AM Biography

A BRIEF CHRONOLOGY OF ARTHUR MILLER’S LIFE AND WORKS

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[This chronology has been compiled and crosschecked against a number of sources, however, a special acknowledgement should be made to the thorough “Literary Chronology” and appendices printed in The Theater Essays of Arthur Miller, eds. Robert A. Martin and Steven R. Centola.]


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Arthur and Kermit with their mother

1915 Arthur Asher Miller was born on October 17th in New York City; family lives at 45 West 110th Street.

1920-28 Attends Public School #24 in Harlem.

1923  Sees first play–a melodrama at the Schubert Theater.

1928  Bar-Mitzvah at the Avenue M temple.   Father’s business struggling and family move to Brooklyn.  Attends James Madison High School.

1930  Reassigned to the newly built Abraham Lincoln High School.  Plays on football team.

1931  Delivery boy for local bakery before school, and works for father’s business over summer vacation.

1932  Graduates from Abraham Lincoln High School. Registers for night school at City College, but quits after two weeks.

1933-34  Clerked in an auto-parts warehouse, where he was the only Jew employed and had his first real, personal experiences of American anti-Semitism.

1934  Enters University of Michigan in the Fall to study journalism. Reporter and night editor on student paper, The Michigan Daily.

no villain1936 Writes No Villain in six days and receives Hopwood Award in Drama. Transfers to an English major.

1937 Takes playwrighting class with Professor Kenneth T. Rowe. Rewrite of No Villain, titled, They Too Arise, receives a major award from the Bureau of New Plays and is produced in Ann Arbor and Detroit. Honors at Dawn receives Hopwood Award in Drama. Drives Ralph Neaphus East to join the Abraham Lincoln Brigade in Spain during their Civil War, and decides not to go with him.

1938 The Great Disobedience receives second place in the Hopwood contest. They Too Arise is revised and titled The Grass Still Grows for anticipated production in New York City (never materializes). Graduates with a B.A. in English.  Joins the Federal Theater Project in New York City to write radio plays and scripts, having turned down a much better paying offer to work as a scriptwriter for Twentieth Century Fox, in Hollywood.

1939 Writes Listen My Children, and You’re Next with Norman Rosten.  Federal Theater is shut down and has to go on relief.  William Ireland’s Confession airs on Columbia Workshop (CBS).

1940 Travels to North Carolina to collect dialect speech for the folk division of the Library ofpussycat Congress. Marries Mary Grace Slattery. Writes The Golden Years. Meets Clifford Odets in a second-hand bookstore. The Pussycat and the Plumber Who Was a Man, a radio play airs on Columbia Workshop (CBS); access the script here.

1941 Takes extra job working nightshift as a shipfitter’s helper at the Brooklyn Naval Yard. Writes other radio plays, Joel Chandler Harris, and Captain Paul.

welles1942 Writes radio plays The Battle of the OvensThunder from the Mountains (starring Orson Welles), I Was Married in Bataan, Toward a Farther Star, The Eagle’s Nest, and The Four Freedoms.

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Miller with first wife Mary Slattery and daughter, Jane

1943 Writes The Half-Bridge, and one-act, That They May Win, produced in New York City. Writes Listen for the Sound of Wings (radio play).

1944 Daughter, Jane, is born. Writes radio plays Bernadine, I Love You, Grandpa and the Statue, and The Phillipines Never Surrendered. Adapts Ferenc Molnar’s The Guardsman and Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice for the radio. Having toured army camps to research for The Story of G.I. Joe (a film for which he wrote the initial draft screenplay, but later withdrew from project when he saw they would not let him write it his way), he publishes book about experience, Situation Normal . . . . The Man Who Had All The Luck premiers on Broadway but closes after six performances (including 2 previews), though receives the Theater Guild National Award.

1945 Focus (novel) published. Writes Listen for the Sound of Wings (radio play). Writes “Should Ezra Pound Be Shot?” for New Masses (article).

1946 Adapts George Abbott’s and John C. Holm’s Three Men on a Horse for radio.

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Miller on the set of All My Sons

1947 All My Sons premiers and receives the New York Drama Critics’ Circle Award, and the Donaldson Award. Son, Robert, is born. Writes The Story of Gus (radio play). Writes “Subsidized Theatre” for The New York Times (article). Goes to work for a short time in an inner city factory assembling beer boxes for minimum wage to stay in touch with his audience. Gives first interview to John K. Hutchens, for The New York Times. Explores the Red Hook area and tries to get into the world of the longshoremen there, and find out about Pete Panto, whose story would form the nucleus of his screenplay The Hook.  Buys farmhouse in Roxbury Connecticut as a vacation home, and 31 Grace Court in the city.31gracecourt

1948 Built himself the small Connecticut studio in which he wrote Death of a Salesman. Trip to Europe with Vinny Longhi where got sense of the Italian background he would use for the Carbones and their relatives, also met some Jewish deathcamp survivors held captive in a post-war tangle of bureaucracy.

