Miller’s Early Life • Arthur Miller was born on Oct. 17, 1915, in New York City. • His father ran a small coat-manufacturing business; during the Depression it failed. • In 1932, after graduating from high school, Miller went to work in an auto-parts warehouse.
The College Years • Two years later he enrolled in the University of Michigan. • Before graduating in 1938, he won two Avery Hopwood awards for playwriting.
After College • Miller returned to New York City to a variety of jobs, writing for the Federal Theater Project, the Columbia Workshop, and the Cavalcade of America. • Because of an old football injury, he was rejected for military service, but he toured Army camps to collect material for a movie, The Story of GI Joe, based on a book by Ernie Pyle. • In 1944, the Broadway production of his The Man Who Had All the Luck opened and closed almost simultaneously, though it won a Theater Guild Award. • In 1945 his novel, Focus, a attack against anti-Semitism, appeared.
His Theatre Work • With the opening of All My Sons on Broadway (1947), Miller's theatrical career burgeoned. • The tragedy won three prizes and fascinated audiences across the country. • Then Death of a Salesman (1949) brought Miller a Pulitzer Prize, international fame, and an estimated income of $2 million. • His third Broadway play, The Crucible, opened in 1953.
Miller Against the Government • In these three plays Miller's subject was moral disintegration. • His shifting from contemporary life in Salesman to the Salem witch hunt of 1692 in The Crucible hardly disguised the fact that he had in mind Senator Joseph McCarthy's investigations of Communist subversion in the United States and the subsequent persecutions and hysteria. • When Miller was called before the House Committee on Un-American Activities in June 1956, he argued, "My conscience will not permit me to use the name of another person and bring trouble to him." He was convicted of contempt of Congress; the conviction was reversed in 1958.
Miller’s Awards • Despite the absence of any major success since the mid-1960s, Miller seems secure in his reputation as a major figure in American drama. • He has won the Emmy, Tony, and Peabody awards, and in 1984 received the John F. Kennedy Award for Lifetime Achievement. • Critics have hailed his blending of vernacular language, social and psychological realism, and moral insight.
Miller’s Personal Life • On August 5, 1940, he married his college sweetheart, Mary Slattery, the Catholic daughter of an insurance salesman. • The couple had two children, Jane and Robert.
The Marilyn Monroe Years • In June, 1956, Miller left his first wife Mary Slattery, and on June 29, he married Marilyn Monroe. • Miller and Monroe had first met in April 1951, when they had a brief affair. • In 1961, her heavy use of drugs led to their divorce. • Almost two years later, Monroe died of an apparent drug overdose.
Miller’s Third Wife • Miller married photographer Inge Morath on February 17, 1962. • The first of their two children, Rebecca, was born that September. • Their son Daniel was born with Down syndrome in November 1966, and was consequently institutionalized and excluded from the Millers' personal life at Arthur's insistence. • The couple remained together until Inge's death in 2002.
Death of a Playwright • Miller died of heart failure after a battle against cancer, pneumonia and congestive heart disease at his home in Roxbury, Connecticut. • He had been in hospice care at his sister's apartment in New York since his release from hospital the previous month. • He died on the evening of February 10, 2005 (the 56th anniversary of the Broadway debut of Death of a Salesman), aged 89.
Miller’s Legacy • Miller's career as a writer spanned over seven decades, and at the time of his death, Miller was considered to be one of the greatest dramatists of the twentieth century. • After his death, many respected actors, directors, and producers paid tribute to Miller,some calling him the last great practitioner of the American stage, and Broadway theatres darkened their lights in a show of respect. • Miller's alma mater, the University of Michigan opened the Arthur Miller Theatre in March, 2007. Per his express wish, it is the only theatre in the world that bears Miller's name.