- (1915 - 2005) US dramatist, considered one of the mostsignificant of the 20th century. Born into a Jewish New York familythat suffered badly during the Depression of the 1930s, he held variousodd jobs after leaving school, enabling him to pay for a course onjournalism at the University of Michigan. Here he started writing.Miller's first successful play, the Ibsenesque All My Sons,was produced in 1947; like his later plays, this examination of theprivate and public guilt of a man responsible for producing faultywar materials stressed the need for self-knowledge and a true senseof values. The same year saw the production of Death of a Salesman(1947), the Pulitzer-Prize-winning tragedy of US middle-class lifethat established Miller's reputation as a great modern playwright.This reputation was consolidated by The Crucible (1953),a play about the 17th-century Salem witch trials that was clearlyrelevant to the anticommunist witchhunts of the 1950s. Miller washimself questioned by the Un-American Activities Committee, beforewhich he refused to divulge the names of people said to have attendeda communist writers' group; his conviction for contempt was quashedon appeal.
A View from the bridge and A Memory of Two Mondayswere staged together as a double-bill in 1955. After the Fall(1964), a painful examination of a failed relationship, reflectedsome of the unhappiness of Miller's highly publicized marriage (1955 - 60)to Marilyn Monroe. During their marriage the world's press had cateredextensively to its readers curiosity about this unlikely relationshipbetween a Jewish intellectual Pulitzer Prize-winner and a world-famoussex symbol (whose brain had been described by Billy Wilder as being"...like a Swiss cheese, full of holes"). Millerwrote the screenplay for Monroe's last film, The Misfits (1961).
Miller's later plays include The Price (1968), TheArchbishop's Ceiling (1977), Playing for Time (1981), TheRide Down Mt Morgan (1991), and Broken Glass (1994).I am simply asking for a theater in which an adult who wantsto live can find plays that will heighten his awareness of what livingin our time involves.Arthur Miller