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Arthur Miller

Arthur Miller

 

Arthur Miller was born in New York City on October 17, 1915. He grew up in Brooklyn, the son of an Austrian born clothing manufacturer. He graduated from Abraham Lincoln High School in 1932, with the hopes of attending college. Because of the Depression, Miller's family could not afford to send him, and Miller took a job in a warehouse that supplied automobile parts.

After working for two years, Miller saved enough money to enroll at the University of Michigan. While at Michigan, he won the Avery Hopewood Award for his first play, The Grass Still Grows. He was able to continue with his education because of money earned from a part-time newspaper job and help received from the National Youth Administration.

Miller returned east after his graduation from the University of Michigan in 1938. He held several different jobs while he continued to write plays. In 1945, he published a novel about anti-Semitism called "Focus". The year before, his first Broadway play, "The Man Who Had All the Luck", opened but closed after only four performances. Miller finally achieved success with "All My Sons" which opened in 1947, and "Death of a Salesman" which opened in 1949. In 1950, Miller adapted Ibsen's play, "An Enemy of the People". Miller followed this in 1953 with "The Crucible", a play about the Salem, Massachusetts witch-hunt of the 1690's.

At the time that "The Crucible" opened, Senator Joseph McCarthy was heading a Congressional Committee which was trying to expose Communists and other un-American activities in the United States. Because the McCarthy investigations were also called "witch hunts," a connection was made between "The Crucible" and Senator McCarthy's committee. Miller was called before McCarthy's committee and convicted of failing to cite the names of those who had formerly engaged in radical activities. The verdict was reversed in 1957 in an appeals court.

In 1955, Miller opened two new plays, "A Memory of Two Mondays" and "A View From the Bridge". This was not a good time in Miller's life. It was during this time that Miller was summoned to appear before McCarthy's committee. He was also divorced from his first wife, Mary Slattery, and, in 1956, he married Marilyn Monroe. This marriage also failed and ended in divorce shortly afterward.

Miller had no new plays open during the nine years from 1955 to 1964. In 1964, however, Miller opened After the Fall in New York. After the Fall, is said to be Miller's most autobiographical work

Miller is still alive, and is considered one of America's greatest playwrights.




 

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