Writer's Life:

October 19, 1997

In 1915, Arthur Miller was born in Harlem, where his father, a Jewish immigrant of Austro-Hungarian extraction, ran a clothing

manufacturing business. Before entering the University of Michigan to study drama, he knew he wanted to be a writer. He had been inspired by "The Brothers Karamazov."

While still at Michigan in 1937, he won the Theatre Guild's Bureau of New Plays Prize. Years later, in his autobiography, he described the other playwright who won the prize: "A fellow from St. Louis with the improbable name Tennessee Williams, whom I envisioned in buckskins, carrying a rifle."

In 1938, he returned to New York, wrote plays for the Federal Theater and soon after married Mary Slattery, with whom he had two children. Miller's first professionally produced play opened on Broadway in 1944 and closed after four performances. He later drew on themes from that play, "The Man Who Had All the Luck," for "All My Sons" and "Death of a Salesman." "Salesman" met immediate success, won the 1949 Pulitzer Prize and was made into a movie.

Miller then wrote "The Crucible," using the Salem witch hunts as a metaphor for the McCarthy era. In 1956, Miller himself was indicted for contempt by the House Un-American Activities Committee.

The same year, he divorced his first wife and married Marilyn Monroe. In the five years they were married he wrote nothing for the theater. After they divorced and he married photographer Inge Morath, he wrote "After the Fall" with a self-destructive main character, Maggie, who many believed, despite Miller's denials, was based on Monroe. He remains active in politics; he was a delegate to the 1968 Democratic convention, and writes plays. His last was "Broken Glass," which opened in London in 1994. Miller turned 82 last week.

Pub Date: 10/19/97

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