Arthur Miller refuses to name communists

Arthur Miller refuses to name communists

Playwright Arthur Miller defies the House Committee on Un-American Activities and refuses to name suspected communists.

Miller’s defiance of McCarthyism won him a conviction for contempt of court, which was later reversed by the Supreme Court. His passport had already been denied when he tried to go to Brussels to attend the premiere of his play The Crucible, about the Salem witch trials.

Miller was born in 1915 to a well-off German-Jewish family with a prosperous clothing store. However, the store went bankrupt after the stock market crash in 1929, and the family moved to Brooklyn. Miller finished high school at 16 and decided to become a writer after reading Dostoyevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov.

Miller worked for two years in an automobile-parts warehouse before he attended the University of Michigan, where he studied journalism and playwriting. His student plays, largely studies of Jewish families, won awards. His first literary success was a novel called Focus (1945), about anti-Semitism. His first hit Broadway play, All My Sons, was produced in 1947. In 1949, Death of a Salesman was produced and won a Pulitzer Prize.

In 1956, Miller divorced his first wife and married glamorous movie star Marilyn Monroe. The couple remained married until 1961, the same year she starred in the movie he wrote for her, The Misfits. In 1962, he married his third wife, photographer Ingeborg Morath, and continued to write hit plays.

Miller died on February 10, 2005 at age 89 of congestive heart failure.

READ MORE: 7 Artists Whose Careers Were Almost Derailed by the Hollywood Blacklist


Arthur Miller refuses to name communists - HISTORY

After a two-year legal battle to clear his name, Washington's Court of Appeals has finally quashed his conviction for contempt of Congress.

In May last year, a judge convicted Mr Miller for refusing to tell the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) the names of alleged Communist writers with whom he attended five or six meetings in New York in 1947.

He had been questioned by the HUAC in 1956 over a supposed Communist conspiracy to misuse American passports and willingly answered all questions about himself.

But he refused to name names on a point of principle saying: "I could not use the name of another person and bring trouble on him."

Today his lawyer, Joseph Rauh, argued that the committee simply wanted to expose the playwright and that "exposure for exposure's sake" was illegal.

Mr Rauh added that the timing of the hearing - just before his marriage to Marilyn Monroe - would ensure maximum publicity and humiliation for the writer.

He also said the questions he would not answer were not relevant to the passports issue.

However the appeal court ignored this argument finding instead that the way the questions were put to Mr Miller by the HUAC made contempt charges untenable.

Mr Miller had asked the committee not to ask him to name names and the chairman had agreed to defer the question.

So the court today ruled that at the time Mr Miller was led to believe this line of questioning had been suspended or even abandoned altogether.

In 1947 it turned its attention to the arts and over the next three years managed to get several Hollywood writers and directors blacklisted for their political views.

They included director Elia Kazan, who directed Arthur Miller's award-winning play Death of a Salesman in 1953.

As more convictions of contempt were quashed by the courts of appeal, the committee's influence declined and it was abolished in 1975.

Arthur Miller later said his trial only went ahead because he had refused one of the members of the HUAC permission to be photographed with Marilyn Monroe.


Arthur Miller refuses to name communists - HISTORY

ASHINGTON, June 21 - Arthur Miller, playwright, disclosed today a past filled with Communist-front associations and a future filled with Marilyn Monroe. He said he would marry the film star before July 13.

The 40-year-old dramatist, a Pulitzer Prize winner, told the House Committee on Un-American Activities that he had signed many appeals and protests issued by Red front groups in the last decade. But he denied that he ever had been "under Communist discipline." He risked a possible contempt citation by refusing to give the committee names of those he had seen at Communist-run meetings.

Mr. Miller revealed his plans to marry Miss Monroe during a recess in the committee hearing. He said they would be wed before she left for England on July 13 to make a film with Sir Laurence Olivier.

In response to questions by Richard Arens, committee counsel, the playwright testified that "in those days" - referring principally to the late Nineteen Forties - "I did sign a lot of things." He said he was not denying that he had also joined in sponsoring many Communist-backed causes.

He said that in recent years he had "ceased issuing statements right and left except where I personally was involved."

"I found I was getting tangled up in too many things I didn&apost want to defend 100 percent," he said.

Mr. Miller was questioned about two passport applications he made. Hone, in 1947, was granted, The second, in March 1954, was rejected by the State Department.

He said he was awaiting department action on an application for a passport to England. He wants to go there to be with Miss Monroe ad to arrange for production of his play, "A View From the Bridge."

A department press officer, Joseph W. Reap, said that action on this application was being held up because the department had some "derogatory information" about the playwright that "must be answered by an affidavit."

"We have asked him through his attorney," Mr. Reap said, "to make an affidavit concerning past or present membership in the Communist party. We have not received it yet."

Mr. Arens asked Mr. Miller a series of questions concerning Communist-front activities.

These included sponsorship of a world youth festival in Prague in 1947 a signature on a 1947 statement against the outlawing of the Communist party a signature on a statement against the outlawing of the Communist party a signature on a statement defending Gerhart Eisler before he fled this country to become a top Communist official in East Germany statements attacking the Committee on Un-American Activities statements supporting relief work in Red China, and statements opposing the Smith Act.

The Smith Act forbids teaching or advocating the overthrow of the United States Government by force and violence.

Mr. Miller said he had no memory of most of these things, but that he would not deny them. He said he was opposed to the Smith Act because he feared it might involve placing limitations on "advocacy." He said this would get "smack in the middle of literature."

Artists, he said, must have the right to express themselves freely.

Mr. Arens asked Mr. Miller whether he signed an application to join the Communist party in 1939 or 1940. The playwright said he had signed an application for what he thought was "a study course" on Marxism, but did not know the exact nature of the application.

He also testified that he had attended Communist party writers&apos meetings four or five times. He refused to name persons he had seen there.

Mr. Miller won the Pulitzer Prize in 1949 for his play "Death of a Salesman." He won acclaim also in 1947 for "All My Sons," and in 1953 he produced "The Crucible," a story of the persecution of persons accused of witchcraft in Salem in 1692.

The playwright returned to New York last week after obtaining a divorce in Reno, Nev., from his wife of fifteen years, Mary Grace Slattery Miller. They have two children.

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Arthur Miller’s The Crucible: An Allegory of the Communist Witch Hunt

After defeating the true demon ideology during World War II-fascism-American lawmakers for some reason embraced that very same ideology and began a furious and illegal assault upon those who embraced communism. It was during this dark time that several screenwriters, directors and actors making Hollywood movies were blacklisted simply because they refused to be a rat bastard like their friend Elia Kazan and reveal the names of friends who had attended meetings at which communist policies were discussed to a Congressional committee investigating the wholly legal and American concept of belonging to a political party, in this case the Communist Party. These actors, directors and screenwriters who refused to cave in to pressure and personal fear like Elia Kazan were denied the right to work despite having done nothing illegal.

Because it serves to comment on the historical context of the communist witch hunt while telling the story of the actual Salem witch hunt, therefore, The Crucible is technically an allegory. An allegory is basically a work of literature that tells one story on the surface while referring to another sub textually. Unlike the majority of other allegories, however, Arthur Miller peoples his play with fully fleshed-out three dimensional characters, and not just caricaturized puppets going through the motions.

The Crucible takes place in the historical Puritan town of Salem, Massachusetts in 1692. It begins with the image of several teenaged girls dancing in the woods to the accompaniment of chants sung by a black slave. Making matters even worse, one of these girls is spotted dancing naked by none other than Rev. Parris. Being the fundamentalist Christian that he is-you know, full of superstition-he immediately concludes that the only possible explanation for teenage girls living in a repressive atmosphere like Puritan Salem to be in the woods at night dancing is�witchcraft.

