Arthur Miller, born on October 17, 1915, was an outstanding playwright, essayist, and screenwriter. Some of his most notable plays include “All My Sons” in 1947, “Death of a Salesman” in 1949, “The Crucible” in 1953, and “A View from the Bridge” in 1955. He wrote several screenplays throughout his career and was especially recognized for “The Misfits,” which was released in 1961. He rose to acclaimed fame mainly in the late 1940s through the 1960s. He was a recipient of the Pulitzer Prize for Drama. Join us as we celebrate this gifted gentleman.
October 17, 1915
February 10, 2005 (age 89)
Arthur Asher Miller, one of the most famous and acclaimed American playwrights, essayists, and screenwriters, was born in Harlem, New York City on October 17, 1915. His parents were Isidore Miller and Augusta Barnett. He had a privileged childhood — his father had a successful clothing manufacturing business until his family fell on hard times during the Great Depression. So, Miller began delivering bread in the morning before he went to school. He did odd jobs so he could enroll at the University of Michigan where he took up journalism, graduating in 1938.
He then worked as a copywriter before he taught at the New York University and the University of New Hampshire. In 1935, he became part of the League of American Writers. He wrote his first play titled “No Villain” for which he was given the Avery Hopwood Award. At this time, he was considering playwriting as a career, so he enrolled in a playwriting seminar organized by Professor Kenneth Rowe who taught Miller the dynamics of play construction.
He went on to become an outstanding playwright, essayist, and screenwriter in 20th-century American theater. Some of his most notable plays include “All My Sons” in 1947, “Death of a Salesman” (ranked among the finest American plays in the 20th Century) in 1949, “The Crucible” in 1953, and “A View from the Bridge” in 1955. He was especially recognized for “The Misfits” released in 1961. He rose to prominence from the late 1940s to the 1960s. He received the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1949. In 1980, he was bestowed the St. Louis Literary Award by the Saint Louis University Library Associates. In 2001 and 2002, he was awarded the Praemium Imperiale Prize and the Prince of Asturias Award. He died of a heart attack on February 10, 2005.
Miller joins the League of American Writers comprising members of the Communist Party and fellow travelers.
Miller is awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, a Tony Award, and the New York Drama Critics’ Circle Award for “Death of a Salesman.”
He develops the screenplay titled “The Misfits,” which was written for his wife, Hollywood actress Marilyn Monroe.
He establishes the Arthur Miller Award for Dramatic Writing at the University of Michigan.
Miller receives the Praemium Imperiale Prize as well as the Prince of Asturias Award.
Why We Love Arthur Miller
He was a survivor
Miller survived the Great Depression, which lasted from 1929 to 1939. Despite the odds, he achieved his goals as a writer.
He was determined
People of lesser stuff would have quit or gone mad. But not Arthur Miller. He set his sights on becoming a good playwright. And we’re all proud of him because he not only became a good playwright — he became one of the greatest and highly regarded American writers!
He was a social/political thinker
Miller also wrote many essays expounding his opinions on theater, politics, history, and social theory. He said every American citizen had the right to their own political views. He desired to be a playwright who would chart a direction not only for American drama but also for the American people.
5 Surprising Facts
“No Villain” was written in six days
When Miller was a sophomore at the University of Michigan, he wrote the play “No Villain” in six days for a competition (which he won and in which he was given the $250 grand prize).
He turned down a Hollywood job
After his college graduation, Miller turned down a job offer as a screenwriter in Hollywood and instead joined the Federal Theatre Project formed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
He survived the heat waves
Miller looked back on his experience with heat waves and survived them before air conditioners were invented.
He did many odd jobs
To save up for college, Miller took many jobs such as gigs as a singer on the radio, driving a truck, and working as a clerk in a warehouse for automobile parts.
He was good at carpentry
In 1966, interviewers of the literary magazine “Paris Review” went to Miller’s estate in Connecticut and found him converting a barn into a guest house.
Arthur Miller FAQs
Why did Arthur Miller write “The Crucible”?
Miller was inspired to write said drama that reflected the mass cultural and political hysteria generated when the U.S. government set out to suppress communism and radical leftist activity in America.
How long was Arthur Miller married to Marilyn Monroe?
Miller was married to Monroe for five years (from 1956 to 1961).
How was Arthur Miller related to Daniel Day-Lewis?
Miller was father-in-law to multi-awarded actor Daniel Day-Lewis.
Arthur Miller’s birthday dates