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Arthur Miller (1915-2005)


Birth of Arthur Miller

Arthur was the second son of two Jewish immigrants from Poland, Isidore and Augusta Miller. Born on October 17, 1915 in New York City. Arthur was born into an upper-middle class family.

Early Life

Arthurs father owned his own clothing company called S. Miller & Sons making their family financially stable. Arthurs family was greatly harmed by the Wall Street crash of 1929. Due to this, the Millers moved to Brooklyn, New York which was a more affordable place at the time. Miller graduated from Abraham Lincoln High School in 1932. In fact, Miller was not much of a star student. After working hard enough in an auto-parts warehouse to save money for college tuition, Miller was finally off to move forward with his education by attending the University of Michigan.

College Life

Miller was rejected twice into the University of Michigan because of his poor grades until he finally gained acceptance the third time around. In college was when Miller realized his calling as a writer. During Millers spring break in college, he wrote his first play called The Villain which won the Hopwood Award. Miller graduated from college in 1938 and found a job writing radio plays.

Life after College

In 1939, Miller lost his job and ended up being on welfare. One year later, Miller tied the knot with his college sweetheart, Mary Slattery, and moved to Brooklyn. Miller kept on writing plays after college such as The Half Bridge and The Golden Years. After years of waiting, Miller was finally hired as a screenwriter for The Story of G.I Joe but quit due to a disappointing experience. In 1944, Mary gave birth to their first daughter, Jane Miller.

Millers Broadway Hits

All My Sons (1947) his first Broadway hit, was produced while he was in his early 30s. Death of a Salesman made him a star, winning a Pulitzer Prize in 1949.

In 1956, Miller divorced Mary and married Marilyn Monroe. Shortly after the marriage of the two, both were called into HUAC which was an event that could ruin both of their careers.

Communists in American Society

In the 1940s and the 1950s, Miller was called before the congressional committee and was questioned about his activities with the American Communist Party.

He refused to implicate others from meetings he previously attended.

His refusal led him to be cited for contempt of Congress which later overturned.

Arthur Miller
Testifying to House Subcommittee, June 21, 1956

The Crucible
The hearing inspired his 1953 play The Crucible set during Salem, Massachusetts witch trials of 1692.
He wrote the play to warn against mass hysteria and to plead for freedom and tolerance.

Millers Third Marriage

In 1961, Miller divorced Monroe.

In 1962, Miller remarried once again to a woman named Inge Morath who is a photographer. Miller had two children with Morath.

Millers Demise

the 1970s his career began to downfall because the plays he wrote did not earn the critical or popular success like his earlier works had.

Millers Temporary Revival


enjoyed a resurgence with revivals of Death of a Salesman on Broadway from the 80s through 90s.

Millers Death

Until the end of his life Miller continued to write saying, It is what I do. I am better at it than I ever was. And I will do it as long as I can. Miller died February 10th 2005.


With the possible exception of a doctor saving a life, writing a worthy play was the most important thing a human being could do."