After this eventful night, two young girls have fallen ill, including Parris’ own young daughter Betty. Parris sends for Rev. Hale, an expert on witchcraft. Yeah, isn’t that kind of like being an expert on fairies, leprechauns, or Katie Co uric? None of those things really exist so, well, you get my meaning. Betty begins screaming amid a roomful of people, raising the hysteria level to the point where Betty and Abigail Williams, who works for Parris, suddenly turn on the one person in the room who looks like a witch.

Yeah, just another case of whitey keeping the black woman down. Poor Tituba gets accused of being a watch on account of being black. (In reality, she was more Native American than African-America.) In order to distract attention from themselves-shades of Elia Kazan-they immediately begin calling out the names of other women in the community who they claim to be witches.

This is a time honored American sport. When the hammer is about to come down on you, shift the blame to other people. As just the most recent example, consider how when it was discovered that Pres. Bush had once again been lying about the extent of his domestic spying program in that he was spying on the bank accounts of American citizens. Caught with his pants down once again, what did our esteemed leader do? He blamed the messenger. What a guy!

In keeping with the allegorical intent, the House Un-American Activities Committee is symbolized in The Crucible as the court convened to examine the charges of witchcraft that is sweeping through Salem. The court closes its eyes to reality and refuses to accept anybody’s word except the young girls. Why? Why accept the hysterical rantings of young girls against the word respected citizens? Because the girls were saying exactly what they court wanted to hear. It was an early case of conforming facts to fit policy. Sound familiar?

Miller’s point is that those who refused to be cowered by authority that has run amok, and who maintain loyalty to their friends in the process are better than people like Elia Kazan who cave in, and they are also better able to live with their real mistakes than those who turn rat on not only their friends, but their former beliefs. It is better to die with a clean conscience than live with a dirty one.


Miller Tells of ɼrucible' Origins

Arthur Miller, the world-renowned playwright widely regarded as a pioneer of American drama, recounted his experiences with the anti-Communist hysteria of the 1940s and 1950s and the creation of "The Crucible" in a lecture Monday afternoon.

The lecture, titled "History Around the Crucible" and delivered to a standing-room-only audience in the Science Center, focused on Congress's investigation of his personal life and his sense that he was living in "a perverse work of art."

"In one sense," he said, "`The Crucible' was an attempt to make life real again."

"The Crucible," a dramatization of the 1692 Salem witch trials, was written as an allegory for the "witch-hunt" atmosphere that pervaded America when Joseph McCarthy, a Republican representative from Wisconsin, led the nation on a search for communists in the American government. Miller said the search "paralyzed the nation."

"Suffice it to say, it was a time of great--no doubt unprecedented--fear," he said.

Miller, who also wrote the Pulitzer Prize-winning "Death of a Salesman," called McCarthy and the anti-communist forces "silly."

His experience with the so-called McCarthy era began, Miller said, when Columbia Pictures was preparing to release the film version of "Death of a Salesman." Because many executives considered the play anti-capitalist, Columbia asked Miller to sign an anti-communist declaration. He refused.

"The air of terror was heavy," he said. "I was sure the whole thing would soon go away."

But it didn't, and as anti-communist "paranoia" swept the nation, Miller said he grew increasingly enraged by the rising hysteria.

The military banned performances of his plays on army bases, and his request for a passport renewal was denied--forcing him to miss the European premiere of "The Crucible."

"Rather than physical fear, there was a sense of impotence," he said.

In 1956, McCarthy's House Committee on Un-American Activities subpoenaed him to testify. But Miller said the subpoena was only because of his impending marriage to movie star Marilyn Monroe--and that House prosecutors were only seeking publicity in the waning years of the McCarthy era.

When he refused to identify writers that he had met at a conference organized by socialists, Miller was cited for contempt of Congress.

"I began to despair of my own silence," he said. "I longed to respond to this climate of fear."

"The Crucible," he said, was his response.

When he realized that the witch trials bore a direct connection to McCarthy's communist hunt, Miller spent three days in Salem's library reviewing court transcripts. He said he was most struck by the preponderance of "spectral" and circumstantial evidence in the proceedings.

"You could be at home asleep in bed, but your spirit could be out at your neighbor's home, feeling up his wife," Miller said.

Because of the connection he made to Salem, Miller said he more clearly understood the actions of the government in the 1950s.

"Salem. had taught me. that a kind of built-in pestilence has nestled in the human mind," he said.

In his introduction to Miller's speech, Director of the Loeb Drama Center Robert S. Brustein called Miller "our theater's elder statesman."

"For 50 years now, ever since `Death of a Salesman,' the name of Arthur Miller has been synonymous with, indeed inseparable from, American drama," he said.

Miller's lecture was the opening of the William E. Massey Sr. Lectures in the History of American Civilization. Past lecturers in the series include Toni Morrison, Eudora Welty and Gore Vidal.

Miller, who is 83, received an honorary degree from Harvard at the 1997 Commencement exercises.

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Contents

Early life Edit

Miller was born on October 17, 1915, in Harlem, in the New York City borough of Manhattan, and has published an account of his early years under the title 'A Boy Grew in Brooklyn' the second of three children of Augusta (Barnett) and Isidore Miller. Miller was Jewish and of Polish-Jewish descent. [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9] [10] His father was born in Radomyśl Wielki, Galicia (then part of Austria-Hungary, now Poland), and his mother was a native of New York whose parents also arrived from that town. [11] Isidore owned a women's clothing manufacturing business employing 400 people. He became a wealthy and respected man in the community. [12] The family, including Miller's younger sister Joan Copeland, lived on West [13] 110th Street in Manhattan, owned a summer house in Far Rockaway, Queens, and employed a chauffeur. [14] In the Wall Street Crash of 1929, the family lost almost everything and moved to Gravesend, Brooklyn. [15] (One source says they moved to Midwood.) [16] As a teenager, Miller delivered bread every morning before school to help the family. [14] After graduating in 1932 from Abraham Lincoln High School, he worked at several menial jobs to pay for his college tuition at the University of Michigan. [15] [17] After graduation (circa 1936), he began to work as a psychiatric aide and also a copywriter before accepting faculty posts at New York University and University of New Hampshire. On May 1, 1935, Miller joined the League of American Writers (1935–1943), whose members included Alexander Trachtenberg of International Publishers, Franklin Folsom, Louis Untermeyer, I. F. Stone, Myra Page, Millen Brand, Lillian Hellman, and Dashiell Hammett. (Members were largely either Communist Party members or fellow travelers.) [18]

At the University of Michigan, Miller first majored in journalism and worked for the student newspaper, The Michigan Daily, as well as the satirical Gargoyle Humor Magazine. It was during this time that he wrote his first play, No Villain. [19] 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 [20] Rowe emphasized how a play is built in order to achieve its intended effect, or what Miller called "the dynamics of play construction". [21] Rowe provided realistic feedback along with much-needed encouragement, and became a lifelong friend. [22] Miller retained strong ties to his alma mater throughout the rest of his life, establishing the university's Arthur Miller Award in 1985 and Arthur Miller Award for Dramatic Writing in 1999, and lending his name to the Arthur Miller Theatre in 2000. [23] In 1937, Miller wrote Honors at Dawn, which also received the Avery Hopwood Award. [19] After his graduation in 1938, he joined the Federal Theatre Project, a New Deal agency established to provide jobs in the theater. He chose the theater project despite the more lucrative offer to work as a scriptwriter for 20th Century Fox. [19] However, Congress, worried about possible Communist infiltration, closed the project in 1939. [15] Miller began working in the Brooklyn Navy Yard while continuing to write radio plays, some of which were broadcast on CBS. [15] [19]

Early career Edit

In 1940, Miller married Mary Grace Slattery. [24] The couple had two children, Jane (born September 7, 1944) and Robert (born May 31, 1947). Miller was exempted from military service during World War II because of a high school football injury to his left kneecap. [15] In 1944 Miller's first play was produced The Man Who Had All the Luck and won the Theatre Guild's National Award. [25] The play closed after four performances with disastrous reviews. [26]

