Arthur Miller was born in was born in New York City on October 17, 1915 to Isidore and Augusta Miller. At the time, Miller's father owned a successful clothing business and the family lived in a Harlem neighborhood. In 1929, the family business failed as a result of the depression and moved to Brooklyn. Miller was a very active child and hardly spent any time reading or studying. He only took an interest in academics in his final year of school, too late to make the grades to be accepted into college. Miller worked various jobs after high school, including one as a salesperson that inspired his later play, Death of a Salesman. His career as a playwright began while he was a student at the University of Michigan. Several of his early works won prizes, and during his senior year, the Federal Theatre Project in Detroit performed one of his works.
Miller produced his first great success, All My Sons, in 1947. Two years later, Miller wrote Death of a Salesman, which won the Pulitzer Prize and transformed Miller into a national sensation. Many critics described Death of a Salesman as the first great American tragedy, and Miller gained eminence as a man who understood the deep essence of the United States. He published The Crucible in 1953, a searing indictment of the anti-Communist hysteria that pervaded 1950s America. In 1956, Miller was asked to testify before the House Un-American Activities Committee, but heroically refused to name the names of communist sympathizers. The following year he was charged for contempt, a ruling later reversed by the U.S. Court of Appeals. He has won the New York Drama Critics Circle Award twice, and his Broken Glass (1993) won the Olivier Award for Best Play of the London Season.
In 1956, Miller divorced his first wife, Mary Slattery, and married Marilyn Monroe. The two divorced in 1961, and his play After the Fall, produced in 1964, was rumored to have been inspired by his relationship with Monroe.
Miller continued to write well into his 80s, before dying at his home in Roxbury, Connecticut in 2005, at the age of 89.