe, and fuzzy slippers. Viewers see her slippered feet shuffle along as she stops to pick up her discarded teddy bear. Thinking he is talking to a little girl, Rick shouts out to her, but when she turns, we see a disfigured girl with dead milky eyes, and everyone knows she is a walker.
You can see the pain in Rick’s eyes as he knows what he must do. He shoots the walker, played by Addy Miller, in the head, and she falls forward to her second death.
The character’s name was released in The Walking Dead Social Game in 2012. This game was a Facebook site game where players could have their own adventures and try to survive the apocalypse. This game lasted until 2014, when it was shut down to focus on No Man’s Land.
Miller, now 23, shed some fascinating insight on her character in an interview with Fangoria in 2021.
The Walking Dead – first walker kill
Viewers of the pilot episode “Days Gone By” knew this wasn’t your ordinary series when the creators chose the first death on screen to be that of a child. Granted, it was an undead child, but a child nonetheless. This was a bold move that set the tone of what to expect from this series.
Miller shared that in her character description, she was described as dead, had braces, and was very hungry.
"“I saw her as an innocent child who died, and now she’s trying to survive through the afterlife by eating people. I feel bad for her, trying to eat people with braces on! She’s sad and dead.”"
In the interview, Miller also shared that she was required to go to Walker School with EP, director, and SFX guru Greg Nicotero. She was ten at the time, and the only other child portraying a walker was Madison Lintz, who played Sophia. They felt children couldn’t really handle all the horror elements of the walkers, so at that time, no one else under 18 was permitted in these roles.
Miller was required to sit in the makeup chair for two hours to transform into the Teddy Bear walker, and her costume was prestained. She had mentioned how grateful she is that her character was immortalized as a Halloween costume. She was well-padded for the fall to her death but was well trained by stuntman Steven Ritsy who taught her how to fall without injuring herself.
She shared a funny moment she had with Lincoln before they filmed the scene.
"Andrew was hilarious; he just walked over and sat beside me, looked over at me, and said ‘I would like to get to know you before I kill you!"
The Walking Dead 100th episode easter egg
For the 100th episode of the series, Nicotero wanted Miller to return as a walker as a big surprise. This addition was kept secret from even Miller, whose mother told her to pack for a trip but said it was something significant.
Miller did guess that he must have something to do with The Walking Dead, as what other show is more secretive?
Addy Miller – other roles
Check out Miller in one of her many other roles, including Plan 9, Behind You, Dark Places, The Secret Life of Bees, and Waiting for Butterflies.
Next, she will star in The Devil’s Tree, a horror film directed by Joshua Petrino. This project raised funds via Kickstarter, and no recent information has been announced. Hopefully, things will progress, and the film will be available to view.
Additional cast includes Nick Principe, Sylvie Preston, Carolina Hidalgo, Bryan Manley Davis, Kate Schlagle, Mark Riccadonna, and Mike Saga. With voice work by Jonathan Davis, lead singer of Korn.
The synopsis for this film: After visiting a landmark tree rumored to be a gateway to hell, a group of friends holds a small house party where, without explanation, they realize they mentally can’t bring themselves to leave. Shortly after this revelation, torment, and slaughter begin at the hands of a supernatural killer with a warped, sadistic sense of humor.
Miller was cast to play the role of a young Barbara in the new Night of the Living Dead: Genesis, a film that has fallen off the radar.
Best of luck to Addy Miller in her future endeavors. She will always have a special place in TWD Family.