In 1947, Miller's play All My Sons, the writing of which had commenced in 1941, was a success on Broadway (earning him his first Tony Award, for Best Author) and his reputation as a playwright was established. [27] Years later, in a 1994 interview with Ron Rifkin, Miller said that most contemporary critics regarded All My Sons as "a very depressing play in a time of great optimism" and that positive reviews from Brooks Atkinson of The New York Times had saved it from failure. [28]

In 1948, Miller built a small studio in Roxbury, Connecticut. There, in less than a day, he wrote Act I of Death of a Salesman. Within six weeks, he completed the rest of the play, [19] one of the classics of world theater. [15] [29] Death of a Salesman premiered on Broadway on February 10, 1949, at the Morosco Theatre, directed by Elia Kazan, and starring Lee J. Cobb as Willy Loman, Mildred Dunnock as Linda, Arthur Kennedy as Biff, and Cameron Mitchell as Happy. The play was commercially successful and critically acclaimed, winning a Tony Award for Best Author, the New York Drama Circle Critics' Award, and the Pulitzer Prize for Drama. It was the first play to win all three of these major awards. The play was performed 742 times. [15]

In 1949, Miller exchanged letters with Eugene O'Neill regarding Miller's production of All My Sons. O'Neill had sent Miller a congratulatory telegram in response, he wrote a letter that consisted of a few paragraphs detailing his gratitude for the telegram, apologizing for not responding earlier, and inviting Eugene to the opening of Death of a Salesman. O'Neill replied, accepting the apology, but declining the invitation, explaining that his Parkinson's disease made it difficult to travel. He ended the letter with an invitation to Boston, a trip that never occurred. [30]

Critical years Edit

In 1955, a one-act version of Miller's verse drama A View from the Bridge opened on Broadway in a joint bill with one of Miller's lesser-known plays, A Memory of Two Mondays. The following year, Miller revised A View from the Bridge as a two-act prose drama, which Peter Brook directed in London. [31] A French-Italian co-production Vu du pont, based on the play, was released in 1962.

Marriages and family Edit

In June 1956, Miller left his first wife, Mary Slattery, whom he had married in 1940, and wed film star Marilyn Monroe. [24] They had met in 1951, had a brief affair, and remained in contact since. [15] [24] Monroe had just turned 30 when they married she never had a real family of her own and was eager to join the family of her new husband. [32] : 156

Monroe began to reconsider her career and the fact that trying to manage it made her feel helpless. She admitted to Miller, "I hate Hollywood. I don't want it any more. I want to live quietly in the country and just be there when you need me. I can't fight for myself any more." [32] : 154

She converted to Judaism to "express her loyalty and get close to both Miller and his parents", writes biographer Jeffrey Meyers. [32] : 156 Monroe told her close friend, Susan Strasberg: "I can identify with the Jews. Everybody's always out to get them, no matter what they do, like me." [32] : 156 Soon after she converted, Egypt banned all of her movies. [32] : 157

Away from Hollywood and the culture of celebrity, Monroe's life became more normal she began cooking, keeping house and giving Miller more attention and affection than he had been used to. [32] : 157

Later that year, Miller was subpoenaed by the HUAC, and Monroe accompanied him. [33] In her personal notes, she wrote about her worries during this period:

I am so concerned about protecting Arthur. I love him—and he is the only person—human being I have ever known that I could love not only as a man to which I am attracted to practically out of my senses—but he is the only person—as another human being that I trust as much as myself. [34]

Miller began work on writing the screenplay for The Misfits in 1960, directed by John Huston and starring Monroe but it was during the filming that Miller and Monroe's relationship hit difficulties, and he later said that the filming was one of the lowest points in his life. [35] Monroe was taking drugs to help her sleep and more drugs to help her wake up, which caused her to arrive on the set late and then have trouble remembering her lines. Huston was unaware that Miller and Monroe were having problems in their private life. He recalled later, "I was impertinent enough to say to Arthur that to allow her to take drugs of any kind was criminal and utterly irresponsible. Shortly after that I realized that she wouldn't listen to Arthur at all he had no say over her actions." [36]

Shortly before the film's premiere in 1961, Miller and Monroe divorced after five years of marriage. [19] Nineteen months later, on August 5, 1962, Monroe died of a likely drug overdose. [37] Huston, who had also directed her in her first major role in The Asphalt Jungle in 1950, and who had seen her rise to stardom, put the blame for her death on her doctors as opposed to the stresses of being a star: "The girl was an addict of sleeping pills and she was made so by the God-damn doctors. It had nothing to do with the Hollywood set-up." [38]

Miller married photographer Inge Morath in February 1962. She had worked as a photographer documenting the production of The Misfits. The first of their two children, Rebecca, was born September 15, 1962. Their son, Daniel, was born with Down syndrome in November 1966. Against his wife's wishes, Miller had him institutionalized, first at a home for infants in New York City, and then at the Southbury Training School in Connecticut. Though Morath visited Daniel often, Miller never visited him at the school and rarely spoke of him. [39] [40] Miller and Inge remained together until her death in 2002. Arthur Miller's son-in-law, actor Daniel Day-Lewis, is said to have visited Daniel frequently, and to have persuaded Arthur Miller to meet with him. [41]

HUAC controversy and The Crucible Edit

In 1952, Elia Kazan appeared before the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC). Kazan named eight members of the Group Theatre, including Clifford Odets, Paula Strasberg, Lillian Hellman, J. Edward Bromberg, and John Garfield, [42] who in recent years had been fellow members of the Communist Party. [43] Miller and Kazan were close friends throughout the late 1940s and early 1950s, but after Kazan's testimony to the HUAC, the pair's friendship ended. [43] After speaking with Kazan about his testimony, Miller traveled to Salem, Massachusetts, to research the witch trials of 1692. [24] He and Kazan did not speak to each other for the next ten years. Kazan later defended his own actions through his film On the Waterfront, in which a dockworker heroically testifies against a corrupt union boss. [44] Miller would retaliate to Kazan's work by writing A View from the Bridge, a play where a longshoreman ousts his co-workers motivated only by jealousy and greed. He sent a copy of the initial script to Kazan and when the director asked in jest to direct the movie, Miller replied "I only sent you the script to let you know what I think of Stool-Pigeons."

In The Crucible, Miller likened the situation with the House Un-American Activities Committee to the witch hunt in Salem in 1692. [45] [46] [33] The play opened at the Martin Beck Theatre on Broadway on January 22, 1953. Though widely considered only somewhat successful at the time of its release, today The Crucible is Miller's most frequently produced work throughout the world. [24] It was adapted into an opera by Robert Ward in 1961.

The HUAC took an interest in Miller himself not long after The Crucible opened, denying him a passport to attend the play's London opening in 1954. [19] When Miller applied in 1956 for a routine renewal of his passport, the House Un-American Activities Committee used this opportunity to subpoena him to appear before the committee. Before appearing, Miller asked the committee not to ask him to name names, to which the chairman, Francis E. Walter (D-PA) agreed. [47] When Miller attended the hearing, to which Monroe accompanied him, risking her own career, [24] he gave the committee a detailed account of his political activities. [48] Reneging on the chairman's promise, the committee demanded the names of friends and colleagues who had participated in similar activities. [47] Miller refused to comply, saying "I could not use the name of another person and bring trouble on him." [47] As a result, a judge found Miller guilty of contempt of Congress in May 1957. Miller was sentenced to a fine and a prison sentence, blacklisted, and disallowed a US passport. [49] In August 1958, his conviction was overturned by the court of appeals, which ruled that Miller had been misled by the chairman of the HUAC. [47]

