Former Gov. Zell Miller. (AJC Staff Photo/John Spink)

Two Zell Miller stories that didn’t make his obit

There were too many worthy stories to squeeze into Zell Miller’s obit. But these two tales that didn’t make the cut seemed ripe for sharing. 

Kristen Nichols was working for the Atlanta bureau of The Associated Press in 2004 - she was Kristen Wyatt then - when she set out to dig up whether Miller was seeking a full term in the U.S. Senate. 

Writes Nichols: 

When I finally chased him down, he just shook his head and said, "At my age, I don't buy green bananas." I told my editor (Michael Giarrusso) that we had it, he wasn't running again, and shared the banana quote, and Michael wisely just paused and didn't say anything and after a long minute just said we weren't going with it. So I missed a big scoop thanks to Miller's affinity for fruit metaphors.

She grumbled about it to Dick Pettys, a veteran AP reporter who was the dean of the statehouse press corps. He shared his own story about trying to probe Miller when he was governor about a false rumor that he had prostate cancer. 

More from Nichols: 

Zell heard Dick was asking around about it, so he pulled up in his car when Dick was walking down the sidewalk, pulled over and rolled his window down and tossed a pair of rubber gloves out the window and said to Dick, "Why don't you get on in here and check for yourself?" 

Needless to say, that was another story that didn’t make the wire. 

Read more AJC coverage of Miller’s life:

Zell Miller to lie in state at Capitol, other services announced

An appreciation: How Zell Miller helped shape an AJC reporter's life

In the end, Zell Miller sought to repair those burned bridges

About the Author

Greg Bluestein
Greg Bluestein
Greg Bluestein is a political reporter who covers the governor's office and state politics for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He joined the newspaper...

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