Sunday, 11 January 2009


Arthur Miller (October 17, 1915 - February 10, 2005) was an American playwright and essayist. Born to moderately affluent Jewish-American parents in Manhattan he graduated from the Abraham Lincoln High School (New York) before securing a place at University of Michegan, majoring in journalism where he became the reporter and night editor on the student paper, the Michegan Daily. Switching his major the English, he wrote his first novel, No Villain, which won the Avery Hopwood Award.

At University he was mentored by Professor Kenneth Rowe, who helped him with his early attempts at playwrighting, and Miller retained strong ties to his alma mater throughout the rest of his life, establishing the university's Arthur Miller Award for Dramatic Writing in 1999 and lending his name to the Arthur Miller Theater in 2000.

Miller rose to international fame and acclaim as the author of many successful Broadway hits, the best known of which are The Crucible and Death of a Salesman (winner of the 1949 Pulitzer Prize). A selection of the others: A View from the Bridge, All My Sons, and After the Fall - all receiving critical acclaim.

He also made the headlines for his short lived marriage to Marilyn Monroe (seen together above). They first met in April of 1951, whilst he was married to Mary Slattery, when they had a brief affair. After the fling they continued to remain in contact until in June 1956, Miller left his wife and a short time later married Marilyn. Miller wrote the film script for The Misfits, which starred his wife, but described the filming as one of the low points of his life, and shortly before the film's premiere in 1961, the pair divorced. Nineteen months later, Monroe died of an apparent drug overdose.

For most of their short marriage they lived at Apartment 13 E, 444, East 57th Street (above) at Sutton Place, overlooking the East River, and after their divorce Marilyn lived here until her death. After moving out Miller spent some time living at the Chelsea Hotel until he married for a third time to Inge Morath in 1962, and had two children and remained together until her death in 2002.

Said to be his defining work, Death of a Salesman, is a caustic attack on the American Dream and made Arthur Miller and Willy Loman, the central character, household names. and is a tragic examination of a man's relationship to the modern world. Themes of New York life, like the gap between financial success and happiness, and the difficulties of life in an urban setting, are central to many of his plays.

Miller is considered by audiences and scholars as one of America's greatest playwrights and his plays are lauded throughout the world.

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