Miller's experience with the HUAC affected him throughout his life. In the late 1970s, he joined other celebrities (including William Styron and Mike Nichols) who were brought together by the journalist Joan Barthel. Barthel's coverage of the highly publicized Barbara Gibbons murder case helped raise bail for Gibbons' son Peter Reilly, who had been convicted of his mother's murder based on what many felt was a coerced confession and little other evidence. [50] Barthel documented the case in her book A Death in Canaan, which was made as a television film of the same name and broadcast in 1978. [51] City Confidential, an A&E Network series, produced an episode about the murder, postulating that part of the reason Miller took such an active interest (including supporting Reilly's defense and using his own celebrity to bring attention to Reilly's plight) was because he had felt similarly persecuted in his run-ins with the HUAC. He sympathized with Reilly, whom he firmly believed to be innocent and to have been railroaded by the Connecticut State Police and the Attorney General who had initially prosecuted the case. [52] [53]

Later career Edit

In 1964, After the Fall was produced, and is said to be a deeply personal view of Miller's experiences during his marriage to Monroe. The play reunited Miller with his former friend Kazan: they collaborated on both the script and the direction. After the Fall opened on January 23, 1964, at the ANTA Theatre in Washington Square Park amid a flurry of publicity and outrage at putting a Monroe-like character, called Maggie, on stage. [24] Robert Brustein, in a review in the New Republic, called After the Fall "a three and one half hour breach of taste, a confessional autobiography of embarrassing explicitness . there is a misogynistic strain in the play which the author does not seem to recognize. . He has created a shameless piece of tabloid gossip, an act of exhibitionism which makes us all voyeurs, . a wretched piece of dramatic writing." [54] That same year, Miller produced Incident at Vichy. In 1965, Miller was elected the first American president of PEN International, a position which he held for four years. [55] A year later, Miller organized the 1966 PEN congress in New York City. Miller also wrote the penetrating family drama, The Price, produced in 1968. [24] It was Miller's most successful play since Death of a Salesman. [56]

In 1968, Miller attended the Democratic National Convention as a delegate for Eugene McCarthy. [57] In 1969, Miller's works were banned in the Soviet Union after he campaigned for the freedom of dissident writers. [19] Throughout the 1970s, Miller spent much of his time experimenting with the theatre, producing one-act plays such as Fame and The Reason Why, and traveling with his wife, producing In The Country and Chinese Encounters with her. Both his 1972 comedy The Creation of the World and Other Business and its musical adaptation, Up from Paradise, were critical and commercial failures. [58] [59]

Miller was an unusually articulate commentator on his own work. In 1978 he published a collection of his Theater Essays, edited by Robert A. Martin and with a foreword by Miller. Highlights of the collection included Miller's introduction to his Collected Plays, his reflections on the theory of tragedy, comments on the McCarthy Era, and pieces arguing for a publicly supported theater. Reviewing this collection in the Chicago Tribune, Studs Terkel remarked, "in reading [the Theater Essays]. you are exhilaratingly aware of a social critic, as well as a playwright, who knows what he's talking about." [60]

In 1983, Miller traveled to China to produce and direct Death of a Salesman at the People's Art Theatre in Beijing. The play was a success in China [56] and in 1984, Salesman in Beijing, a book about Miller's experiences in Beijing, was published. Around the same time, Death of a Salesman was made into a TV movie starring Dustin Hoffman as Willy Loman. Shown on CBS, it attracted 25 million viewers. [19] [61] In late 1987, Miller's autobiographical work, Timebends, was published. Before it was published, it was well known that Miller would not talk about Monroe in interviews in Timebends Miller talks about his experiences with Monroe in detail. [24]

During the early-mid 1990s, Miller wrote three new plays: The Ride Down Mt. Morgan (1991), The Last Yankee (1992), and Broken Glass (1994). In 1996, a film of The Crucible starring Daniel Day-Lewis, Paul Scofield, Bruce Davison, and Winona Ryder opened. Miller spent much of 1996 working on the screenplay for the film. [19]

Mr. Peters' Connections was staged Off-Broadway in 1998, and Death of a Salesman was revived on Broadway in 1999 to celebrate its fiftieth anniversary. The play, once again, was a large critical success, winning a Tony Award for best revival of a play. [62]

In 1993, he was awarded the National Medal of Arts. [63] Miller was honored with the PEN/Laura Pels Theater Award for a Master American Dramatist in 1998. In 2001 the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) selected Miller for the Jefferson Lecture, the U.S. federal government's highest honor for achievement in the humanities. [64] Miller's lecture was entitled "On Politics and the Art of Acting." [65] Miller's lecture analyzed political events (including the U.S. presidential election of 2000) in terms of the "arts of performance", and it drew attacks from some conservatives [66] such as Jay Nordlinger, who called it "a disgrace", [67] and George Will, who argued that Miller was not legitimately a "scholar". [68]

In 1999, Miller was awarded The Dorothy and Lillian Gish Prize, [69] [70] 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." [71] In 2001, Miller received the National Book Foundation's Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters. On May 1, 2002, Miller was awarded Spain's Principe de Asturias Prize for Literature as "the undisputed master of modern drama". Later that year, Ingeborg Morath died of lymphatic cancer [72] at the age of 78. The following year Miller won the Jerusalem Prize. [19]

In December 2004, 89-year-old Miller announced that he had been in love with 34-year-old minimalist painter Agnes Barley and had been living with her at his Connecticut farm since 2002, and that they intended to marry. [73] Within hours of her father's death, Rebecca Miller ordered Barley to vacate the premises because she had consistently been opposed to the relationship. [74] Miller's final play, Finishing the Picture, opened at the Goodman Theatre, Chicago, in the fall of 2004, with one character said to be based on Barley. [75] It was reported to be based on his experience during the filming The Misfits, [76] though Miller insisted the play is a work of fiction with independent characters that were no more than composite shadows of history. [77]

Death Edit

Miller died on the evening of February 10, 2005 (the 56th anniversary of the Broadway debut of Death of a Salesman) at age 89 of bladder cancer and heart failure, at his home in Roxbury, Connecticut. He had been in hospice care at his sister's apartment in New York since his release from hospital the previous month. [78] He was surrounded by Barley, family and friends. [79] [80] His body was interred at Roxbury Center Cemetery in Roxbury.

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. [29] After his death, many respected actors, directors, and producers paid tribute to Miller, [81] some calling him the last great practitioner of the American stage, [82] and Broadway theatres darkened their lights in a show of respect. [83] 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. [84]

Other notable arrangements for Miller's legacy are that his letters, notes, drafts and other papers are housed at the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center at The University of Texas at Austin.

Miller is also a member of the American Theater Hall of Fame. He was inducted in 1979. [85] [86]

In 1993, he received the Four Freedoms Award for Freedom of Speech. [87]

In 2017, his daughter, Rebecca Miller, a writer and filmmaker, completed a documentary about her father's life, under the title Arthur Miller: Writer. [88]

Minor planet 3769 Arthurmiller is named after him. [89]

Foundation Edit

The Arthur Miller Foundation was founded to honor the legacy of Miller and his New York City Public School Education. The mission of the foundation is: "Promoting increased access and equity to theater arts education in our schools and increasing the number of students receiving theater arts education as an integral part of their academic curriculum." [90] Other initiatives include certification of new theater teachers and their placement in public schools increasing the number of theater teachers in the system from the current estimate of 180 teachers in 1800 schools supporting professional development of all certified theater teachers providing teaching artists, cultural partners, physical spaces, and theater ticket allocations for students. The foundation's primary purpose is to provide arts education in the New York City school system. The current chancellor of the foundation is Carmen Farina, a large proponent of the Common Core State Standards Initiative. The Master Arts Council includes, among others, Alec Baldwin, Ellen Barkin, Bradley Cooper, Dustin Hoffman, Scarlett Johansson, Tony Kushner, Julianne Moore, Michael Moore, Liam Neeson, David O. Russell, and Liev Schreiber. Son-in-law Daniel Day-Lewis serves on the current board of directors. [91]

The foundation celebrated Miller's 100th birthday with a one-night-only performance of Miller's seminal works in November 2015. [92]

The Arthur Miller Foundation currently supports a pilot program in theater and film at the public school Quest to Learn in partnership with the Institute of Play. The model is being used as an in-school elective theater class and lab. The objective is to create a sustainable theater education model to disseminate to teachers at professional development workshops. [93]

