Arthur Miller Biography

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.

Arthur Miller Study Guides

Arthur Miller Quotes

Maybe all one can do is hope to end up with the right regrets.

Betrayal is the only truth that sticks.

He's not the finest character that ever lived. But he's a human being, and a terrible thing is happening to him. So attention must be paid.

Don't be seduced into thinking that that which does not make a profit is without value.

The apple cannot be stuck back on the Tree of Knowledge; once we begin to see, we are doomed and challenged to seek the strength to see more, not less.

A child's spirit is like a child, you can never catch it by running after it; you must stand still, and, for love, it will soon itself come back.

I think it's a mistake to ever look for hope outside of one's self.

Arthur Miller Plays

No Villain

Published 1936

They Too Arise

Published 1937

Honors at Dawn

Published 1938

The Man Who Had All the Luck

Published 1940

All My Sons

Published 1947

Death of a Salesman

Published 1949

The Crucible

Published 1953

A View from the Bridge

Published 1955

A Memory of Two Mondays

Published 1955

After the Fall

Published 1964

Incident at Vichy

Published 1964

The Price

Published 1968

The Creation of the World and Other Business

Published 1972

The Archbishop’s Ceiling

Published 1977

The American Clock

Published 1980

The Last Yankee

Published 1991

The Ride Down Mt. Morgan

Published 1991

Broken Glass

Published 1994

Mr. Peter’s Connections

Published 1998

Resurrection Blues

Published 2002

Finishing the Picture

Published 2004