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Miller and Director Elia Kazan, on the set of Salesman

1949 Death of a Salesman premiers and receives the Pulitzer Prize, the New York Drama Critics’ Circle Award, the Antoinette Perry Award, the Donaldson Award, and the Theater Club Award, among others. New York Times publishes “Tragedy and the Common Man” (essay). Attends the pro-Soviet Cultural and Scientific Conference for World Peace at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel to chair an arts panel with Odets and Dmitri Shostakovich.

1950 Adaption of Henrik Ibsen’s An Enemy of the People premiers. First sound recording of Death of a Salesman.

1951  Meets Marilyn Monroe for the first time. The Hook fails to reach production due to pressure from HUAC. Yiddish production of Death of a Salesman, translated by Joseph Buloff (this is a much shorter version of the play). First film production of Death of a Salesman, with Frederic March, for Columbia Pictures. Ingeborg Morath comes to America.

1952 Visits the Historical Society “Witch Museum” in Salem, to research for The Crucible.

1953 The Crucible premiers and receives the Antoinette Perry Award, and the Donaldson Award. Tried his hand at directing, a production of All My Sons for the Arden, Delaware, summer theater.

1954 Asked to attend the Belgian premier of The Crucible, but unable to attend as denied passport by the US.  First radio production of Death of a Salesman, on NBC.

1955 The one-act A View From the Bridge premiers in a joint bill with A Memory of Two Mondays. HUAC pressured city officials to withdraw permission for Miller to make a film he’d been planning about New York juvenile delinquency.

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Miller testifying before HUAC in 1956

1956 Lives in Nevada for six weeks in order to divorce Mary Slattery and gets the material for The Misfits. Marries Marilyn Monroe. Subpoenaed to appear before HUAC. Receives honorary Doctor of Human Letters (L.H.D.) from the University of Michigan. Goes to England with Monroe and meets Laurence Olivier. Revises A View From the Bridge into two acts for Peter Brook to produce in London, England.

1957 Arthur Miller’s Collected Plays published with a lengthy introductory essay by Miller. Convicted of contempt of Congress for refusing to name names to the House Un-American Activities Committee. Short story “The Misfits” is published in Esquire. First television production of Death of a Salesman, on ITA, England.

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Miller and second wife, Marilyn Monroe

1958 United States Court of Appeals overturns his contempt conviction. Elected to the National Institute of Arts and Letters.

1959 Receives the Gold Medal for Drama from the National Institute of Arts and Letters.

1961 Divorces Marilyn Monroe. The Misfits (film) premiers. Recorded The Crucible: An Opera in Four Acts by Robert Ward and Bernard Stambler. Sidney Lumet directs a movie version of View From a Bridge. Mother, Augusta Miller dies.

1962 Marries Inge Morath. Marilyn Monroe dies.  

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Miller and third wife, Ingeborg “Inge” Morath

1963 Daughter, Rebecca, is born. Jane’s Blanket (children’s book) published.

1964 After visiting the Mauthausen death camp with Inge, covered the Nazi trials in Frankfurt, Germany for the New York Herald Tribune. After the Fall and Incident at Vichy premier at the new Lincoln Center.

1965 Elected president of International P.E.N., the international literary organization, and went to Yugoslavian conference. Ulu Grosbard’s Off-Broadway production of A View from the Bridge.

1966 First sound recording of A View From the Bridge. Father, Isidore Miller dies.

1967 I Don’t Need You Anymore (short stories) published. Sound recording of Incident at Vichy. Television production of The Crucible, on CBSVisited Moscow to persuade Soviet writers to join P.E.N.  Son Daniel born.

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Miller and Paul Newman at the 1968 Democratic National Convention

1968 The Price premiers. Attends the Democratic National Convention in Chicago as the delegate from Roxbury. Sound recording of After the Fall.

1969 In Russia published (reportage with photographs by Inge Morath). Visited Czechoslovakia to show support for writers there and briefly met Václav Havel. Retired as President of P.E.N.

1970 One acts Fame and The Reason Why produced, the latter also filmed on his estate. Miller’s works are banned in the Soviet Union as a result of his work to free dissident writers.

1971 Sound recording of An Enemy of the People. Television productions of A Memory of Two Mondays, on PBS and The Price, on NBC. The Portable Arthur Miller is published by Penguin.