Archive Edit

Miller donated thirteen boxes of his earliest manuscripts to the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas at Austin in 1961 and 1962. [94] This collection included the original handwritten notebooks and early typed drafts for Death of a Salesman, The Crucible, All My Sons, and other works. In January, 2018, the Ransom Center announced the acquisition of the remainder of the Miller archive totaling over 200 boxes. [95] [96] The full archive opened in November, 2019. [97]

Literary and public criticism Edit

Christopher Bigsby wrote Arthur Miller: The Definitive Biography based on boxes of papers Miller made available to him before his death in 2005. [98] 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". [98]

In his book Trinity of Passion, author Alan M. Wald conjectures that Miller was "a member of a writer's unit of the Communist Party around 1946," using the pseudonym Matt Wayne, and editing a drama column in the magazine The New Masses. [99] [100]

In 1999 the writer Christopher Hitchens attacked Miller for comparing the Monica Lewinsky investigation to the Salem witch hunt. Miller had asserted a parallel between the examination of physical evidence on Lewinsky's dress and the examinations of women's bodies for signs of the "Devil's Marks" in Salem. Hitchens scathingly disputed the parallel. [101] In his memoir, Hitch-22, Hitchens bitterly noted that Miller, despite his prominence as a left-wing intellectual, had failed to support author Salman Rushdie during the Iranian fatwa involving The Satanic Verses. [102]


Arthur Miller and the HUAC investigations

/>Arthur Miller with Marilyn Monroe. Miller defined the word witch hunt with his play The Crucible released in 1953.
Image courtesy of eMoviePoster.

Marilyn Monroe was never considered political, yet her image would be entwined with the acclaimed playwright Arthur Miller. A year before DiMaggio and Monroe, began their ill-fated marriage, on January 22, 1953 the play The Crucible held its premiere at the Martin Beck Theatre in New York. It was a groundbreaking play and it defined the HUAC investigations as a witch hunt and cemented the reputation of Miller, who had been acclaimed for Death of A Salesman in 1949, when he had won the Pulitzer prize for drama. The Crucible, represents the paranoia about communism that pervaded America in the 1950s. There are clear and obvious parallels between the House Committee on Un-American Activities investigation rooting out of real and suspected communists and the seventeenth-century witch-hunt mania that hit Salem. Clearly, the necessity to “name names” was another link between the two periods. Miller wrote in his autobiography that the main point of the hearings was to have the accused make a public confession, to damn their confederates as well as the Devil. The accused would then guarantee their new allegiance by breaking ‘disgusting old vows’ in public.[i] The Crucible remains one of Miller’s most acclaimed plays and its continued revivals have painted an indelible image of the ‘witch-hunt’ as part of the hysteria of the McCarthyite period. As recently as 2015, the Melbourne Theatre Company was reviving the play to great popular and critical success. It is played all over the world to this day.

Miller certainly did not invent the term witch hunt. From at least the 1930s, the term witch-hunt has been used allegorically to describe investigations by governments to seek out and expose perceived and real political enemies, fostering a degree of social fear. One of the first to use it in terms of Hollywood in the Red Scare period was actually an arch-conservative in Cecil B. DeMille. After the 1947 HUAC hearings, the media reported that: “DeMille said he thought Reds were neither more or less active in Hollywood than in other major American cities … ‘Hollywood is a convenient target for so-called witch hunters … I sometimes think these hunters are actually hunting headlines while the real witch sits in her little red tent and laughs at them.’”

The playwright Arthur Miller handled the HUAC investigations in a far different way to Kazan. He was called long after the early investigations and he believed that his marriage to Hollywood’s most popular actress Marilyn Monroe helped spark the interest of the HUAC investigators. At his hearing, Miller talked quite openly about himself and his political beliefs. He had never been a member of the communist party, but had been active in left circles for many years. Miller refused to name any other person and his approach earned him a contempt citation from Congress. The charge was later quashed by the Circuit Court of Appeals in 1958.

Miller made several artistic responses to the HUAC investigations through his plays A View From the Bridge (1955) and The Crucible (1953). A View From the Bridge cannot be considered to be a direct rebuttal of On the Waterfront, but there are strong similarities. In the play, a longshoreman informed immigration authorities of wife’s two relatives who were illegal immigrants. His actions were not terribly evil, but he was destroyed by them nonetheless.

The Crucible was a powerful play which linked the HUAC investigations to the Salem witch-hunts. Miller wrote in his autobiography that the main point of the hearings was to have the accused make a public confession, to damn their confederates as well as the Devil. The accused would then guarantee their new allegiance by breaking ‘disgusting old vows’ in public.[1] The Crucible remains one of Miller’s most acclaimed plays and its continued revivals have painted an indelible image of the ‘witch-hunt’ as part of the hysteria of the McCarthyite period.[2]

[2] As recently as June 2016, the Melbourne Theatre Company was reviving the play to great popular and critical success. The play was 48 years old.


Miller Recounts McCarthy Era, Origins of "The Crucible"

Arthur Miller, the world-renowned playwright widely regarded as a pioneer of American drama, recounted his experiences with the anti-Communist hysteria of the 1940s and 1950s and the creation of "The Crucible" in a lecture Monday afternoon.

Miller's lecture, titled "History Around the Crucible" and delivered to a standing-room-only audience in the Science Center, focused on Congress's investigation of his personal life and his sense that he was living in "a perverse work of art."

"In one sense," he said, "'The Crucible' was an attempt to make life real again."

"The Crucible," a dramatization of the 1692 Salem witch trials, was written as an allegory for the "witch-hunt" atmosphere that pervaded America when Joseph McCarthy, a Republican representative from Wisconsin, led the nation on a search for communists in the American government. Miller said the search "paralyzed the nation."

"Suffice it to say, it was a time of great--no doubt unprecedented--fear," he said.

Miller, who also wrote the Pulitzer Prize-winning "Death of a Salesman," called McCarthy and the anti-communist forces "silly."

His experience with the so-called McCarthy era began, Miller said, when Columbia Pictures was preparing to release the film version of "Death of a Salesman." Because many executives considered the play anti-capitalist, Columbia asked Miller to sign an anti-communist declaration. He refused.

"The air of terror was heavy," he said. "I was sure the whole thing would soon go away."

But it didn't, and as anti-communist "paranoia" swept the nation, Miller said he grew increasingly enraged by the rising hysteria.

The military banned performances of his plays on army bases, and his request for a passport renewal was denied--forcing him to miss the European premiere of "The Crucible."

"Rather than physical fear, there was a sense of impotence," he said.

In 1956, McCarthy's House Committee on Un-American Activities subpoenaed him to testify. But Miller said the subpoena was only because of his impending marriage to movie star Marilyn Monroe--and that House prosecutors were only seeking publicity in the waning years of the McCarthy era.

When he refused to identify writers that he had met at a conference organized by socialists, Miller was cited for contempt of Congress.

"I began to despair of my own silence," he said. "I longed to respond to this climate of fear."

"The Crucible," he said, was his response.

When he realized that the witch trials bore a direct connection to McCarthy's communist hunt, Miller spent three days in Salem's library reviewing court transcripts. He said he was most struck by the preponderance of "spectral" and circumstantial evidence in the proceedings.

"You could be at home asleep in bed, but your spirit could be out at your neighbor's home, feeling up his wife," Miller said.

Because of the connection he made to Salem, Miller said he more clearly understood the actions of the government in the 1950s.

"Salem. had taught me. that a kind of built-in pestilence has nestled in the human mind," he said.

In his introduction to Miller's speech, Director of the Loeb Drama Center Robert S. Brustein called Miller "our theater's elder statesman."

"For 50 years now, ever since 'Death of a Salesman,' the name of Arthur Miller has been synonymous with, indeed inseparable from, American drama," he said.

Miller's lecture was the opening of the William E. Massey Sr. Lectures in the History of American Civilization. Past lecturers in the series include Toni Morrison, Eudora Welty and Gore Vidal.

