Miller, Arthur Asher
(1915-2005)
   Playwright Arthur Miller was born to German Jewish parents in New York City. He graduated from high school in 1933 and attended University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, where he abandoned the study of journalism for English literature. He wrote his first play, No Villain, in 1936, and his second, Honors at Dawn, in 1937 while still a student. Both were awarded prizes. Miller graduated in 1938 and joined the Federal Theater Project. When the project was halted by Congress, Miller found work in the Brooklyn Navy Yard and continued writing plays.
   His first Broadway play was The Man Who Had All the Luck in 1944, but it soon closed. In 1947, he produced the award-winning All My Sons, which was very successful. He built his own studio in Roxbury, Connecticut, and it was there that Death of a Salesman was first performed in 1949. With Lee J. Cobb playing the role of Willie Loman, the play became an instant classic and was awarded the Pulitzer Prize.
   In 1953, Miller wrote The Crucible, a play about the Salem witchcraft trials in the 17th century but that was clearly relevant to the United States during the period of McCarthyism. Miller was himself denied a passport in 1954, and following his marriage to Marilyn Monroe in 1956, he was called to appear before the House Un- American Activities Committee. Miller refused to name names and was fined and jailed for contempt of Congress. The conviction was overturned in 1958. In 1964, Miller produced After the Fall, based on the life of Monroe. They were divorced in 1961, and Monroe committed suicide in 1962. His most successful play after Death of a Salesman was The Price in 1968. His autobiography, Time Bends, was also well-received.
   See also Literature and theater.

Historical Dictionary of the Roosevelt–Truman Era . . 2015.

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