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At home in Roxbury Connecticut

1972 The Creation of the World and Other Business premiers. Attends the Democratic National Convention in Miami as a delegate. First sound recording of The Crucible.

1973 Television production of Incident at Vichy, on PBS.

1974 Up From Paradise (musical version of The Creation of the World and Other Business ) premiers at the University of Michigan. Television production of After the Fall, on NBC.

1977 In the Country published (reportage with Inge Morath). Miller petitions the Czech government to halt arrests of dissident writers. The Archbishop’s Ceiling premiers in Washington, D.C.

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Miller with Czech playwright, Vaclav Havel

1978 The Theater Essays of Arthur Miller, edited by Robert A. Martin published. Fame (film) appears on NBC. Belgian National Theatre does 25th anniversary production of The Crucible, and this time Miller can attend.

1979 Chinese Encounters published (reportage with Inge Morath).

1980 Playing for Time (film) appears on CBS. The American Clock premiers at the Spoleto Festical in South Carolina, then opens later in New York City. TV film Arthur Miller on Home Ground shown on PBS.

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Miller with the cast of the 1983 Beijing production of Salesman

1981 The second volume of Arthur Miller’s Collected Plays published.

1982 One acts Elegy for a Lady and Some Kind of Love Story are produced under the title 2 by A.M. in Connecticut.miller1984kenneycenter

1983 Directs Death of a Salesman at the People’s Art Theater in Beijing, the People’s Republic of China.

1984 Salesman in Beijing is published. Elegy and Some Kind are published under the new title Two-Way Mirror. Miller receives Kennedy Center Honors for his lifetime achievement. Death of a Salesman revived on stage with Dustin Hoffman.

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Miller announcing the 1984 revival of Salesman, with Dustin Hoffman (beside him)
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Hoffman “ages” for the role of willy Loman (scene from 1985 movie)

1985 Death of a Salesman with Dustin Hoffman airs on CBS to an audience of 25 million. Miller goes to Turkey with Harold Pinter for International PEN. A delegate at a meeting of Soviet and American writers in Vilnius, Lithuania, where tried to persuade the Soviets to stop persecuting writers.

1986 I Think About You a Great Deal is published (monologue). One of fifteen writers and scientists invited to the Soviet Union to conference with Mikhail Gorbachov and discuss Soviet policies. British production of The Archbishop’s Ceiling, with a restored script.

1987 One acts I Can’t Remember Anything and Clara are produced under the title Danger: Memory! Publishes Timebends: A Life (autobiography), which appeared as a Book -of the-Month Club popular selection. University of East Anglia names its centre for American studies, the Arthur Miller Centre. The Golden Years is premiered on BBC Radio. Television production of All My Sons, on PBS.

everybodywins1990 Everybody Wins, a film based on Some Kind, is released. Television production of Miller’s translation of An Enemy of the People, on PBS.

1991 The one-act The Last Yankee is produced. The Ride Down Mt. Morgan is premiered in London, England. Receives Mellon Bank Award for lifetime achievement in the humanities. Television production of Clara, and an interview on A&E. South Bank Show television special on Miller in the UK.

1992 Homely Girl is published (novella).

1993 Expanded version of The Last Yankee premiers. Television production of The American Clock, on TNT.

1994 Broken Glass premiers in US and UK, in the UK it wins the Olivier Award for Best Play. Interviewed on The Charley Rose Show, PBS.

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Miller with Inge Morath and daughter, Rebecca

1995 Receives William Inge Festival Award for distinguished achievement in American theater. Tributes to the playwright on the occasion of his eightieth birthday are held in England and America. Homely Girl, A Life and Other Stories is published (novella and short stories).

1996 Receives the Edward Albee Last Frontier Playwright Award. Revised and expanded book of Theater Essays, edited by Robert A. Martin and Steven R. Centola is published.

1997 Revised version of The Ride Down Mt. Morgan is given its American Premier in Williamstown, MA. The Crucible (film with Daniel Day Lewis) opens. cruciblelewisBBC television production of Broken Glass.

1998 Mr. Peters’ Connections premiers with Peter Falk in the lead role as part of the Signature Theatre’s season of Miller’s work. Major revival of A View From the Bridge with Anthony LaPaglia wins two Tony Awards. Is named as the Distinguished Inaugural Senior Fellow of the American Academy in Berlin. Revised version of The Ride Down Mt. Morgan appears on Broadway, starring Patrick Stewart.

1999 Death of a Salesman revived on Broadway with Brian Dennehy for the play’s 50th anniversary, and wins Tony for Best Revival of a Play.