Miller, who is 83, received an honorary degree from Harvard at the 1997 Commencement exercises.

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Arthur Miller refuses to name communists - HISTORY

ASHINGTON, May 31 - Arthur Miller, the playwright, was found guilty today of contempt of Congress.

He had refused to answer two questions at a hearing before the House Committee on Un-American Activities. Although he testified frankly about his own relationships with persons of Communist bent or membership, he said that his conscience had forbidden him to tell about others.

Both of the questions that he refused to answer dealt with other persons who had attended meetings with him.

Overruling the defense on what the court considered the main point in the case, Judge Charles F. McLaughlin said that both questions had been pertinent to the committee&aposs inquiry. Therefore, he convicted Mr. Miller on both counts.

Judge McLaughlin tried Mr. Miller recently in United States District Court without a jury. He filed the opinion with the clerk of the court today.

Sentence will be pronounced later. The maximum sentence for contempt of Congress is a year in jail and a $1,000 fine. Judges seldom impose the maximum in these cases and no one has been imprisoned recently for refusing to talk about others when he has been frank about himself.

The 42-year-old playwright, whose wife is Marilyn Monroe, the motion picture actress, testified before the committee on June 21, 1956. He said that he had attended five or six meetings of Communist party writers.

Referring to a 1947 meeting, the committee asked him:

1. "Can you tell us who were there when you walked into the room?"

2. "Was Arnaud D&aposUsseau chairman of the meeting of the Communist party writers which took place in 1947 at which you were in attendance?"

The Government contended that both questions had been pertinent to the subject of the fraudulent procurement and misuse of American passports by persons in the service of the Communist conspiracy. This was the announced subject of the hearing at which Mr. Miller testified.

Judge McLaughlin ruled that the committee had met the requirement of having valid legislative purpose for its hearing. The Government had shown, he said, that American passports were being misused by persons connected with the Communist conspiracy.

"Since the Congress has power to legislate concerning passports," he said, "it is evident that Congress had the right to investigate the subject of passports."

The court said that Communist sympathizers had used passports unlawfully, that Miller had held a passport in 1947, that he had been denied one in 1954, and that he had had an application pending for one at the time of the Congressional hearing.

Mr. D&aposUsseau, said the opinion, had been a witness before the same committee in 1952 and had refused to answer all questions about Communist party membership or activity.

Judge McLaughlin ruled:

"In the circumstances, an inquiry directed to defendant as to the identity of the Communist party writers with whom he foregathered for discussions of the works of Communist writers would seem to be one logically calculated to produce information which could be of assistance to the committee in connection with its investigation of communistic passport activities in relation to the aforementioned matter of legislative concern."

Discussing Mr. Miller&aposs motive for refusing to answer, the court said:

"However commendable may be regarded the motive of the defendant in refusing to disclose the identity or the official position of another with whom he was in association, lest said disclosure might bring trouble on him, that motive and that refusal have been removed from this court&aposs consideration."

In support of this, the court cited an opinion of the Circuit Court of Appeals, District of Columbia, in a similar contempt case, Watkins v. United States. The Watkins case now is before the Supreme Court.

At his apartment, 444 East Fifty-seventh Street, Mr. Miller declined yesterday to comment on his conviction.

Mr. and Mrs. Miller left the apartment late yesterday for an undisclosed destination.

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Contents

Early life Edit

Miller was born on October 17, 1915, in Harlem, in the New York City borough of Manhattan, and has published an account of his early years under the title 'A Boy Grew in Brooklyn' the second of three children of Augusta (Barnett) and Isidore Miller. Miller was Jewish and of Polish-Jewish descent. [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9] [10] His father was born in Radomyśl Wielki, Galicia (then part of Austria-Hungary, now Poland), and his mother was a native of New York whose parents also arrived from that town. [11] Isidore owned a women's clothing manufacturing business employing 400 people. He became a wealthy and respected man in the community. [12] The family, including Miller's younger sister Joan Copeland, lived on West [13] 110th Street in Manhattan, owned a summer house in Far Rockaway, Queens, and employed a chauffeur. [14] In the Wall Street Crash of 1929, the family lost almost everything and moved to Gravesend, Brooklyn. [15] (One source says they moved to Midwood.) [16] As a teenager, Miller delivered bread every morning before school to help the family. [14] After graduating in 1932 from Abraham Lincoln High School, he worked at several menial jobs to pay for his college tuition at the University of Michigan. [15] [17] After graduation (circa 1936), he began to work as a psychiatric aide and also a copywriter before accepting faculty posts at New York University and University of New Hampshire. On May 1, 1935, Miller joined the League of American Writers (1935–1943), whose members included Alexander Trachtenberg of International Publishers, Franklin Folsom, Louis Untermeyer, I. F. Stone, Myra Page, Millen Brand, Lillian Hellman, and Dashiell Hammett. (Members were largely either Communist Party members or fellow travelers.) [18]

At the University of Michigan, Miller first majored in journalism and worked for the student newspaper, The Michigan Daily, as well as the satirical Gargoyle Humor Magazine. It was during this time that he wrote his first play, No Villain. [19] 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 [20] Rowe emphasized how a play is built in order to achieve its intended effect, or what Miller called "the dynamics of play construction". [21] Rowe provided realistic feedback along with much-needed encouragement, and became a lifelong friend. [22] Miller retained strong ties to his alma mater throughout the rest of his life, establishing the university's Arthur Miller Award in 1985 and Arthur Miller Award for Dramatic Writing in 1999, and lending his name to the Arthur Miller Theatre in 2000. [23] In 1937, Miller wrote Honors at Dawn, which also received the Avery Hopwood Award. [19] After his graduation in 1938, he joined the Federal Theatre Project, a New Deal agency established to provide jobs in the theater. He chose the theater project despite the more lucrative offer to work as a scriptwriter for 20th Century Fox. [19] However, Congress, worried about possible Communist infiltration, closed the project in 1939. [15] Miller began working in the Brooklyn Navy Yard while continuing to write radio plays, some of which were broadcast on CBS. [15] [19]

Early career Edit

In 1940, Miller married Mary Grace Slattery. [24] The couple had two children, Jane (born September 7, 1944) and Robert (born May 31, 1947). Miller was exempted from military service during World War II because of a high school football injury to his left kneecap. [15] In 1944 Miller's first play was produced The Man Who Had All the Luck and won the Theatre Guild's National Award. [25] The play closed after four performances with disastrous reviews. [26]

In 1947, Miller's play All My Sons, the writing of which had commenced in 1941, was a success on Broadway (earning him his first Tony Award, for Best Author) and his reputation as a playwright was established. [27] Years later, in a 1994 interview with Ron Rifkin, Miller said that most contemporary critics regarded All My Sons as "a very depressing play in a time of great optimism" and that positive reviews from Brooks Atkinson of The New York Times had saved it from failure. [28]

In 1948, Miller built a small studio in Roxbury, Connecticut. There, in less than a day, he wrote Act I of Death of a Salesman. Within six weeks, he completed the rest of the play, [19] one of the classics of world theater. [15] [29] Death of a Salesman premiered on Broadway on February 10, 1949, at the Morosco Theatre, directed by Elia Kazan, and starring Lee J. Cobb as Willy Loman, Mildred Dunnock as Linda, Arthur Kennedy as Biff, and Cameron Mitchell as Happy. The play was commercially successful and critically acclaimed, winning a Tony Award for Best Author, the New York Drama Circle Critics' Award, and the Pulitzer Prize for Drama. It was the first play to win all three of these major awards. The play was performed 742 times. [15]

In 1949, Miller exchanged letters with Eugene O'Neill regarding Miller's production of All My Sons. O'Neill had sent Miller a congratulatory telegram in response, he wrote a letter that consisted of a few paragraphs detailing his gratitude for the telegram, apologizing for not responding earlier, and inviting Eugene to the opening of Death of a Salesman. O'Neill replied, accepting the apology, but declining the invitation, explaining that his Parkinson's disease made it difficult to travel. He ended the letter with an invitation to Boston, a trip that never occurred. [30]

Critical years Edit

In 1955, a one-act version of Miller's verse drama A View from the Bridge opened on Broadway in a joint bill with one of Miller's lesser-known plays, A Memory of Two Mondays. The following year, Miller revised A View from the Bridge as a two-act prose drama, which Peter Brook directed in London. [31] A French-Italian co-production Vu du pont, based on the play, was released in 1962.

