Arthur Asher Miller was an American playwright and essayist whose biting criticism of social problems defined his genius. He was a prominent figure in American theatre, writing dramas that include plays such as All My Sons (1947), Death of a Salesman (1949), The Crucible (1953) and A View from the Bridge. Received the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, and was married to Marilyn Monroe.
Arthur Asher Miller was born on October 17, 1915, in Harlem, New York City, the second of three children of Isidore and Augusta Miller, Polish Jewish immigrants. His father owned a women's clothing manufacturing business employing some 400 people. He became a wealthy and respected man in the community. The family, including his younger sister Joan, lived on East 110th Street in Manhattan and owned a summer house in Far Rockaway, Queens. They employed a chauffeur. In the Wall Street Crash of 1929, the family lost almost everything and moved to Gravesend, Brooklyn.
At the University of Michigan, Miller first majored in journalism and worked as a reporter and night editor for the student paper, the Michigan Daily. It was during this time that he wrote his first play, No Villain. Miller switched his major to English, and subsequently won the Avery Hopwood Award for No Villain. The award brought him his first recognition and led him to begin to consider that he could have a career as a playwright. Miller enrolled in a playwriting seminar taught by the influential Professor Kenneth Rowe, who instructed him in his early forays into playwriting and taught him how to construct a play in order to achieve an intended effect.
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. As per his express wish, it is the only theatre in the world that bears Miller's name.
Christopher Bigsby wrote Arthur Miller: The Definitive Biography based on boxes of papers Miller made available to him before his death in 2005. The book was published in November 2008, and is reported to reveal unpublished works in which Miller "bitterly attack[ed] the injustices of American racism long before it was taken up by the civil rights movement".
Miller's papers are housed at the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center at The University of Texas at Austin.
The Pussycat and the Expert Plumber Who Was a Man (1941)
Joel Chandler Harris (1941)
Captain Paul (1941)
The Battle of the Ovens (1942)
Thunder from the Mountains (1942)
I Was Married in Bataan (1942)
The Four Freedoms (1942)
That They May Win (1943)
Listen for the Sound of Wings (1943)
I Love You (1944)
Grandpa and the Statue (1944)
The Philippines Never Surrendered (1944)
The Guardsman (1944, based on Ferenc Molnár’s play)
The Story of Gus (1947)
All My Sons (1948)
The Hook (1947)
Let's Make Love (1960)
I Don’t Need You Anymore (1967)
Homely Girl (1992, published in United Kingdom as "Plain Girl: A Life" 1995)
No Villain (1936)
They Too Arise (1937, based on No Villain)
Honors at Dawn (1938, based on They Too Arise)
The Grass Still Grows (1938, based on They Too Arise)
The Great Disobedience (1938)
Listen My Children (1939, with Norman Rosten)
The Golden Years (1940)
The Man Who Had All the Luck (1940)
The Half-Bridge (1943)
All My Sons (1947)
Death of a Salesman (1949)
An Enemy of the People (1950, based on Henrik Ibsen's play An Enemy of the People)
The Crucible (1953)
A View from the Bridge (1955)
A Memory of Two Mondays (1955)
After the Fall (1964)
Incident at Vichy (1964)
The Price (1968)
The Reason Why (1970)
Fame (one-act, 1970; revised for television 1978)
The Creation of the World and Other Business (1972)
The Archbishop's Ceiling (1977)
The American Clock (1980)
Playing for Time (television play, 1980)
Elegy for a Lady (short play, 1982, first part of Two Way Mirror)
Some Kind of Love Story (short play, 1982, second part of Two Way Mirror)
I Think About You a Great Deal (1986)
Playing for Time (stage version, 1985)
I Can’t Remember Anything (1987, collected in Danger: Memory!)
Clara (1987, collected in Danger: Memory!)
The Last Yankee (1991)
The Ride Down Mount Morgan (1991)
Broken Glass (1994)
Mr Peter’s Connections (1998)
Resurrection Blues (2002)
Finishing the Picture (2004)
"The playwright is nothing without his audience. He is one of the audience who happens to know how to speak."
Federal Theater Project
1938 - 1939
Poets, Playwrights, Editors, Essayists and Novelists (international association) International
headquarters in London
1965 - 1969
Philosophers & Thinkers
Miller said he looked to the Greeks for inspiration, particularly Sophocles. "I think the tragic feeling is evoked in us when we are in the presence of a character who is ready to lay down his life, if need be, to secure one thing-his sense of personal dignity," Miller wrote.
Married 1st Mary Grace Slattery in 1940 (divorced in 1956), one son one daughter.
received for "No Villain", his first play, and ...received for "No Villain", his first play, and then also for "Honors at Dawn". Award for play-writing. Award 1938; Award 1947 and 1949. Pulitzer Prize for Drama 1949. Award 1953; Medal for Drama 1959. Award 1966; Award, Brandeis University. Award 1984.
awarded in 1999; The Dorothy and Lillian Gish P...awarded in 1999; The Dorothy and Lillian Gish Prize is one of the richest prizes in the arts, given annually to "a man or woman who has made an outstanding contribution to the beauty of the world and to mankind’s enjoyment and understanding of life"
The Jefferson Lecture in the Humanities,
In 2001 the National Endowment for the Humaniti...In 2001 the National Endowment for the Humanities selected Miller for the Jefferson Lecture, the United States federal government's highest honor for achievement in the humanities. Miller's lecture was entitled "On Politics and the Art of Acting." Miller's lecture analyzed political events (including the United States presidential election of 2000) in terms of the "arts of performance," and it drew attacks from some conservatives such as Jay Nordlinger, who called it "a disgrace," and George Will, who argued that Miller was not legitimately a "scholar."
Theatre Guild's National Award,
received in 1940 for his work "The Man Who Had ...received in 1940 for his work "The Man Who Had All the Luck"