2000 The Ride Down Mount Morgan appears again on Broadway, also a revival of The Price.  There AMS30are major 85th birthday celebrations for Miller held at University of Michigan and at the Arthur Miller Center at UEA, England. Echoes Down the Corridor is published (collected essays from 1944-2000), edited by Steve A. Centola.

2001 Untitled, a previously unpublished one act written for Vaclav Havel appears in New York.  Williamstown Theater Festival revives The Man Who Had All the Luck. Focus, a film based on the edenbook, is made with William H. Macy. Miller is awarded a NEH Fellowship and the John H. Finley Award for Exemplary Service to New York City. On Politics and the Art of Acting is published (lengthy essay). Movie originally titled Plain Jane, based on Miller’s novella Homely Girl, A Life is released on video in Europe under the new title Eden, but not in the US. Miller plays a small role in the movie (Jane’s dying father–filmed in Roxbury).

2002  New York City revivals of The Man Who Had All the Luck, with Chris O’Donnell, and The Crucible, with Liam Neeson. Inge Morath dies. Premier of Resurrection Blues.  Awarded the International Spanish Award: Premio Prìncipe de Asturias de las Letras.Sign

2003  Awarded the Jerusalem Prize.  Brother, Kermit Miller dies on October 17th.

2004  New York City revival of After the Fall with Peter Berg. Premier of Finishing the Picture.

2005  Miller dies of heart failure in his Connecticut home on 10th February.  Memorial Services held in Roxbury and NY. Miller’s estate donates 55 acres along Tophet Road, to the Roxbury Land Trust, to become the Arthur Miller and Inge Morath Miller Preserve.

AMS statement: Arthur Miller died with the same dignity by which he had always lived, at his home in Connecticut on February 10th, at the age of 89, and he will be greatly missed by all who knew him or his work.  A great writer, a staunch humanitarian, and vital human being, his biggest legacy is his writing, and he has thankfully left us with a great wealth.  It will be the society’s privilege to continue to promote and study this national treasure.

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The following obituary was printed in the New York Times on 2/14/05:

The Arthur Miller Society 
recognizes the artistry, moral authority, 
and human solidarity of our mentor. 
We thank Arthur Miller because
you leave us our name and social mission
 

2008 Presence: Stories (2008), a posthumous collection of short stories, mostly previously published in magazines.

2009 Methuen releases a six volume set that contains all of Miller’s dramatic works, finishingmodineincluding Finishing the Picture. A film version of The Man Who Had All the Luck, directed by Scott Ellis with screenplay by Rebecca Miller, was scheduled for release, but then shelved.

2010 A film version of The Ride Down Mt. Morgan, directed by Nicole Kassell, starring Michael Douglas–was completed, but never released.

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Philip Seymour Hoffman as Willy Loman in 2012

2012 New York City revival of Death of a Salesman with Philip Seymour Hoffman wins two Tony Awards (Best Revival and Best Direction).

2013 Timebends: A Life is released on Kindle.

2014 Two new ballets created based on The Crucible (in California and Scotland).

2015 Stage premiers in England of both The Hook (adapted from Miller’s screenplay), and his first thehookever play, No Villain. The Royal Shakespeare Company also mount Death of a Salesman with Sir Anthony Sher in the lead role. In New York, there is a new Yiddish language version of Death of a Salesman. Off-Broadway revival of Incident at Vichy. Three volume set of his plays from Library of America completed (edited by Tony Kushner). Numerous events and performances worldwide to celebrate Miller’s centennial, including an international conference at St. Francis College, in Brooklyn. Complete Collected Essays edited by Matthew Roudané is published by Bloomsbury. Library of America completed its 3 volume collection of Miller’s plays, edited by Tony Kushner.

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62 Montague Street

2016 New York City revivals of A View from the Bridge and The Crucible (both directed by Ivo Van Hove)–A View from the Bridge wins Tony awards for Best Revival and best Direction of a drama. The Arthur Miller Foundation celebrated hovecrucibleArthur Miller’s 100th Birthday with a star-studded, one-night-only performance of Miller’s seminal works. Penguin publishes Collected Essays, edited by Susan C. W. Abbotson, with the essays thematically grouped. Oct. 17th an updated website for the Arthur Miller Society was launched and the Historic Landmarks Preservation Center of the New York State Council on the Arts recognized one of the residences where Miller lived in Brooklyn Heights–62 Montague Street–the first Brooklyn apartment Miller lived after his marriage to Mary Slattery.

2017 Broadway revival of The Price with all-star cast: Tony Shalhoub (Walter), John Turturro (Victor), Jessica Hecht (Esther), and Danny DeVito (Solomon).