Marriages and family Edit

In June 1956, Miller left his first wife, Mary Slattery, whom he had married in 1940, and wed film star Marilyn Monroe. [24] They had met in 1951, had a brief affair, and remained in contact since. [15] [24] Monroe had just turned 30 when they married she never had a real family of her own and was eager to join the family of her new husband. [32] : 156

Monroe began to reconsider her career and the fact that trying to manage it made her feel helpless. She admitted to Miller, "I hate Hollywood. I don't want it any more. I want to live quietly in the country and just be there when you need me. I can't fight for myself any more." [32] : 154

She converted to Judaism to "express her loyalty and get close to both Miller and his parents", writes biographer Jeffrey Meyers. [32] : 156 Monroe told her close friend, Susan Strasberg: "I can identify with the Jews. Everybody's always out to get them, no matter what they do, like me." [32] : 156 Soon after she converted, Egypt banned all of her movies. [32] : 157

Away from Hollywood and the culture of celebrity, Monroe's life became more normal she began cooking, keeping house and giving Miller more attention and affection than he had been used to. [32] : 157

Later that year, Miller was subpoenaed by the HUAC, and Monroe accompanied him. [33] In her personal notes, she wrote about her worries during this period:

I am so concerned about protecting Arthur. I love him—and he is the only person—human being I have ever known that I could love not only as a man to which I am attracted to practically out of my senses—but he is the only person—as another human being that I trust as much as myself. [34]

Miller began work on writing the screenplay for The Misfits in 1960, directed by John Huston and starring Monroe but it was during the filming that Miller and Monroe's relationship hit difficulties, and he later said that the filming was one of the lowest points in his life. [35] Monroe was taking drugs to help her sleep and more drugs to help her wake up, which caused her to arrive on the set late and then have trouble remembering her lines. Huston was unaware that Miller and Monroe were having problems in their private life. He recalled later, "I was impertinent enough to say to Arthur that to allow her to take drugs of any kind was criminal and utterly irresponsible. Shortly after that I realized that she wouldn't listen to Arthur at all he had no say over her actions." [36]

Shortly before the film's premiere in 1961, Miller and Monroe divorced after five years of marriage. [19] Nineteen months later, on August 5, 1962, Monroe died of a likely drug overdose. [37] Huston, who had also directed her in her first major role in The Asphalt Jungle in 1950, and who had seen her rise to stardom, put the blame for her death on her doctors as opposed to the stresses of being a star: "The girl was an addict of sleeping pills and she was made so by the God-damn doctors. It had nothing to do with the Hollywood set-up." [38]

Miller married photographer Inge Morath in February 1962. She had worked as a photographer documenting the production of The Misfits. The first of their two children, Rebecca, was born September 15, 1962. Their son, Daniel, was born with Down syndrome in November 1966. Against his wife's wishes, Miller had him institutionalized, first at a home for infants in New York City, and then at the Southbury Training School in Connecticut. Though Morath visited Daniel often, Miller never visited him at the school and rarely spoke of him. [39] [40] Miller and Inge remained together until her death in 2002. Arthur Miller's son-in-law, actor Daniel Day-Lewis, is said to have visited Daniel frequently, and to have persuaded Arthur Miller to meet with him. [41]

HUAC controversy and The Crucible Edit

In 1952, Elia Kazan appeared before the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC). Kazan named eight members of the Group Theatre, including Clifford Odets, Paula Strasberg, Lillian Hellman, J. Edward Bromberg, and John Garfield, [42] who in recent years had been fellow members of the Communist Party. [43] Miller and Kazan were close friends throughout the late 1940s and early 1950s, but after Kazan's testimony to the HUAC, the pair's friendship ended. [43] After speaking with Kazan about his testimony, Miller traveled to Salem, Massachusetts, to research the witch trials of 1692. [24] He and Kazan did not speak to each other for the next ten years. Kazan later defended his own actions through his film On the Waterfront, in which a dockworker heroically testifies against a corrupt union boss. [44] Miller would retaliate to Kazan's work by writing A View from the Bridge, a play where a longshoreman ousts his co-workers motivated only by jealousy and greed. He sent a copy of the initial script to Kazan and when the director asked in jest to direct the movie, Miller replied "I only sent you the script to let you know what I think of Stool-Pigeons."

In The Crucible, Miller likened the situation with the House Un-American Activities Committee to the witch hunt in Salem in 1692. [45] [46] [33] The play opened at the Martin Beck Theatre on Broadway on January 22, 1953. Though widely considered only somewhat successful at the time of its release, today The Crucible is Miller's most frequently produced work throughout the world. [24] It was adapted into an opera by Robert Ward in 1961.

The HUAC took an interest in Miller himself not long after The Crucible opened, denying him a passport to attend the play's London opening in 1954. [19] When Miller applied in 1956 for a routine renewal of his passport, the House Un-American Activities Committee used this opportunity to subpoena him to appear before the committee. Before appearing, Miller asked the committee not to ask him to name names, to which the chairman, Francis E. Walter (D-PA) agreed. [47] When Miller attended the hearing, to which Monroe accompanied him, risking her own career, [24] he gave the committee a detailed account of his political activities. [48] Reneging on the chairman's promise, the committee demanded the names of friends and colleagues who had participated in similar activities. [47] Miller refused to comply, saying "I could not use the name of another person and bring trouble on him." [47] As a result, a judge found Miller guilty of contempt of Congress in May 1957. Miller was sentenced to a fine and a prison sentence, blacklisted, and disallowed a US passport. [49] In August 1958, his conviction was overturned by the court of appeals, which ruled that Miller had been misled by the chairman of the HUAC. [47]

Miller's experience with the HUAC affected him throughout his life. In the late 1970s, he joined other celebrities (including William Styron and Mike Nichols) who were brought together by the journalist Joan Barthel. Barthel's coverage of the highly publicized Barbara Gibbons murder case helped raise bail for Gibbons' son Peter Reilly, who had been convicted of his mother's murder based on what many felt was a coerced confession and little other evidence. [50] Barthel documented the case in her book A Death in Canaan, which was made as a television film of the same name and broadcast in 1978. [51] City Confidential, an A&E Network series, produced an episode about the murder, postulating that part of the reason Miller took such an active interest (including supporting Reilly's defense and using his own celebrity to bring attention to Reilly's plight) was because he had felt similarly persecuted in his run-ins with the HUAC. He sympathized with Reilly, whom he firmly believed to be innocent and to have been railroaded by the Connecticut State Police and the Attorney General who had initially prosecuted the case. [52] [53]

Later career Edit

In 1964, After the Fall was produced, and is said to be a deeply personal view of Miller's experiences during his marriage to Monroe. The play reunited Miller with his former friend Kazan: they collaborated on both the script and the direction. After the Fall opened on January 23, 1964, at the ANTA Theatre in Washington Square Park amid a flurry of publicity and outrage at putting a Monroe-like character, called Maggie, on stage. [24] Robert Brustein, in a review in the New Republic, called After the Fall "a three and one half hour breach of taste, a confessional autobiography of embarrassing explicitness . there is a misogynistic strain in the play which the author does not seem to recognize. . He has created a shameless piece of tabloid gossip, an act of exhibitionism which makes us all voyeurs, . a wretched piece of dramatic writing." [54] That same year, Miller produced Incident at Vichy. In 1965, Miller was elected the first American president of PEN International, a position which he held for four years. [55] A year later, Miller organized the 1966 PEN congress in New York City. Miller also wrote the penetrating family drama, The Price, produced in 1968. [24] It was Miller's most successful play since Death of a Salesman. [56]

In 1968, Miller attended the Democratic National Convention as a delegate for Eugene McCarthy. [57] In 1969, Miller's works were banned in the Soviet Union after he campaigned for the freedom of dissident writers. [19] Throughout the 1970s, Miller spent much of his time experimenting with the theatre, producing one-act plays such as Fame and The Reason Why, and traveling with his wife, producing In The Country and Chinese Encounters with her. Both his 1972 comedy The Creation of the World and Other Business and its musical adaptation, Up from Paradise, were critical and commercial failures. [58] [59]

Miller was an unusually articulate commentator on his own work. In 1978 he published a collection of his Theater Essays, edited by Robert A. Martin and with a foreword by Miller. Highlights of the collection included Miller's introduction to his Collected Plays, his reflections on the theory of tragedy, comments on the McCarthy Era, and pieces arguing for a publicly supported theater. Reviewing this collection in the Chicago Tribune, Studs Terkel remarked, "in reading [the Theater Essays]. you are exhilaratingly aware of a social critic, as well as a playwright, who knows what he's talking about." [60]

In 1983, Miller traveled to China to produce and direct Death of a Salesman at the People's Art Theatre in Beijing. The play was a success in China [56] and in 1984, Salesman in Beijing, a book about Miller's experiences in Beijing, was published. Around the same time, Death of a Salesman was made into a TV movie starring Dustin Hoffman as Willy Loman. Shown on CBS, it attracted 25 million viewers. [19] [61] In late 1987, Miller's autobiographical work, Timebends, was published. Before it was published, it was well known that Miller would not talk about Monroe in interviews in Timebends Miller talks about his experiences with Monroe in detail. [24]

During the early-mid 1990s, Miller wrote three new plays: The Ride Down Mt. Morgan (1991), The Last Yankee (1992), and Broken Glass (1994). In 1996, a film of The Crucible starring Daniel Day-Lewis, Paul Scofield, Bruce Davison, and Winona Ryder opened. Miller spent much of 1996 working on the screenplay for the film. [19]

Mr. Peters' Connections was staged Off-Broadway in 1998, and Death of a Salesman was revived on Broadway in 1999 to celebrate its fiftieth anniversary. The play, once again, was a large critical success, winning a Tony Award for best revival of a play. [62]

In 1993, he was awarded the National Medal of Arts. [63] Miller was honored with the PEN/Laura Pels Theater Award for a Master American Dramatist in 1998. In 2001 the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) selected Miller for the Jefferson Lecture, the U.S. federal government's highest honor for achievement in the humanities. [64] Miller's lecture was entitled "On Politics and the Art of Acting." [65] Miller's lecture analyzed political events (including the U.S. presidential election of 2000) in terms of the "arts of performance", and it drew attacks from some conservatives [66] such as Jay Nordlinger, who called it "a disgrace", [67] and George Will, who argued that Miller was not legitimately a "scholar". [68]

In 1999, Miller was awarded The Dorothy and Lillian Gish Prize, [69] [70] 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." [71] In 2001, Miller received the National Book Foundation's Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters. On May 1, 2002, Miller was awarded Spain's Principe de Asturias Prize for Literature as "the undisputed master of modern drama". Later that year, Ingeborg Morath died of lymphatic cancer [72] at the age of 78. The following year Miller won the Jerusalem Prize. [19]

In December 2004, 89-year-old Miller announced that he had been in love with 34-year-old minimalist painter Agnes Barley and had been living with her at his Connecticut farm since 2002, and that they intended to marry. [73] Within hours of her father's death, Rebecca Miller ordered Barley to vacate the premises because she had consistently been opposed to the relationship. [74] Miller's final play, Finishing the Picture, opened at the Goodman Theatre, Chicago, in the fall of 2004, with one character said to be based on Barley. [75] It was reported to be based on his experience during the filming The Misfits, [76] though Miller insisted the play is a work of fiction with independent characters that were no more than composite shadows of history. [77]

Death Edit

Miller died on the evening of February 10, 2005 (the 56th anniversary of the Broadway debut of Death of a Salesman) at age 89 of bladder cancer and heart failure, at his home in Roxbury, Connecticut. He had been in hospice care at his sister's apartment in New York since his release from hospital the previous month. [78] He was surrounded by Barley, family and friends. [79] [80] His body was interred at Roxbury Center Cemetery in Roxbury.

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. [29] After his death, many respected actors, directors, and producers paid tribute to Miller, [81] some calling him the last great practitioner of the American stage, [82] and Broadway theatres darkened their lights in a show of respect. [83] 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. [84]

Other notable arrangements for Miller's legacy are that his letters, notes, drafts and other papers are housed at the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center at The University of Texas at Austin.

Miller is also a member of the American Theater Hall of Fame. He was inducted in 1979. [85] [86]

In 1993, he received the Four Freedoms Award for Freedom of Speech. [87]

In 2017, his daughter, Rebecca Miller, a writer and filmmaker, completed a documentary about her father's life, under the title Arthur Miller: Writer. [88]

Minor planet 3769 Arthurmiller is named after him. [89]

Foundation Edit

The Arthur Miller Foundation was founded to honor the legacy of Miller and his New York City Public School Education. The mission of the foundation is: "Promoting increased access and equity to theater arts education in our schools and increasing the number of students receiving theater arts education as an integral part of their academic curriculum." [90] Other initiatives include certification of new theater teachers and their placement in public schools increasing the number of theater teachers in the system from the current estimate of 180 teachers in 1800 schools supporting professional development of all certified theater teachers providing teaching artists, cultural partners, physical spaces, and theater ticket allocations for students. The foundation's primary purpose is to provide arts education in the New York City school system. The current chancellor of the foundation is Carmen Farina, a large proponent of the Common Core State Standards Initiative. The Master Arts Council includes, among others, Alec Baldwin, Ellen Barkin, Bradley Cooper, Dustin Hoffman, Scarlett Johansson, Tony Kushner, Julianne Moore, Michael Moore, Liam Neeson, David O. Russell, and Liev Schreiber. Son-in-law Daniel Day-Lewis serves on the current board of directors. [91]

The foundation celebrated Miller's 100th birthday with a one-night-only performance of Miller's seminal works in November 2015. [92]

The Arthur Miller Foundation currently supports a pilot program in theater and film at the public school Quest to Learn in partnership with the Institute of Play. The model is being used as an in-school elective theater class and lab. The objective is to create a sustainable theater education model to disseminate to teachers at professional development workshops. [93]

Archive Edit

Miller donated thirteen boxes of his earliest manuscripts to the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas at Austin in 1961 and 1962. [94] This collection included the original handwritten notebooks and early typed drafts for Death of a Salesman, The Crucible, All My Sons, and other works. In January, 2018, the Ransom Center announced the acquisition of the remainder of the Miller archive totaling over 200 boxes. [95] [96] The full archive opened in November, 2019. [97]

Literary and public criticism Edit

Christopher Bigsby wrote Arthur Miller: The Definitive Biography based on boxes of papers Miller made available to him before his death in 2005. [98] 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". [98]

In his book Trinity of Passion, author Alan M. Wald conjectures that Miller was "a member of a writer's unit of the Communist Party around 1946," using the pseudonym Matt Wayne, and editing a drama column in the magazine The New Masses. [99] [100]

In 1999 the writer Christopher Hitchens attacked Miller for comparing the Monica Lewinsky investigation to the Salem witch hunt. Miller had asserted a parallel between the examination of physical evidence on Lewinsky's dress and the examinations of women's bodies for signs of the "Devil's Marks" in Salem. Hitchens scathingly disputed the parallel. [101] In his memoir, Hitch-22, Hitchens bitterly noted that Miller, despite his prominence as a left-wing intellectual, had failed to support author Salman Rushdie during the Iranian fatwa involving The Satanic Verses. [102]


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